How Do You Describe Yourself? Plus-size? Curvy? Full-Figured?

Posted by on October 18, 2013

I recently came across a Huffington Post Style article about how more plus-size women prefer the term “curvy” over plus-size.

This statistic comes from a poll that the retailer Sonsi facilitated on their website. This poll asked 1,000 women which term they preferred and the results came in somewhat split with respondents saying 28 percent prefer “curvy,” 25 percent prefer “plus-size,” and 25 percent prefer “full-figured.”

All of those terms basically mean the same thing to me, so personally I do not have any preference. When I’m discussing fashion, I usually use the term “plus-size,” since that is the official fashion terminology for a US size 14+, whereas the official terminology for women US size 0-12 is “standard-size.” However, when I’m just describing my physical body, I don’t specify at all. It’s simply my body. It’s larger than some and smaller than some, but it’s just my body. I don’t feel a need to throw “curvy” or “full-figured” in front of it.

Nadia Aboulhosn

Curvy, plus-size, full-figured… no matter what word you use, Nadia Aboulhosn looks incredible. Credit: Nadia Aboulhosn

In the survey, many women admitted that they would prefer another term altogether, like “normal” or “beautiful.”

I heartily agree with that line of thinking: why do we have to settle for one of these specific categories? I’m not a huge fan of calling any body type “normal,” because that implies that there will be a certain body type that could be considered abnormal, which is problematic, since I think all bodies are beautiful and different (I would even go so far as to say abnormal is normal). That being said, I think that the term “average” might be making a comeback for women who are at the threshold of the plus-size spectrum, which is women who fall between a US size 12-14, since the actual average dress size of an American woman is a size 14.

Now, we are a growing market and about 60 percent of American women are now identifying with the plus-size market. There are approximately 158 million women in the U.S. which means that there are 95 million women who are in that US size 14+ range.

The Curvy Fashionista

Marie Denee titled her blog “The Curvy Fashionista.” Her tagline is “Curvy. Confident. Chic.” Credit: Marie Denee

That’s a pretty damn big number so why is Lane Bryant still the most successful brick-and-mortar plus-size store in the United States? Some popular mainstream retailers are slowly starting to stock plus-sizes online, which is a goo step, but that does not forgive the fact that plus-size women are still being discriminated against when it comes to a standard shopping experience.

There’s even a campaign in the works right now to get a plus-size lingerie company their own Super Bowl ad! The California-based company Curvy Girl Lingerie, run by the proud US size 22 beauty Chrystal Bougon, is one of thousands of small businesses trying to win enough votes to make it to the top 20 (you can vote here).

Rosie Mercado

Rosie Mercado, at a size 22, is breaking barriers for plus-size models. Credit: Rosie Mercado

Plus-size models like Robyn Lawley, Jennie Runk, Crystal Renn, and Jenny Mercado are goddesses for the plus-size fashion industry, and they have all individually made huge strides for promoting body positivity. Just imagine, we could be sitting on our couches on Super Bowl Sunday in February and actually see “average” sized women on our TV screens. Not to say I didn’t appreciate Kate Upton’s Mercedes Commercial last year, but let’s be real: that’s not the average woman.

Ideally, I would like to see all different types of bodies represented, from women who are a size 14, to women who are a size 30, and beyond, but for now, just a little taste of an “average” body type on television and in the media is a huge step.

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