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Can Plus-Sized Women Truly Exist in Our Society?

Trigger warning: This article will talk about body image



What does the term 'Plus-Sized' mean?

According to Cambridge, plus-sized refers to a size of clothing designed for people who are larger than average. It matters in today’s society because many people have different reactions towards the term. Glamour has reported that models like Ashley Graham find that the term is isolating, and Tyra Banks finds the word has a negative connotation. The term originally referred to people who did not fit into a size 2 sample, which could perpetuate harmful standards on women given the preconceived notion of the word. Other people, however, feel the word is helpful for practical uses as it directs them to their correct size.

Society's perception of beauty and body standards

Dr Raja argued that society’s perception of beauty and body standards has been heavily affected by fashion magazines. They often use thin, conventionally attractive models, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy in women and a continuous cycle of comparison. Which further leads to mental health issues. It could also be argued that fashion magazines often perpetuate diets that could be detrimental in the long run. Which could then further lead to binge eating, and perhaps a harmful relationship with food. Hence it is important that we have more plus-sized models and representation in place so people can just know it is okay to just live in their own bodies, but the real question is can society accept this notion?

Northumbria University interviewed people on their opinions of society’s view of plus-sized women, one participant felt that society is being more inclusive towards plus-sized women. The same participant however also noted that there will always be a stigma attached to the label. Another participant reported that Instagram is increasing the exposure of plus-sized models, as there is a rise in plus-sized models showing their curves proudly along with potential outfit ideas.

How can we overcome this?

Both the media and society should embrace all body types because the world and its people are continuously changing, therefore we should create a space that is more diverse and more inclusive

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