For a long time now, the modelling industry has been using the term “Plus-Sized” on models who are “curvier” than the regular high-fashion models. While this may, at first, denote a sense of inclusion in the industry and promote a positive body image, it’s time to ask if this term has been stretched too far ─ and if it was ever, in the first place, necessary.
I am a model FULL STOP. Unfortunately in the modelling industry if you’re above a US size 4 you are considered plus size, and so I’m often labelled a ‘plus size’ model. I do NOT find this empowering. A couple of days ago, @ajayrochester called the industry to task for its use of the term ‘plus size’ by making the point that it is ‘harmful’ to call a model ‘plus’ and damaging for the minds of young girls. I fully support Ajay and agree with her. Let’s have models of ALL shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and drop the misleading labels. I’m NOT proud to be called ‘plus’, but I AM proud to be called a ‘model’, that is my profession! #droptheplus
Australian model Stefania Ferrario, for one, strongly advocates the latter. In a recent post on her Instagram account, Ferrario posted a nude picture of herself with the words marked on her body, “I AM A MODEL.” She spoke up against the use of the term Plus Size saying, “I am a model. FULL STOP. Unfortunately in the modelling industry if you’re above a US size 4 you are considered plus size, and so I’m often labelled a ‘plus size’ model. I do NOT find this empowering.” What Ferrario has said does make sense ─ what is the term, or label, actually doing for the body image of young women? It now seems to be less of an encouragement for women of all sizes to feel comfortable about their bodies, than just another addition to the myriad of labels and standards that models and women in general are restricted by, and feel compelled to compare themselves against.
The debate on the use of the term is heating up now, between the likes of Ferrario and a camp of models and women who find the term to be a useful way to empower women who are not a slender size 4.
Which side are you on?