This photo of the Australian plus size model Robyn Lawley is going viral on Facebook and I really have to speak my mind.
I need to start by saying I’m not one to promote beauty standards of ideals of any kind – I love a woman who is confident, knows what kind of garments suit her body type and how to wear them with pride. How much she weighs, measures around the waist or how she looks in granny pants is irrelevant as long as she’s happy and healthy.
Apparently, judging by the comments on Facebook, Robyn doesn’t count as plus size. She’s too skinny. The same people who think models like her discriminate against people who are larger than her, tell her she doesn’t look big enough to be a plus size model. How is that different from telling someone skinny to lose weight because they aren’t thin enough? I don’t think it is.
Lawley is obviously larger than medium – and I don’t mean she’s fatter than some sort of standard, what I mean is she probably wouldn’t fit into a size M. It’s a way we measure garments, not the way we decide if a certain body type is accepted or not. It’s not like the number five is angry at PI for equaling 3.14159….
So, we’ve determined the definition of plus size. Should plus size then mean that models should be overweight to justify obesity and somehow offer comfort to women that are larger than the plus size model in question? “Obesity” isn’t some term that we only use for people who weigh more than they can carry around – it’s a medical condition that applies to anyone whose body mass index exceeds 30kg/m2. There are many health risks that are increased by obesity – heart diseases, diabetes etc. Why should models, people who obviously create beauty ideals and behavioral standards, proclaim obesity? Where’s the “healthy, confident woman” part in that? And how is it any different from anorexic models and the “size zero” ideal, which we obviously are strongly against?
I see a beautiful woman in the photo above. And she does look confident and radiant. But I’m pretty sure that the women who are so offended by her size are causing her confidence to shake. Isn’t that what those people are so passionately protesting against?