It's almost September, which means that those extra thick editions of glossy fashion magazines will be on newsstands and drugstore shelves any time now. There will, however, be no plus size models in September issues and fashion editorials. Considering that September releases of major magazine's are often considered the publications' most important work of the year — Vogue even has a whole documentary dedicated to the month's madness — what does it say when those magazines are lacking even one plus size model?
Michelle Persad and Tia Chiaramonte, editors at Huffington Post, scoured seven major women's magazines — including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle — and reported the dismal results. The results were enough to disturb the duo, and with good reason. "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average waist size for women aged 20 and over is 37.5 inches. Depending on which retail store you consult, this translates to a slightly different pant size, but all of them qualify as plus-size," they wrote. Essentially, these findings suggest that by not incorporating plus models into their publications, the glossies are failing to represent the vast majority of women. Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle have yet to respond to Bustle's request for comment.
This all led Persad and Chiaramonteto to propose the question: "If the average woman is plus-size, why are there zero plus-size models in these fashion editorials?" And I can't help but ask the same. If fashion magazines have their biggest issues, advertising revenue, and audiences in the month of September, then why are they ignoring the most prevalent segment of consumers?
While plus size models have arguably been gaining mainstream exposure and plus size fashion is finally reaching new heights of popularity, there are still a ton of plus size fashion issues that we need to address. Plus size women are carving spaces out for themselves, but mainstream fashion still seems like it's not ready to give even an inch. Even Marie Claire, which features a plus size-specific column by Nicolette Mason every month, was lacking size diversity in its editorials.
Most of us body positive advocates aren't even asking for covers, though. We just want to see the awesome fall trends styled on bodies that look remotely like us.
It's not all bad news when it comes to visible diversity on next month's newsstands, however. Eight September issues feature women of color. That alone is a very welcome change from Septembers of the past and gives me hope that things are changing for the better. At least, they sure ought to.