"We continue to see fashion on extremely thin bodies because we’re brainwashed to believe that that’s what sells. But the reality is that we’ve been exposed to these thin bodies for so long, that we have no idea what the alternative would look like."
We live in a world where young girls can finally look at the models in magazines and think, “Wow, she looks like me”.
We also live in a world where girls have poor body image, mental health issues and problems with their self-confidence, because these models are being labelled as plus-sized.
It seems that there’s been a definite line of miscommunication between the modelling world and the real world, when it comes to plus-sized models.
We were always told that striving to achieve the body of a runway model was unrealistic, because it “wasn’t real”, but we were never told this about plus-sized models.
We never stop to think that the modelling world’s representation of plus-sized, is just as fake as their representation of “normal” sized girls.
In the modelling industry, what’s seen as normal is a size 2 or 4, and anything above that is big to them. Hence why their idea of plus-sized starts at size 10, or shockingly sometimes even size 8. It’s not a representation to what is plus-sized for the average woman in Ireland (size 14), it’s just the norms of a heavily criticised industry.
To us, the world of modelling is a completely different world to the one we live in, so it’s important to apply this idea to plus-sized modelling too, rather than getting hung up over it.
Plus-sized models don’t represent plus-sized women, just like runway models don’t represent a size 10. It’s an industry where five-foot-seven is considered short, something that seems absurd in real life.
We continue to see fashion on extremely thin bodies because we’re brainwashed to believe that that’s what sells. But the reality is that we’ve been exposed to these thin bodies for so long, that we have no idea what the alternative would look like.
This could very easily be changed, but the fashion industry don’t want it to. They are used to their norms and seemingly strange ideas of reality.
A size 16 model on a runway would stick out like a sore thumb, we’re aware of that. The media would go crazy and everyone would be in a state of shock, but that’s just because it’s unusual for us to see.
The more we see these women modelling clothes and looking beautiful while doing so, the more we become more accepting of the idea of bigger models. We begin to think, “Wow, she looks really good” instead of it being an oddity.
We’ve had it programmed into our minds for years; the fashion and modelling industry is not real, it’s not an accurate representation of what all women look like.
It’s important that, although it can be disheartening seeing size 10 women used as models for plus-sized features, we remember that this is another world entirely.
“Plus-sized” models are not really plus-sized, and we can’t let it damage our self-confidence or body image.
Photo: Ashley Graham became the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this year.