While perusing Facebook I noticed on my personal wall that Italy Magazine had posted an article touting that Italian Vogue had broken with tradition in that their June issue used ‘plus-sized’ models on their cover.
When I am at the hair salon, I love to page through Vogue as it is a great source of entertainment. Vogue is not pertinent to my life, however, at the salon, under the lights, its fun to flip through the hundreds of pages of ads featuring bone thin models who appear to be either desert island refugees or heroin addicts. Even the hair and makeup is not really applicable to real life. It’s cool – it’s fun – there is little potential for me to get too embroiled in an article that I can’t put down when they call me for my wash.
Hearing news that Italian Vogue was embracing the fact that women who were size ten even existed blew my mind. They have created an entire new website presence called VOGUE CURVY. (on the Curvy page was the news that this Fall the NYC flagship Saks Fifth Avenue will carry some high fashion runway looks in sizes all the way up to a (gasp!) size sixteen in their designer boutiques, to the horror of the high fashion saleswomen.
Of course plus-size and curvy are terms subject to interpretation. Did I think upon clicking on the Vogue link that I would see my 300 pound, size twenty-eight, pre-op doppelganger on the cover? No of course not! I knew the women would at best be size ten, (airbrushed) smooth and very well proportioned. They would be gorgeous and voluptuous.
Featuring unhealthy 300 to 400-pound lumpy bumpy rolled dimpled women would have been an unkind caricature. As much as we like to repeat the mantra that ‘all women are beautiful no matter what size’ – the reality is that at size twenty-eight, while I had a pretty face, my body was certainly not beautiful. I think at a large size we can be hot, we can be confident, we can be amazing, we can be sexy, we can look great, we can be beautiful people – but I honestly don’t think that a size 28 body is beautiful. Then again I had weight loss surgery to lose weight as I didn’t have anything wrong with me other than ‘that little MO thing’. There is a point where *big* is really unhealthy which is why it is called morbid obesity, and we are not going to convince the world it’s physically beautiful, nor will it sell mainstream magazines.
Vogue dictates all fashion and for them to put anyone on the magazine cover who is outside the box for their standards is a major move on their part that shows change to a more balanced size reality and opportunity for better sizing. I remember when little girls were subject to the permanent emotional damage of buying school clothes in the Boys Husky department of Sears – and so do other post-op girlfriends.
What did surprise me was the number of women who responded to my post on Facebook who were hurt and angry about the magazine cover. It is their right to be angry and I am happy that they were able to express their feelings. They were unhappy that Vogue labeled these beautiful ‘skinny’ women as plus-sized and argued that they were not curvy or large enough. I don’t believe that women need to be a particular BMI, obese, flabby, or even visibly *gasp* fat in order to be plus-sized or curvy – we are in as many different sizes and shapes as are our slimmer counterparts.
At what size does plus-sized begin? What connotes curvy? Should we be angered by this Vogue cover because the women are not big enough? That’s sick. Last month’s Vogue cover featured women who were wearing size zero with clips taking up the slack in the back – this month they have women who look as if they could wear an eight or ten and we want size twenty-eights! I am not a fan of the twenty-eights; it was not a good thing and I do not highly recommend it! I think that these photos are stunning and I would imagine so would anyone else. Most real men dream about women like these.
Some commented that these covers made them feel worse about themselves as if ‘those’ women were plus-sized, how could they ever be considered thin. Where exactly does thin begin and what is normal? Wait, what is perfect and what committee made those choices? If a pair of size twelve jeans do not fit, is it me or is it simply that the jeans do not fit my body? What about a size eight – is that where thin begins? Does the number on our jeans matter at all or is it better to like the way we look and the way the jeans make us feel? Where do we finally get small enough where our life becomes happy? Will being slim transform our lives? What happens when we are suddenly slim and our life hasn’t changed a bit?
There is a LOT of anger out there. Women do feel terrible about themselves and their bodies – its not really about size. It is psychological and emotional – it’s coming from the inside. Unfortunately losing weight does not magically fix those feelings. Lack of self image and not truly loving yourself is due to deeper issues that often remain after weight loss unless they are aired out and addressed. I encourage my weight loss surgery sisters to find a kind and caring therapist to work though feelings that may be preventing them from loving themselves right now at this exact wonderful moment in time.
Let’s find the love to embrace Vogue for featuring those magnificent size ten women on their cover and inside feature. What could possibly be bad about it?