2014's Worst Moments in Plus Size Fashion and Size Acceptance — Because We Didn't Get it All Right
When it comes to 2014, this probably won't go down as the year we got it completely right when it comes to size-acceptance and plus-size fashion. Even though we made some pretty exciting progress in the conversations around body image and had quite a few wins in the plus-size fashion world, there were definitely some missteps and cringe-worthy moments. From independent and infuriating social media trolls to giant business corporations to fashion magazines, there were plenty of frustrating and annoying moments that remind us why we even need a size-acceptance movement in the first place.
The fact that people noticed the antagonism towards plus-size people and called out retailers and designers when they messed up is a bit of a consolation, though. It really wasn't that long ago that these types of things would have been regarded as "normal" and would totally not have been news. Even though it's extremely frustrating that there are quite a few people who manage to get it so very wrong, it's refreshing to be reminded of the people out there who get it right and are vocally fighting these regressive attitudes.
So instead of getting upset, I'm seeing all the "lows" as reminders of ways that we can change our language, attitudes and actions in the new year, and I hope that I'm not repeating any of these transgressions on next year's list. In fact, I hope that next year I have a difficult time even thinking of things for this list. Right now that doesn't feel very likely, but a curvy girl needs to dream.
1. SIZEIST TROLLING STILL HAPPENED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
It makes sense that the body acceptance hashtags #effyourbeautystandards and #honormycurves have taken off immensely — social media is all about putting the power to create images into user's hands so that they can allow themselves to be seen. What doesn't make sense is why fat shamers and people who claimed to be "concerned with the health of others" felt entitled to co-opt that space. Ugh.
2. SIZE ACCEPTANCE AND BODY POSITIVITY WERE REALLY, REALLY WHITE
Sonya Renee Taylor penned a powerful piece about her invisibility as a body-positivity advocate and plus-size woman. "Our society tells us fatness is not beautiful. Blackness is historically, not beautiful. So even while battling weight stigma and reclaiming size diversity as beautiful, the presence of Blackness complicates the narrative," she wrote. Let's make 2015 the year of making room for the same inclusiveness we're asking for, all around.
3. THE PUBLIC'S RESPONSE TO MYLA DALBESIO'S CALVIN KLEIN CAMPAIGN SUCKED
Rather than celebrate the fact that the traditionally-size-2-favoring Calvin Klein added a slighter larger model to their campaigns — one size 10 Myla Dalbesio — the public became outraged by the use of the term "plus-size" to describe her (a term the brand never even used). Not only did these critiques basically suggest that there is something inherently wrong with being plus-size; they also belittled Dalbesio's work and how stunning she looked modeling CK.
4. PLUS-SIZE MODELS WORE FAT SUITS
Even when women who actually fit into the designation of plus-size are chosen to model plus lines, it's not a cause for immediate celebration. It turns out that plus-size models are routinely being asked to add padding to their bodies to fit larger clothes. Sigh. Can 2015 be the year of really real body diversity, please?
5. STORES HID THEIR PLUS-SIZE OPTIONS
It's no secret to some women who wear a size 12 or over that even stores or designers that make plus-sizes won't stock them in stores. What has been a secret is that some designers are vehement about not publicizing the fact that they even makes clothes in larger sizes, even when bloggers volunteered to do all the work for them. The fear of "coming out" is real.
6. PLUS-SIZE WOMEN PAID MORE FOR THEIR CLOTHES
Old Navy has long been guilty of hiding their plus-sizes online and not making them available on store shelves, but this year showed us an even more disgusting practice: women paid more for comparable plus-size items then men did. Sexist and sizeist, totally gross double whammy.
7. THE CAMPAIGN FOR AN ANNUAL "FAT SHAMING DAY" STARTED
Some awful British weight-loss dude wants to make January 7th "Tell A Friend They're Chubby Day." OK, first: I'm pretty sure people know if they're chubby. Second: science says fat shaming doesn't work. So there.
8. SLiNK MAGAZINE WAS ACCUSED OF PROMOTING "UNHEALTHY" LIFESTYLES WHEN THEY WENT TO PRINT
The huge, important news that plus-size magazine SLiNK launched in 15 countries worldwide was accompanied by the concern trolls. Detractors said it would glamorize and glorify "unhealthy lifestyles." (Boring.) Apparently some people missed the memo that bodies can be healthy at any size. And, really, that "health" has no part in a discussion about acceptance of human beings.
9. BODY ACCEPTANCE WAS USED TO SELL DIET FOOD
Creative actions that disrupt women's unhealthy obsession with their clothing size? I love them. When they're used to sell women diet food like Special K? I hate them.
10. ASHLEY GRAHAM'S BODY DISAPPEARED IN THE LOVE ADVENT CALENDAR
I cheered so loud when Ashley Graham was included with the other bombshells in LOVE Magazine's advent calendar. Then, I actually watched the video, and was disappointed by the fact it only featured her boobs and (gorgeous) face. Progress is a slow-moving train.