Blog, Fashion, Uncategorised

#DropThePlus – please listen instead of misrepresenting our views

I was intrigued by a linkback I got to one of my #DropThePlus blog posts. It was written by someone in favour of #DropThePlus and on first reading I couldn’t  see why I was getting a linkback, so I read it again, and then a third time. Until I spotted that the link to my blog was in this paragraph..

While some argue that the reason it’s good to use the term “plus size” because, in the modeling and fashion industries, a size 4 or above is larger compared to the majority of models

Which I’d completely missed on the first two readthroughs because it isn’t my view at all, as I responded.

Thank you for the link back to my blog, though I do feel the views you’ve attributed to me aren’t quite a the views I hold. In fact I say quite clearly that “It isn’t constructive to point at a model like Stefania Ferrario and act like she is larger than average, because she really isn’t. And labelling her as a plus size model makes it sound like she is above average size.

That is the one point where I agree with the #DropThePlus campaign.

It’s the only one though.

There are a lot of reasons to be against it, my particular reasons are set out here (http://wp.me/p3Yax9-60) and here (http://wp.me/p3Yax9-6e), but there are also very good arguments put forth by SLiNK Magazine here (http://www.slinkmagazine.com/2015/04/keep-the-plus/) and Ali Thompson (http://alithompsonart.com/blog/2015/4/3/droptheplus-is-fatphobic-and-patronizing)

I’d advising reading those before dismissing them.

I was unsure about posting this here ,but I wanted to make it clearer that that isn’t what I believe at all. It’s why I’m posting a link to this in my other blog posts.

It’s very easy to dismiss the views of those who are against #DropThePlus as being happy to carry on with the status quo, but it is a massive misrepresentation of our views. Something which is happening more often than it should be.

I know from my Twitter feed that many plus size women, and by that I mean the ones who have to use the plus size fashion brands, feel they aren’t being listened to over this. They feel that women who are in that inbetween size, where they’d be considered plus size for models but average in most stores, are talking about#DropThePlus with little regard for those who are considered plus size by the high street too.

Now while plus size labelling does affect slimmer women in that it can affect their confidence being told that they are considered plus size by the fashion industry, let’s step back and think about that. Why is it a bad thing? And why might those who are regarded as plus size outside of the fashion industry be offended by it being seen as a bad thing?

Yes, there is a lot of societal stigma attached to being plus size, you don’t need to tell any of us that, we are well aware. (Btw, telling us this fact can be a little insulting too) But the thing is, changing the label, or even doing away with a label entirely, isn’t going to change societal attitudes. What it will do is deprive us, the ones who cannot (or can only rarely) fit into straight sizes, of a label that actually we find useful, and even empowering.

Just take a look at plus size bloggers, that’s a term that they have chosen to adopt. It’s not been forced upon them. On Instagram there are some fantastic things going on under the plus size hashtags, there’s support and joy and, yes, body confidence.

I know that for me the discovery of the plus size scene online and plus size clothes labels has been a revelation. It made me realise that I didn’t need to hate myself, I didn’t need to harm my body for failing to be thin, it eased my disordered eating. It has been a totally positive experience.

When you campaign to #DropThePlus you campaign for us to lose what we have gained. You campaign for us to go back to square one.

Yes, I know you have this idyllic utopian view of getting rid of plus size and all body sizes being represented and no one feeling ashamed of their bodies, and for that I love you. I love your optimism.

But to reach that utopia you need the playing field to be much more level than it is now, otherwise you are going to leave a lot of people behind.

The plus size community have been making things happen, it’s gradual but it’s moving. Maybe try listening to some of those voices, especially when they are a group that you are supposedly looking to help and they are telling you that your well meaning campaign is harmful to them.

Side note: This is rather than creating a fourth blog post. 

“Plus size” as a descriptor within the fashion and retail industries isn’t equivalent to “green eyes” or “brown hair” because those two descriptors do not affect the way clothes fit. It is equivalent to “petite”, and that does get used as a descriptor. No one is campaigning to get rid of that label though. 

You also do not say “plus size mailman” because their size doesn’t make a difference to what post they can handle. A “plus size” model can wear “plus size” clothes, hence why the descriptor is used. 

While there are definitely issues with plus size being used to describe women who are only plus size in relation to super skinny models, and god knows we could do with seeing actual plus size women being used, the argument that it isn’t just a descriptor is false.

 

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