June 28, 2012 at 6:10 PM ET
Plus-size model Denise Bidot recently went on Yahoo Shine TV to talk about how the industry is increasingly using size 6 bodies to model plus-size clothes. You read that right, size-6 women modeling plus-size clothes!
It’s sad enough that size-0 models are most often used to represent women from size 0 to12—while they are at the extreme end, at least they are in that group of sizes! Size-6 women representing sizes 14 and up is just absurd! They can’t even wear the clothes that they are modeling—they have to get clamped into it. It’s both annoying and insulting. Size-6 woman swimming in my-size clothes does nothing to help me visualize what the clothes will look like on me. Further, the designer/store is essentially saying “we’re willing to take money from women who are above a size 6, but we would never want a photograph of one in our clothes.” For me this is right up there with the trend of selling a plus-size clothing line exclusively online (Old Navy, I’m looking at you), which basically says: “Hey fat girls—we want your money, but we don’t want you fatting up our stores.”
The industry argument is that studies have shown that women of all sizes prefer to look at thin models. And the fashion industry keeps perpetuating the farce that it's what we want to see. Really? Do you think it just might, maybe, possibly be because we have been so aggressively sold the idea that there is only one body type that is beautiful that we’ve started to believe it? As a culture, when we see someone outside of the single image of beauty we experience a conditioned response and immediately think, “That’s a bad body. That body is wrong. My body is like that. My body is wrong.”
There are studies that back up this type of body-hate conditioning. We eventually start to hate our own bodies because they look nothing like the "ideal." Then, we give stores our money to make us look the way they tell us we want to look and they use the loot to perpetuate the cycle. Just another example of how the system that oppresses us is fueled by our time, energy and money. If we take the fuel away, I promise you the system will run out of gas.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.