Plus-Size Models Aren't Actually Plus-Size Anymore

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asos Photo: Courtesy of ASOS CURVE.

Plus-size ain't what it used to be. Despite the fact that fuller-figured models like Crystal Renn and Ashley Graham are landing covers, campaigns, runway shows, and generally enjoying more mainstream acceptance than ever before, there's evidence that plus-size models' measurements have actually been sneaking downward for a while. In fact, even among plus-size women, there may be a preference for models on the slimmer end of that spectrum.

According to The Huffington Post, PLUS Model Magazine and SWAK, a plus-size-clothing boutique, recently posted two different photos of plus-size model Alex LaRosa to their Facebook page and asked fans to vote for their favorite. One picture highlighted LaRosa's curves with a body-con dress, while the other downplayed her size with a more conservative outfit and pose. Votes were split right down the middle — surprising, since one might expect a plus-size audience to favor the image of LaRosa proudly rocking her full-figured bod.

Those results point to a disturbing trend: the incredible, shrinking plus-size model. According to Madeline Jones, PLUS Model Magazine's editor-in-chief, gone are the days when size-18 models graced campaigns and catalog covers. These days, Jones says, many brands do not use plus-size models at all, and those that do typically hire women that are size 10, 12, or sometimes 14. If you're blinking in disbelief right now, you're not alone — Women's Wear Daily reports that the average American women's dress size is 14, which means most so-called plus-size models actually have average measurements.

So, what does it say about us when we habitually label average-sized bodies as "plus"? And, if the average size 14 is "plus," where do the 50% of women who wear 16 and above fit in? As pleased as we've been to see the rise of plus-size models, it seems we may still be missing the mark on true body diversity. (The Huffington Post)


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