Plus-sized models need recategorizing

What is beauty to you? Beauty is often defined in a sentence like “beauty is being tall,” “beauty is about having a pretty face,” or “beauty is having a Victoria’s Secret model body.” We have been manipulated by advertisements and what’s trending in society.

Women of a bigger size seem to be cast in a harsh light by many people. Women get obsessive over being able to wear size a zero. Teenaged girls are starting to severely restrict their diet, even not eating in extreme cases, and pretending to be pretty and confident on the outside, but struggling with eating and anxiety on the inside. A size-zero body becomes every girls’ dream because society pictures heavyset women as undesirable and unattractive.

I remember the first time I thought I was fat. I was seven and caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror, towering over and expanding beyond the reflections of my tiny second grade friends. I’d been called “fat” or “bigger” before, but since I had a supportive family and was outgoing enough to have a lot of friends, I hadn’t really thought of myself that way  Yet, that split-second look in the mirror started a lifelong battle of experiencing similar situations.

However, in this era, some of us have changed our perspective. Size is not the issue. Only recently have major retailers begun to offer plus-sized clothing. Still, it is difficult for me to understand why these retailers cannot just extend the sizes of their normal clothes, rather than create a whole different clothing line for larger sizes. It is just a way to further ostracize bigger individuals; by telling them they are unsuitable to wear the same clothes that the smaller-sized people do.

While we often associate this label with someone larger side, the fashion industry actually considers anything over a size four to be plus sized. Therefore, most of the models regarded as “plus size” are actually far thinner than the average American woman wearing a size 14.

In an attempt to challenge these unrealistic industry standards, several plus-sized Australian models, including Stefania Ferrario, a size eight, recently teamed up to launch a viral campaign called #droptheplus.

The movement’s mission is simple. These women just want the fashion industry to recognize them for what they really are: models. These ladies feel retailers already have a suitable number system for sizing, so they want the fashion industry to drop this negative “plus size” label once and for all.

If you think about it, doing away with the term makes perfect sense. In most “plus size” clothing, the numbers just go up from 12, so there’s no need to distinguish it. By adding “plus size,” women with larger dress sizes are exiled into a group and considered an “other” instead of who they are; women, regardless of size.

By doing so, they hope women will stop being ashamed of this hurtful classification, celebrate their figures and feel confident about their curves.

If the campaign succeeds, it can help women focus on what really matters; their self-confidence. Sexy is a state of mind, not a dress size. The sexiest thing anyone can possess is confidence. Don’t let society dictate what’s beautiful.  Embrace what makes you different.