Size 12 is not a Plus Size

WARNING: These links have a parental advisory warning attached.  They’re a bit, um, risque.

When Lori linked to this article this morning on Twitter, with this commentary, “If these are plus size, I must be obese,” I clicked over out of curiosity.

Lori was referring to a photo in the November issue of Glamour magazine where seven plus-size models are photographed in the buff.  After following a series of links leading me to two more Glamour articles as well as a video interview of Lizzie Miller (the model who’s photo au naturel in the September issue of Glamour sparked so much buzz) on The Today Show, I just want to know this.  In what parallel universe is a 20-year-old woman who is clearly healthy and athletic, wearing a size 12 (at five-feet, 11-inches tall, by the way), which is well within the range of normal sizes sold in any mainstream clothing establishment, considered plus size?

She claims the photo of her in the September issue of Glamour isn’t even airbrushed.  Most women I know would give their eyeteeth to look like that.  In fact, her “belly overhang,” which was the focus of the conversation about her photo, is nothing compared to mine, and I’m a size eight.  Of course, I’m 37 and I’ve born three children, but still.  I find the labeling of these women as plus sized outrageous.  I realize that at a size eight, I wouldn’t qualify for the designer sample sizes either, but that’s exactly my point.  These women who are labeled plus sized are, in fact, quite normal sized.

One of the articles explains that because most designer clothes are only made in sizes 0 to 4, it’s almost impossible to clothe a model that wears a larger size, but don’t you think we could call models who wear a size 8 or 10 or *gasp* a 14 normal size or standard or something that doesn’t insinuate that they are overweight?

I realize that there is a difference between fashion industry standards and the designer merchandise that’s sold in stores, but I found this quote by Marshal Cohen from the September 21 article quite telling:

Let’s say you fit the most popular American dress size, a 14, and you want to wear high-end designer fashion. Good luck to you, because most designer fashion labels don’t make a size 14 (they stop at 10 or 12). That’s an aesthetic decision, not a business move, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for the market research firm NPD. “We know that larger-size women will pay almost anything for good-quality clothes that fit, and luxury brands could benefit greatly from serving that need,” he says. “But there remains a deep stigma against going plus-size in the high-end fashion market. Find a brand that’s willing to bet its image and licensing revenue by doing this, and you will find a progressive company.”

Seriously?  I would think that a brand that caters to normal size women would be sitting on a gold mine.

I appreciate that Glamour is committed “to featuring a greater range of body types in [their] pages,” but until they stop labeling these women as plus sized, I’m not going to get overly excited.

And finally, WHY do we need to photograph women in their birthday suits AT ALL?  What’s wrong with photographing lovely women of various sizes and colors wearing clothes?  Is it really that hard to make clothes bigger than a size 4?  Designers, please start making clothes big enough for these women so they can get dressed.  It’s a bit nippy outside.