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The Problematic Plus-Size Label: Sizing in the Fashion Industry

Posted by on January 22, 2014

There is currently quite a lot of debate circulating around the Internet right now about what constitutes plus-size. A good deal of this discussion is related to whether or not a lot of plus-size models are considered plus-size. A few weeks ago, we even covered this issue to some extent on the blog.

There is also a distinct dichotomy between what is considered plus-size in the fashion world and what is considered plus-size in the real world. Two very successful plus-size models – Crystal Renn and Leah Kelley – have both spoken about how arbitrary they find the plus-size label since in the fashion world, plus-size really just means above a US size 8.

Leah Kelley

A shot of plus-size model Leah Kelley from her Instagram.
Credit: Instagram/@LeahKelley

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The Militant Baker’s Most Recent Project About Fat Discrimination

Posted by on January 21, 2014

There are a lot of stereotypes about plus-size women and about overweight people in general. Jes from the Militant Baker recently ran an absolutely phenomenal photo campaign based on Google search terms about fat people and fat discrimination that everyone needs to look at. Jes wrote a post on her blog about the project, titled “What Autocomplete Will Tell You About Fat Hate And Why It Needs To Stop.”

Jes the Militant Baker

This poster from the project depicts Jes “The Militant Baker” herself, with the Google autocomplete bar over her own mouth.
Credit: The Militant Baker

Essentially, Jes and her contributors took photos of themselves with the well-known Google search bar pasted over their mouths, with autocompleted search terms that people have searched for in regards to fat people. Statements like “fat people are lazy,” “fat people are gross,” and “fat people are annoying” were prominently featured in many of the posters.

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H&M Faces Backlash Over Plus-Size Model Used in Recent Catalogue

Posted by on January 20, 2014

The fashion industry is really struggling with that whole “plus-size” label thing for their models. I feel like almost every week, there is a new scandal to discuss in the media. Many models have also spoken out about the label and seem generally unimpressed with how their bodies are being categorized by both fashion companies and fashion magazines alike. Essentially, it appears that models fall into two different categories: very thin and slightly less thin – the slightly less thin being the plus-size model obviously.

Rebecca Adams of the Huffington Post said it best in a recent article about the criticism H&M faced after labeling size “medium” models as plus-size:

“While it’s refreshing to see more and more body types in the pages of our magazines, many people have become frustrated with the classification system that divides straight and plus-size models,” writes Adams. “When you can’t tell the difference between the two, the ‘plus-size’ designation seems particularly arbitrary.”

This most-recent plus-size scandal hit the Internet hard and many people took to Twitter to express their outrage over the svelte looking H&M models showing the Swedish retailer’s plus-size offerings in their new catalogue.

Plus-size model for H&M

Twitter was inundated with frustrated comments accompanied by screen caps of H&M’s most recent catalogue after the latest edition was delivered to homes of loyal H&M customers around the world.
Credit: Twitter/@disney_frump

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Photoshop Practices in Fashion Magazines and the Scary Reality Of ‘Reverse Retouching’

Posted by on January 17, 2014

It’s basically common knowledge now that you absolutely cannot trust the images of the perfect waifish, models plastered all over fashion magazines. We have indisputable evidence that almost every single one of those images has been photoshopped to such a point that the photo editors are essentially photoshopping away the humanity of these women, and then telling regular women on the street to aspire to this completely unattainable beauty standard. If the models themselves do not even look like that, how dare you tell the average woman reading Vogue at the nail salon that they should aspire to that level of “beauty.”

However, Leah Hardy, a former editor at Cosmpolitan, recently wrote a shocking expose for the Daily Mail about how many fashion magazines do not just photoshop models to make them look thinner, but they also photoshop models to sometimes hide extreme (and potentially unhealthy) thinness. The process is called “reverse retouching.”

Karlie Kloss and reverse retouching

This image of Karlie Kloss that originally appeared in Numero Magazine is one such example of “reverse retouching.”
Credit: About-Face via Fabulous Fashionista

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Three Moving Plus-Size Photography Series

Posted by on January 16, 2014

There are many artists who focus on the body and body politics. There are also a lot of great plus-size, body-positive artists. However, three of my favorite projects in recent memory are projects shot by plus-size photographers concerning their own plus-size bodies and the roles that those bodies take on when occupying space.

Jen Davis, a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, has been working on a series of self-portraits for the past eleven years concerning issues relating to beauty, identity, and body image.

Pressure Point

This photo called “Fantasy No. 1″ comes from Davis’ “Pressure Point” series.
Credit:  Jen Davis Photography via The Huffington Post

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