Why I Don’t Think Plus Size Models Are Inclusive

You don't need to be skinny--you need to be voluminous and curvy with a pretty face.

Being pretty is never going to change.

So being fat in our society has its repercussions. I would know since I was labelled as one at one point of my life, at least in Asian standards, which are impossible. I think everybody deals with this to some extent.

And I know the classic argument that “skinny shaming exists too.” Yes, I know, but I’m just going to put it out there that fat shaming is much more prevalent in our lives. Hate on me if you want, but I think it’s true. And I probably could find logical data and facts to back this up to be politically correct because I have read a plethora of content backing up my claim. But honestly, I don’t feel like going through the trouble. Google it, please. But here’s an article about it anyways.

I’m not here to talk about fat vs. skinny. I’m here to talk about pretty fat vs. ugly fat.

So, plus size models. I don’t appreciate them as much as I really could and should. Please keep in mind that I’m not trying to hate on them. I love representation and it matters. And plus size models are, by all means, a great endeavor in the originally unbreakable line of work that is the modeling industry. But I don’t think plus size models are really representing women too well.

I learned from plus size models that in order to be beautiful, you don’t need a skinny body anymore, you need to be voluminous and curvy with a pretty face.

I’m not talking about curvy women and I’m not talking about thick women, I’m talking about everyday women with jelly rolls. And these women are barely represented in the mainstream modeling industry, let alone succeed. (Well, maybe except Buzzfeed, but Buzzfeed is a whole other genre. Go Buzzfeed!)

When I complain about these “inclusivity” issues in the modeling industry, people say one of three things to me: 1) You are skinny shaming, 2) Models aren’t supposed to represent regular women, and 3) It’s a capitalist society and businesses have to make a profit.

Let me explain myself a little bit.

1. Skinny Shaming: I explained this when I first started out this article. I firmly believe that skinny shaming, although it shouldn’t be tolerated, is relatively subservient compared to fat shaming.

2. Models aren’t supposed to represent regular women: I just think that “regular” is such a subjective term. Just like how “normal” is different for everyone. And I believe that the modeling industry plays a quintessential role in sculpting that normality. If regular is a subjective term, then who are models supposed to represent? My answer is everyone and anyone. I understand their premise behind it, since our society is already so superficially driven, but I guess I’m allowed to hope for the better.

3. The Capitalist: Well, I know that the modeling industry is a multi-million dollar industry and they all need to make a profit. I do. And in a competitive society, there always has to be that x-factor that makes you stand out from the rest, which, in this case, would be beauty. I am not too much of an idealist and I don’t think this will change. As I said, being pretty is never going to go away. But likewise, I firmly believe that beauty can change and beauty will be able to change, with the right amount of effort. Hopefully it will.

So the perception of beauty changes. The standard of beauty has always been a malleable entity and it has changed along with the paradigm. Beauty is not an absolute physical entity you can touch. Beauty is simply an ideology. But interestingly enough, although beauty itself changes, the concept of beauty vs non-beauty has always existed and permeated our society, creating a caste system based on whatever the society’s expectations are. And I think the fashion industry was trying to be inclusive by bringing in plus size models — which I am completely for — but that doesn’t change the fact that appearance, which for the most part is a genetic lottery, provides those in the upper class with an unfair advantage.

And I think appearance is an underrated notion in our society. A lot of people are racist simply because they look different from their own kind. Yes, being attractive gives you advantages. And yes, being unattractive has its disadvantages.

So if you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model, what are you supposed to do?

Well, I’ll narrow it down to a couple of choices:

1. You could do Beyoncé’s lemonade detox and lose a whole bunch of weight, go to Korea (not California, Korea is where the plastic surgery is at, believe me) and get your face fixed up to their classic standards.

2. You could try to accept yourself for who you are and fail in the process. That’s okay, you’re human. But if you can just wholeheartedly love yourself, that’s great, good for you. So far it hasn’t worked for me since I’m not exactly the most perfect being in the world. But I’m getting there.

3. You could just chill. It doesn’t matter. Just let go.

I think “being chill” is such an important quality to have in this fast world of constant competition, where the competition market has expanded to a global degree since the technological revolution. You can’t have everything. Sure, it sucks sometimes but there are other options. You’re probably rather privileged if you’re reading this on whatever electronic device you have. Focus on the things you have and let go. If you want it, you’re gotta work, b**ch (Trust me to make a Britney Spears reference).

For now, I’m trying to be the least pessimistic as I can be about life since I can be quite a Machiavellian thinker if I let myself be. I’m just, you know, trying to chill.


Reverie Lynn Kim is an independent journalist. You may find more of her work here. Connect with her via Facebook. Contact her via email