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Old 23rd May 2010   #1
HSG
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Default Aspiration comes in size 16+


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:

- Click to view larger


Last edited by HSG : 31st December 2010 at 17:56.
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Old 29th May 2010   #2
Meredith
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Default Re: Aspiration comes in size 16+

Another obvious problem with this practice is that when plus-size-industry professionals discriminate against larger models, those professionals invalidate their own ability to push for the use of any models above straight-size standards, even the faux-plus ones, because they leave themselves open to charges of hypocrisy.

Let's say that an agent tries to justify the use of faux-plus models by claiming that such models are "aspirational" for genuinely full-figured girls. Apart from the colossal offensiveness of that position (because it assumes that smaller is somehow "better" than bigger, which is a disgusting belief for a plus-size agent to have), it invalidates his own ability to push for any curvy girls. Having excluded fuller-figured plus-size models, if he then asks a magazine or client to use a faux-plus model instead of a straight-size girl, then that client can shoot back at him with the words, "Hey, YOU discriminiate against bigger girls, so why can't I? If you reject size-18 girls, then why can't I reject size 12s?"

If there's any part of the industry where discrimination against fuller bodies cannot be tolerated, it's in plus-size divisions. If they don't combat size bigotry, then they have no business existing in the first place, and all of fashion should just be represented by size-0 skeletons.

The "skinniness is aspirational" argument is an offense when it's used by straight-size pushers, and it's even more disgusting when it's used by plus-size professionals, who, of all people, should reject it, because it's exactly what's kept all curvy models down from the beginning.
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Old 31st December 2010   #3
Emily
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Default Re: Aspiration comes in size 16+

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSG
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?

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.

A fuller figure, which is softer, rounder, and more sensually proportioned, is more attractive, more "aspirational," than a skinnier figure.

I strongly favour this premise. Trying to end the faux-plus tyranny by pointing out how discriminatory it is can be effective, but pointing out that larger models are more aspirational than smaller models, that larger plus-size models are more aesthetically appealing than faux-plus models, is an even more compelling argument, because it's an affirmative, positive statement, and it also happens to be true.

Any client who claims that their models must be thinner than their customers is just surrendering to the "skinnier is better" myth, which is rubbish. Only when we turn this thinking on its head and recognize that bigger can be better, that larger models (yes, even models who are fuller-figured than the customers themselves) can be more appealing than smaller ones, have we truly embraced size celebration and adopted a genuinely pro-curvy, pro-plus mindset.
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