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Beauty’s Beholder: Sizing Up Fashion

January 6, 2010

What exactly is plus size fashion when the average American wears a size 12-14?

V Magazine’s Size Issue features a plus size model wearing the same outfit as a standard model in the spread “One Size Fits All”. After staring at the photo, I realized the subtle difference between models: the model on the right fills out the clothes more but she’s in no way, “plus size”.

The way one feels about themselves has more to do with self-esteem than with size and it’s hard to feel beautiful when society tells you to change. The scale that measures beauty is heavily skewed, with some people like Karl Lagerfeld speaking their thoughts. He stated:

“No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly. The world of fashion is about dreams and illusions.”

Since when is curvy a bad thing? Health is not identical to size.

Ralph Lauren also found himself in the center of a controversy when two of his models, Valentina Zelyaeva and Filippa Hamilton came under scrutiny for their size. Zelyaeva’s midsection appeared manipulated through Photoshop and Hamilton became “too fat” to appear in the campaign. Hamilton’s image still appeared in the advertisement.

A step in the right direction came this September when his past September, Glamour magazine ran the photo of Lizzi Miller, a plus size model, without her clothes or photo retouching. Women wrote in to the magazine, thanking them incessantly for finally showing a woman they could relate to: a woman, with flaws.

Beauty is botox, beauty is dieting. Beauty is eating disorders. Beauty is drugs. Beauty is credit card debt. Beauty is over shopping. Beauty is everything you’re not. So buy, buy, buy and change, change, change.

There aren’t enough positive, reaffirming messages of beauty in our media, and after years of feeling devalued, we’re ready to see real women and we’re ready to embrace ourselves.

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