Ok. Stop calling Robyn Lawley plus-sized! For those of you who don’t consider Facebook your source for news, Robyn Lawley is a 6’2″ model featured in sports illustrated’s famous swimsuit edition. She wears a size 12, which means relatively nothing, since she’s 6’2, except that for some ridiculous reason, in the “fashion world” that makes her “plus sized”. Forget the fact that this is an amazing looking, healthy woman with a enviable body, She wears a size 12, most likely because her ankles would show in a size ten because she’s 6’2″.
So several thoughts flood my brain at once (warning: my brain uses very adult language): 1- fashion industry- go f&$k yourself. The average American woman is a healthy size 14. You get 0 points for putting average (or smaller than average) sized women into the category of “plus sized” and then imagining that you’re being progressive. 2- plus size is a label that in recent history carries a lot of negative baggage. F$&k that. It’s another label in the long list of labels that keep women obsessed with their appearance. 3- f$&k Numbers, size 12, 175 pounds, 2500 calories, 10,000 steps. These are just a few numbers many women keep constantly in our heads every day. You might be eating dinner, we are figuring out how many calories are left in our daily allowance to see if we can drink the rest of our red wine guilt free or if we will need to go to bed hating ourselves. It’s a constant math problem that has turned food into an equation. And it leaves out the most important part of the equation….are we healthy?
When we are constantly presented with the idea that a size 12 is exceptional beauty and that size 2 is the ” norm” we lose sight of what’s really important. Curvy, skinny, thin, slender, average, romantically curvy, super skinny, size 16, size 0 or size 12, these are just labels. And they don’t even mean one consistent thing, nor do they address your heart health, your blood pressure, or your overall health and well being. They are exclusively about the way you appear on the outside.
I suggest you go to the mall, just for the experience of walking past store windows. Every single mannequin is a size 2-6, all about the same height, and proportions (and even though they are featureless, most of them are white) Make your last stop Victoria’s Secret, and don’t bring your kids, because there are Giant! pictures of naked ladies. Then look around the mall. The people in the mall are all sizes, all shapes, and many colors.
So why is this one version of women used over and over again? Why is it so extraordinary that a woman who wears a size 12 is featured in a swimsuit spread? If you’re foolish enough to believe being constantly bombarded with these images does nothing to a person, ask my nine year old why she believes the skin on her stomach is “fat” and “gross”.
I think about my weight almost every day. Right now I’m a size 12. Some days I eat whatever I want. Some days I try to eat a certain number of calories. I rarely focus on reaching some health goal, but I frequently think about getting to a certain number on the scale, or getting to a certain pants size. I’m stopping that today. Today I am going to fake loving my body, until I love my body. Or better yet until I think of my body as a healthy package that carries around my beautiful self.
A couple of notes for clarification, I know men have body issues too. I know the images of men’s bodies tend to be one dimensional and not representative of the average man. I don’t hate skinny women, or beautiful women. I hate advertisers and capitalism.
Finally, I want my daughters to grow up in a world where they value who they are more than how they look. I want them to recognize that the content of their soul is more important than what dress size they wear and that being healthy is the goal above fitting into some arbitrary norm.