When we launched Refinery29 Australia, we made a commitment to ensure that underrepresented people across the country felt seen and heard. As part of this commitment, we launched We Are Many, a stock photo library created in partnership with Getty Images to help evolve the visual representation of marginalised communities in Australia. The first two collections showcased First Nations people and people with darker skin tones. And now, we couldn’t be more excited to introduce the latest addition to We Are Many: an image library focused on celebrating plus-size women and gender-diverse people.
In Australia, despite making up the majority of adults, the representation of plus-size people in mainstream media is limited and often stereotypical. This, in turn, perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards and reinforces ignorant, fatphobic societal beliefs about body size and weight. While there has been some progress in recent years with the rise of the body positivity and neutrality movements, mainstream plus-size representation still has a long way to go. At Refinery29, we are actively and passionately committed to changing the biased perception imposed on the millions of plus-sized women and gender-diverse people in Australia.
We all know that the impact of the content we consume is far from neutral. Several studies point to this: a UNSW research study released just last month shows that content about body positivity and body neutrality has the ability to improve body image in young women. Another study suggests that seeing body diversity more often can make people increasingly likely to consider larger bodies as more aspirational and attractive. As a publication aimed at young women and underrepresented people, we take the responsibility we have to positively shift these perceptions very seriously.
As with all We Are Many images, we've worked with photographers from each community, who called on their own networks to recruit talent and bring the images to life. For this collection, we partnered with the incredible Melbourne-based photographer and plus-size model Laura Du Vé (@ldvphoto), who told Refinery29 Australia, “I hope this project allows writers and journalists, advertisers and agencies who use stock imagery to showcase a more inclusive range of bodies and a more authentic representation of the world we live in. This is especially important in an Australian context, as I find we are severely lacking inclusive and heterogeneous depictions of people and bodies.”
Our new plus-size image collection is available to any publication or business with a Getty Images licence. It includes a library of 100 images that capture plus-size women and gender-diverse people across five key categories identified by Refinery29 Australia and Getty Images as lacking in representation. These include work, relationships, wellness, lifestyle and technology.
We hope these images acknowledge and celebrate these extraordinary women and gender-diverse people, not just on Refinery29, but across social media, advertising, entertainment and society in general, while shifting how the world, in turn, sees this often overlooked majority.