Over the past few decades, we have seen tremendous changes in the modeling and fashion industry. From better representation to body positivity, the fashion world is moving towards immense progress. The sight of plus-size models walking down the runway would have been rare in the 1990s, but definitely not in the present fashion scenario. However, many have questioned the actual representation of plus-size models. We still see that plus-size models have to adhere to certain norms in terms of their body size. For example, them going on strict diets to get the perfect shape for modeling. These norms beg the question- how inclusive is the fashion industry towards plus-size models? Is the fashion industry truly representing models of all sizes?
The Plus-size Problem
By the standards of the fashion industry, the typical size of a plus-size model is over 14. However, plus-size models, too, are set against high beauty standards. For example, having a double chin, a round stomach, or belly fat automatically disqualifies them from being the perfect plus-size model. In addition, designers and photographers expect them to have the perfect hourglass shape. Having a large bust size but a relatively thin waist is what they are looking for in a plus-size model. If models with belly fat want to thrive in their modeling career, the fashion industry will neglect them completely or force them to lose that extra fat around their stomachs to fit the beauty standard. This can be problematic. In the worst-case scenario, this can also lead to plus-size models developing eating disorders.
Why is having that extra fat a problem?
The main difficulty of the fashion and modeling industry is that it has internalized the fact that thin equals pretty. Thus, even though plus-size models have started taking center stage, the industry still only accepts models who have fat “in the right places.” These practices show that the modeling industry does not see models with flabby skin or belly fat as “beautiful” or “pretty.” It is, therefore, no surprise that the representation of these models is less. Moreover, society sees models “being fat” as a sign of promoting obesity-even if the model is entirely healthy. Thus, before a plus-size model can even start their career, society discourages them.
The Body Positivity Movement
Around 2010, the “Body Positivity Movement” started gaining much attention on social media. This movement promoted the idea of being comfortable in one’s own skin. People now celebrated their extra body rolls and fat. This movement also emphasized the fact that there is no shame in showing off your body. As a result, this movement had a massive impact on the fashion industry. The notion of Body Positivity gave a kickstart to a much-needed change in the modeling industry. The representation of models of all shapes and sizes took priority over just having skinny models.
Inclusivity in the fashion world
The impact of the Body Positivity movement around the world was incredible. As a result, the modeling industries have started to take notice of the importance of being as natural and raw as one can be. Of course, normalizing the extra body fat still has a long way to go, but this can be considered a good start. Models with the additional fat on their bodies have their own insecurities to deal with. But, as long as people continue to realize it is not wrong for them to model, the normalization process can soon become a reality.
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
The struggle of plus-size models to combat all the hate and make this change a reality is real. Over the years, they have constantly tried to promote the idea that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Fashion should not discriminate between body sizes. It is high time that the modeling industry does not subject plus-size models to have the perfect hourglass body. They should have the opportunity to embrace their bodies with even the slightest of so-called imperfections. They deserve the same amount of respect as any other model in the modeling industry. Therefore, including all models is a necessary step to change the way the world perceives beauty.