Friday, January 20, 2012

6 is the new 14

Plus Model Magazine recently released the January 2012.  In it is a spread showing a size 14 plus sized model standing next to, hugging, and embracing a runway model.  The contrast is stark and shows the extreme thinness of the runway model. She kinda scares me actually.

And the size fourteen is beautiful.  Her name is  Katya Zharkova and she is Russian.  She is lovely and even though there is "extra flesh" there is something very pleasing about her lines and curves.   I realized what it was, she looks normal.

This makes sense when one realizes that the average American woman is size 14 or over.  And the average clothing manufacturer makes clothing for women size 14 or under.  Twenty years ago, a runway model was size two to size eight, and a plus size model was size 12 to size 18.  Think Emme.

Today, a plus sized model is a size 6 to a size 14. !!??

As a woman in America, I have never particularly thought of myself as pretty.  I have seen myself as strong, or attractive, or clearly confident.  Pretty was never an adjective I aspired to.  When I grew up, you were either pretty or smart.  I wanted Smart.  I wanted to be annoying smug Hermoine Granger and not Cho Chang who ruined it for everyone because she wasn't strong enough to fight back.

And as far as my size goes.  I am a big girl.  I am almost six feet tall, and the last time I was a size 12 I was 12.  I was in junior high school.  I was a swimmer and strong muscles do not allow for a girl being a size nuthin.'  Most of us who swam the fly were sizes 10-14.  Only one girl I know is still a size 10, and it is because she still swims and runs, and even works as a coach.  The rest of us are real people who exercise as a part of our daily lives, but not as a profession anymore.

One question I have is whether or not the sizes have remained constant throughout the years.  It seems that a size ten today is the equivalent of a size something completely different years ago, and the size ten is different for different manufacturers.

The bottom line is that size 6 is not the new anything.  It remains that a number is just a number.  What we assign to it in terms of social meaning is up to us.