Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plus-size or minus-size?

The last few days I've been reading tons of blog posts, articles and commentaries about Lizzie Miller's appearance in the September Issue of Glamour magazine. An overwhelming response from readers and bloggers (95% positive) has since come into Glamour about this plus-size model that agreed to have her photos published without any retouching. The September issue sold out in just days after hitting the market, mainly due to this tiny 3x3" photo buried on page 194.

This has led me to start thinking about what is the purpose of fashion magazines, and models for that matter? What are they trying to communicate? Are these magazines supposed to be self-reflective, realistic, escapism, inspirational, aspirational? I am still not a hundred percent sure. When everything is said and done, I think it may differ from person to person. 

I do find it refreshing that once in a while we get to see what other women look like without retouching. It's sometimes easy to lose track of reality when you leaf though all these magazines— living in NY does not make things better (most girls are thin here).  But I'm not so sure this should replace traditional models. 
I, myself, struggled with my weight up until a year and a half ago, so I have a little mixed feeling about this whole topic. Personally, I think a lot of clothes look better on thinner women. But another part of me think this is amazing. Finally someone that is closer in size and shape to a majority of American women. Lizzie is 5' 11" and weights 180lb, which makes her a size 12-14—the average size for women in this country. (Being that tall a size 12 is actually quite healthy and not really what I would consider plus-model. However in US sizes, a plus size model is on average a size 8). 

I know for a fact that I read fashion magazines for inspiration and aspiration. Truth be told, I like most other girls, deal with my own flaws and reality everyday. The trends we try on in that poorly lit fitting room that were designed to look good on  size 0:s—it's sometimes heartbreaking and depressing. I think we all mark cute stuff in the glossies as "wants" even if we know it probably will never make its way home to our closets. After all, we all live in reality and we know that not all trends are designed for all body types and all fashion is not priced to fit all budgets. 

So, do we have to end up with extremes? I don't particularly want to see only size 0 models, but can there be a happy medium? Maybe a mix of sizes? This debate has just begun, so I am dying to see where it's going to take us.

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