Which part of the fashion industry does the following statement describe?
It discriminates against larger models in favour of skinnier ones. It suppresses fuller features in favour of narrow-looking features.
Its apologists try to justify this discriminatory practice by claiming that being thinner is "aspirational" for larger women.
These apologists therefore imply that women should stop asking to see their sizes represented in the media, and should mutely accept the exclusion of fuller bodies.
If you answered, ďOh, thatís the straight-size industry," you would be right, of course.
But tragically, and appallingly, if you answered "That's the plus-size industry," then you would also be right.
And that is both disappointing and an outrage.
If there is any part of the industry that should stand against discrimination against larger bodies, it is the plus-size industry.
Yet all too often, the plus-size industry reproduces within itself the very same discrimination that besets it.
The very existence of plus-size modelling is predicated on combating exclusion from "mainstream" fashion. How nauseating, then, to see plus-size modelling perpetuating the same exclusion itself.
We all (rightly) become angry and offended when a straight-size designer defends his use of anorexic-looking models, and his ban on plus-size models, by claiming that underweight models are "aspirational," and that the curvy girls should "look up to them."
This thin-supremacist attitude, stripped of its euphemisms, translates to: "Just be quiet and put up with the size-0/2/4 models that I like."
That makes it doubly disgusting when an agent or model in plus-size fashion makes exactly the same claim to defend the use of faux-plus models, and the exclusion of genuinely full-figured models.
That attitude, stripped of its euphemisms, is identical to that of the straight-size proponent: "Just be quiet and accept the size-8/10/12 models that I like."
If the "aspirational" excuse is, rightly, seen as bogus when it favours size 2s over size 12s, then it is just as bogus when it favours size 12s over size 18s.
Yes, fashion is aspirational. But smaller bodies are not. Women can aspire to a model's fair eyes, her peaches-and-cream complexion, her long tresses, her gorgeously round face, her soft physique. But there is no reason why they should "aspire" to a smaller figure.
Indeed, why shouldn't a skinny reader aspire to a larger figure? Why shouldn't a woman find a model who is larger than she is to be more "aspirational" than a model who is smaller than she is?
Why shouldn't a size-14 customer find a size-18 model more "aspirational" than a size-12 model?
The only reason why anyone would claim that a smaller model is more "aspirational" than a larger model is if that person has a bias against the fuller female figure; in short, if he or she is discriminatory against larger bodies. (That, or if they're in the pay of the diet industry, or have been brainwashed by its propaganda and uncritically reproduce it.)
There is nothing whatsoever that makes a smaller figure more attractive or "aspirational" than a larger figure.
There is no intrinsic reason why a thinner body should be more "aspirational" than a fuller body.
In fact, the truth is rather the opposite. A fuller figure, which is softer, rounder, and more sensually proportioned, is more attractive, more "aspirational," than a skinnier figure.
Thinner bodies are not more beautiful than fuller bodies. They are neither prettier, nor curvier, nor more womanly, nor more sensual. They only thing they are, is scrawnier. There is noting "aspirational" about that.
So the next time that you hear someone in the fashion industry trying to justify the use of anorexic models--or faux-plus models--by using the excuse that skinnier models are "aspirational," recognize such a statement for what it is, which is (a) discriminatory, and (b) an outright aesthetic falsehood. Tell them that fuller models can be just as ideally beautiful, and therefore "aspirational," as the smaller models can be--indeed, more so.
And if this "aspirational" excuse on behalf of skinnier models comes from someone working in the plus-size industry, then add something else. Point out to them that the very same excuse has been used by straight-size fashion to hold down plus-size models, so how dare they, as representatives of plus-size fashion, perpetuate the very same discrimination themselves?
Any statement that has at its basis a belief that a smaller body is preferable to a larger body is offensive and false. It's offensive and false when it comes from someone in the straight-size industry, and it's doubly offensive and false coming from someone in the plus-size industry.
Yes, aspirational beauty exists. Women can look up to models who are size 16, 18, 20, etc., and see them as icons of Classical femininity, representatives of natural womanhood, embodiments of the timeless ideal. Because that's exactly what they are.
Stunningly sensual test image of Christine Shields (38dd-37-46), Heffner Management:
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