We're on the rise of plus size modeling. With big names like Barbie Ferreira, Iskra Lawrence, Liris Crosse and many others, there has been promotion and glamorization of bigger bodies.
In a seemingly exclusively thin industry, these women are carving the path for success in fashion and image to a whole new demographic.
Of course along with the popularization of plus size comes subsequent negative implications as well.
Women with curvier, thicker bodies have been shamed for their success by people brainwashed by conventional norms and internalized hate. They've been accused of advertising an unhealthy lifestyle, of not living up to their 'full beauty potential.'
While, on a contrasting note, plus sized women are objectified and sexualized. As thinner models are graceful and delicate, thicker models are sexy and provocative.
Many are viewing this persistent sexualization as a flaw in our perception, and yes there are underlying issues within this consistent perspective. However, this mindset implies the idea that expressed sexuality is negative.
Author Gina Tonic reflects on this in her Bustle Piece "Why I Play Into The Role Of The Over Sexualized Plus Size Woman". She writes, "by trying to remove femininity or sexual status from a woman, plus size or otherwise, the implication is arguably that femininity and being sexual are negatives, and should be replaced by masculine alternatives."
We have emerged into a new wave of feminism, one that acknowledges women as sexual beings in an accepting light. So when we talk about women models, plus size or 'regular', why is seduction something we steer away from? This is to be said without addressing the blatant fetishization of plus sized women as solely sexual creatures.
So, while plus sized women can be sexy and intoxicating, we should shatter the divide between her and thinner models. She can also be fragile and elegant.
We've created these subcategories of what body types warrant what attitudes or looks. In actuality, women of all shapes and sizes can exude the same yet different energies and we are pigeonholing them in these 'acceptable' realms.
Emerging plus sized models are doing their work, they're serving looks in their confident, beautiful bodies. It's up to us to keep our interpretations and discussions in check. She is sexy and curvy but also gentle, dainty and poised. It's more than body shape and it's more than body weight.
We have a long way to go.
Plus sized modeling for men is still relatively unheard of in mainstream media and that feeds into unhealthy body image for men as well. Are women allowed to be bigger while men aren't? This is an entirely different conversation, but one to be had in the near future.
Seeing plus sized models is one thing, our perceptions are another. Remember to evaluate your analysis of models, whether they be plus sized or otherwise.
What are they to you? It's equally important to remember, we are models in our everyday lives as well. What are we to ourselves, to others? Sexy, delicate, perhaps both?