17 plus size women on why it’s time for size 28 models to be more visible
By MARIE SOUTHARD OSPINA Nov 21 – as featured in Bustle.com
The day Vogue Italia released a cover featuring three plus size models is one I still remember vividly. The June 2011 issue brought Candice Huffine, Tara Lynn, and Robyn Lawley to the forefront. They were curvaceous women whose butts and thighs were thicker than those of the vast majority of models I’d seen up to that point. Although Gossip singer Beth Ditto had appeared nude on the covers of NME in 2007 and LOVE in 2009, her fat rolls beautifully unconcealed and her tummy unflattened by Photoshop, this was Vogue: The crème de la crème of the fashion industry; the kind of magazine issue that’d be seen the world over. Its celebration of three curvy models felt revolutionary — and maybe, for the times, it was.
Back then, it didn’t much matter to me that these models were not necessarily representative of the average plus size or fat woman. No, their backsides weren’t wide like mine. Their legs didn’t seem to touch from top to bottom. They didn’t have visible rolls atop their love handles or accessorizing their stomachs. But they were different from the norm. I believed they were a step towards equal (or at least more balanced) inclusion and representation of women of all sizes in the fashion industry and in media intake at large.
Fast forward five years or so, however, and we’ve arguably stagnated when it comes to diverse representation in plus size modeling and plus size retail. Household names are Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence — women who, like the Vogue Italia models before them, are indisputably talented at their work and undeniably curvy, but who are also not totally relatable to visibly fat people like myself. When it comes to the “plus size fashion revolution,” relatable, visibly fat models are precisely the kind that the world needs. The world has needed them for awhile. This is why 17 plus size women on all ends of the spectrum believe it’s time for the size 28+ model to shine in retail advertising.
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