lifestyle

Women only come in 2 sizes: Plus and minus.

Women come in only two sizes.

By ALISSA WARREN

I’m not excited about the plus-size fashion industry.

I’m not high-fiving my girlfriends.  And I’m not buying their gear. Because it wouldn’t fit me. Just like the clothes worn by skinny models wouldn’t fit either.

It seems the fashion industry has decided that the best way to address the criticisms about the negative impact of using underweight models is to chuck a handful of overweight models at us and I find this absurd.

Why does it have to be about extremes? And are we meant to be grateful?

Here is my question: Where are the rest of us?

Where are the average sizes of women in Australia; the 12s, the 14s the 16s?

You know who I’m talking about. She’s the woman you probably saw in the mirror this morning. The one who may have a bit of a belly or love-handles that can be tucked into a pair of jeans. She isn’t morbidly obese but she doesn’t look like the prepubescent girls in the magazines either.

That woman is me. And most of the world’s female Western population. But oddly enough, there are very few models who look like us.

It seems there are only two options for women in fashion: plus size or minus size. It’s like going to Maccas and being forced to choose between the Big Mac and the sad salad that doesn’t even have a creamy dressing. There’s just no in-between.

A few days ago the fashion industry were in a flurry of self-congratulations over how wonderful they were for welcoming their first plus-sized designer, Eden Miller to New York Fashion Week:

Many women are very excited about seeing plus sized models on catwalks and I understand why. It’s the diversity argument. As women, we are so starved (literally) of the sight of women who even vaguely resemble us that a glimpse of an alternative to the constant bombardment of underweight models on every catwalk makes us pathetically grateful. Cue wild cheering.

The size 0 models don’t look healthy either.

The women representing Miller’s brand do look happy and their dresses look lovely but I have to admit that when I saw these women the first thing I thought was: they don’t look like they’re a healthy weight.

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Surely, it’s OK to say that? I’d say the same about the majority of size 0 models walking for other designers. They don’t look healthy either. None of them do.

So that’s how the fashion industry has decided they want to represent women: a bunch of underweight and overweight people walking down a catwalk. That’s apparently meant to make us want to go shopping.

Let me get one thing straight – I don’t have an issue with any woman and her body. How a woman eats, exercises, wears her clothes and embraces her figure – no matter what it is – is up to her.

In fact, I applaud every woman who can proudly shrug off her insecurities about a big bum, cellulite, knobbly knees or a flat chest. What baffles and infuriates me is how the fashion industry refuses to feature women who look like the majority of the population.

The NY Daily News talked to Susan Scafidi from the Fashion Law Institute about it:

Scafidi said that in the fashion world, the distinction between skinny models and larger models was made in the same way as one would distinguish between being gay or straight.

“The straight-size models and the straight-size designers are out there, the plus have stayed in the closet. So I am so thrilled that the plus world are coming out of the closet,” she said.

Alissa would like a bit from each world – not just from the plus-size or the minus-size worlds.

I’m not a straight-size. I’m not a plus-size.

Am I the fashion industry’s answer to a bisexual buyer? Or a swinging voter? Do I just have to pretend to be straight? Or am I pretending to be gay?

Fashion industry, hello? Help. Who am I?

You know what would be icing on the cake? A model who ate cake. And perhaps did a bit of exercise. And perhaps looked like they looked after their body as much as their brain.

Someone I could aspire to be. Because isn’t that what we all want? To be healthy, inside and out. To be strong, inside and out. To be proud, inside and out.

I’m certainly not saying that models – plus or otherwise – aren’t any of these things. But for me, it’s two different worlds. Do I have to choose? I’d like a bit from each world. Is that too much to ask?

It doesn’t happen often. But perhaps it’s time we started to celebrate an ordinary Size 12 or Size 14.

Perhaps its time we started to celebrate being average.

Alissa Warren began her career at Radio 2UE and has worked as a reporter for ‘A Current Affair’ and Sydney’s Nine News. Recently, Alissa has written for various publications including News Ltd and Fairfax and appears as a regular panelist on various news programs. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Do you see women whose body shapes are similar to yours in fashion or advertising? Do you feel that the plus size movement is a positive?

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