Plus sized models aren’t new to the industry. They’ve been getting quite a lot of attention lately and I think it’s a healthy discussion to have on the heels of the low bottom BMI controversy.
We all know that models are thin. What I find interesting is that most people don’t realize exactly how thin they are. Sure, we see them in magazines and on tv and they look thin but not particularly unhealthy.
Today I took measurements… in a department store. Here’s the results:
Normal Store Mannequin:
Bust/Waist/Hips: 31-25-35 1/2
Leg Circumference: 15″
Leg Circumference: 19″
Me (I wear a size 2-8 in retail clothing)
Leg Circumference: 22 1/2″
Average American Woman: According to the CDC and SizeUSA
Leg Circumference: Wasn’t able to find the data
Leg Circumference: 16
What’s surprising is even these perfectly proportioned mannequins used to display clothing for women to buy are too fat to model. They would have to lose 5-10 pounds or 1/2-1 1/2 inches in some places to be able to fit the clothing required of them to wear.
It seems ridiculous and abusive and yes, perhaps it is. Or is it?
Plus Magazine recently did an editorial depicting plus sized models nakedly, proudly displaying their curves alongside traditional runway models. Along with the images were messages about the change a model’s body has had to go through to compete.
-Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.
- Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned. The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction.
- Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.
- 50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, but most standard clothing outlets cater to sizes 14 or smaller.
It’s long been known and accepted that we’re a country obsessed with thinness. The fantasy and the reality grows more and more disparate. I wonder where the breaking point will be… is there a point at which women and models say enough? Stop. It’s no longer my job or responsibility to continue to walk this destructive path.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all the models I saw starving themselves were getting paid enough to make it ok. I don’t think so.