Thursday, August 21, 2014

Labels Smabels

For those of you who have been following this blog and some of the articles I post about, you had to have known this one was coming.

As soon as I saw the posts on Facebook and other social media, my jaw dropped. I was in total shock because the whole idea was utterly, completely, and absurdly ridiculous.

Apparently, according to Cosmopolitan Magazine, and I have decided that they have lost all competency in passing judgment in this area, that this girl is plus-size:

Image courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine
You've got to be kidding me! I don't care how much the article praised her looks and beauty, in the end it all seemed back-handed to me.

"She looks BEYOND sexy"...for a plus-sized model.

"She's looking good"...for a woman who doesn't meet the ideal standards.

Maybe that's just me taking it the wrong way by being sensitive to this whole issue but as someone who has struggled for most of their life with very poor body image, this struck deep for me.

With some effort, I understand that maybe Cosmo was trying to do some good by featuring a plus-sized model in their magazine. They might've been trying to represent more of the average woman, and the fact that they did not digitally alter her pictures is somewhat encouraging. But that all got canceled out as soon as they labeled her as "plus-sized".

Honestly, I think the best possible course of action that Cosmo could have done is simply have the feature of Robyn and her swimwear, and not have mentioned a thing about her size. Leaving labels clearly out of it and not even draw attention to her body. The feature was supposed to be about her swimwear, right? So why not just talk about the bathing suits and don't even bring her size into it?

I say this because on one hand we have the usual models but then on the other hand, in an effort to announce they're going in a different direction, magazines or ads will use "plus-size" models as if to prove that they are trying to fix the problem. I'm not saying it's a bad thing that they're trying to make a difference, I'm just saying I don't agree with how it's being done. 

What happens is they play it up and focus on the fact that they're using a plus-size model but why feel the need to call her plus-size at all? Why can't it simply be a picture of a woman who isn't a size 2 and leave it at that? This is where I believe Cosmo went wrong because what they did was took a beautiful woman (which most people adamantly said she should not be plus-size) and then placed a label on her that reduced her to nothing more than her size. If Cosmo had simply just stated that Robyn was debuting her new swimwear line rather than plus-size model Robyn, I think the article would've been a hit with readers. 

I also want to talk about how it bothers me when people refer to plus-size models as 'real' women because I think that can be hurtful to models who aren't classified as plus-size. It's taking a stab at those models just because they're thinner. (*Just to clarify: I'm talking about outside photo-shopped images, obviously the pictures in the magazines aren't real). It ends up being a mean cycle of women tearing each other apart only because of the number on their clothes. We need to stop altogether with labeling women as plus-size, real, curvy, or non-plus-size. We are all just women, simple as that!

I think the best thing for the fashion industry and media to do is start integrating women of any size but simply do it without fanfare, and more importantly without labels. No one needs to draw attention to the fact that it's happening. Don't make a big deal out of it, and drop all the labels. Women shouldn't be put into categories of plus-size or not, real or fake. And for the love of God, let's just get rid of photoshop entirely.

The reason I believe this should be done without attention is because I think it would be the healthiest way for all women involved. What I mean by that is if you think about it this way: a magazine starts incorporating pictures of a model that they claim is a 'real' woman with curves and a size bigger than a 4. They're playing it up and want to draw attention to the fact that this is now what should be considered beautiful. Well, what exactly is that saying about the models who are a 0-2, that they are no longer beautiful? Because that's not right, either. ALL women are beautiful so therefore all sizes of women should be represented in the industry. There are women who are naturally slimmer, and there's nothing wrong with that! No one should be berated for their size, whether it's a 4 or a 14.

I say this since I would want my daughter to be able to see a variety of women represented in the media to show her that size doesn't matter because in the end all women are beautiful. That's what it comes down to so that's what should be portrayed in society. We need to stop with this labeling because at the end of the day it only hurts someone.

What do you guys think?

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