There has been a lot of buzz about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue including a "plus sized model" in their pages this year.
Here she is:
Sports Illustrated’s Newest Model, Robyn Lawley. Credit: James Macari/Sports Illustrated
Her name is Robyn Lawley and she is beautiful! She a has a body that most women could only dream of having (reminds me of Kate Upton, right?), and she is a size that is a bit more realistic than most swimsuit models.
So what's the stink about?
Well, at size 12, she is considered a plus sized MODEL. Of course she is. The normal size for a model is between 5'9" and 5'10" and a size 2 (although I'm guessing they love a size 0 even more). Even "curvy" Victoria Secret models come no where close to a size 12.
But let's face it, much like the television and movie industry, the modelling industry is built on illusion. Those clothes being trotted down the runway? You will likely never wear them. That crazy hair and over-the-top makeup? You won't be leaving your house looking like that any time soon. It's fun, make-believe and fantasy- like little girls or boys playing dress up. THE MODELLING INDUSTRY IS NOT REALITY.
And so, in that fake world, being a size 12 is considered "plus sized". But remember that context is key.
In the world in which we live- the everyday world where we work, parent, and just try to survive- size 12 is considered the norm. In fact, the average women is estimated to be 5'4" and 155 pounds (which is about a size 8/10). So, in the context of our everyday living, Robyn Lawley is perfection. But in the context of the modelling world she is "plus"; she is larger than is normal.
Does it suck that those considered to be amongst the most beautiful in the land are often smaller than seems humanly possible? I guess. Listen, I'm 5'5" and wear a size 4/6. I'm smaller in size than the "average" person and yet I am no where close to meeting model (or television) standards. But I also understand that no matter how hard I tried, I could never reach those standards. And I also understand that I am not MEANT to meet those standards, because they are an illusion, a false reality, a make-believe fantasy.
For some reason we seem set on making all things into a controversy, when there is very little controversy here. For some reason we as a society have decided that any time we use the word "plus" we are equating that with "less than" or "wrong" or indicates that people find someone who is "plus" disgusting or ugly. But it doesn't mean that- not at all!! It simply means that Robyn is, for better or worse, larger than the fantastical illusion of the modelling industry standard.
Should the industry be providing more and more examples or "healthy" (i.e.: strong, fit) female bodies? Sure! It is always great to see more attainable figures in the fashion and modelling industry- something that is slightly better than the average but not completely and utterly unattainable.
But should we get our knickers in a knot because an industry built on impossible-to-attain standards considers a size 12 to be plus sized? Absolutely not.
Robyn Lawley is gorgeous, fit, healthy, and an absolutely regular (or even smaller!) size HUMAN- let's celebrate and encourage that- but she is not a "normal" sized MODEL.
And let's just leave it at that.