The Beauty of Average: Being on the Cusp of Plus-Size

It is no great secret that plus sized models are gaining more and more traction these days, and it is no great secret that the average American woman is a size 14. And, those of us who have tipped the scales from time to time know that if you are larger than say a 14 or 16, you will find yourself shopping in plus-sized stores or the very limited, and frequently combined with Maternity, plus-sized ‘sections’ of department stores. And if those places don’t do it for you and your sense of style, then you need to go online to places like ModCloth and ASOS Curve; two of my faves for clearance items.

The troubling issue remains…what size are plus-sized models really?



According to the modeling industry, both of these women are plus-sized…Alex La Rosa (top-size 18 ) and Robyn Lawley (bottom- size 12) are both classified as plus-sized models and both women have spoken out about the problems within the industry and it’s inability to represent true body diversity.

Look at what is standard for a “straight” model:



Here we have Ann Ward (top- size 0) and Kate Moss, quintessential waif, (bottom- also size 0).

In addition to the need to its need to categorize women’s bodies, the industry hasn’t really presented body diversity or variance. Additionally, most women, as indicated by the fact that the average woman is a size 14, fall into what the fashion industry tells us on one hand is plus size due to plus size models ranging from size 8 to 18, but on the other hand we are told we are average. This inconsistency is troubling and encourages women, both young and old, to perpetually hold themselves to superficial and unattainable standards. Additionally, this inconsistency makes the already troubled modeling industry look like it is merely appeasing consumers with ‘plus’ sized models that don’t really fit the bill. For example, Robyn Lawley has stated many times that instead of being labeled as plus sized, why can’t she just be a model? Why does the industry feel so strongly compelled to put a label on it. And, what about all those beautiful women who fit in between a size 2 and 12?

Women sizes 4-10 are not typically represented in the modeling industry. According to Jennifer Wright, once model now agent, many of us fall into this range called ‘no man’s land’ where if we are a size 8, then we are being marketed to by models in size 0 and 2, and if we are in a size 20 then we are being marketed to by models who are actually a size 10 or 12, nowhere near a true plus-size which usually starts at size 16 in stores.

So, all this got me thinking…what is the real beauty of being average…of being like most every other woman in America? Well, one of the things I do a lot of in my marketing writing is write “top___ lists of ____”, you know like top 10 reasons to Segment your email list, stuff like that.

So, I kept thinking, what are the top reasons to be an average sized American woman?

1. Shopping at H&M and Lane Bryant:
I love to shop! Anyone who knows me, knows I love to shop. And so, my best reason for being a size right at plus size is that all of a sudden I can shop EVERYWHERE! I can shop at H&M and buy the largest size, I can shop at Lane Bryant, Fashion to Figure or The Avenue and buy the smallest size. If you love to shop, being a happy medium is pretty nice; it doubles your boutique options!

2. Not impaling one’s self on sharp hip bones:
One of the most troubling things to me, once I did become thin…hip bones!! They pressed against the floor if I laid on my tummy, they poked at the walls of my jeans when I wore hip huggers. When you are a fuller size, you can lay on the floor and know for sure that there is some padding to cushion that damn hip bone.

3. Bigger Boobs…ummm, I mean more curves…in the, ah, chest area:
Does this one really need an explanation? Don’t we all want bigger boobs, or at least our significant others have convinced us of such…and why not, bigger boobs lends to more décolletage.

Need I really say more? Buy v-necks…that will help if this wasn’t clear enough.

4. Curvaceous hips…yep more about those curves:
Along with the boobs, comes hips!! When I was growing up, my mom used to tell me about my Maw-maw Jewel’s being built like a “shit-brick house.” I don’t really know what that is, but I knew that that meant that Maw-maw had an hour glass figure and those of us who do have a lil extra plump are more likely to be curvy in the right places.

5. Looking younger:
People who are a little plumper also look more filled out and so often, as we age, we look younger with more meat to fill out those impending wrinkles. Just look at a current pic of Miss Kate Moss…wrinkles, ladies, wrinkles galore! And, you tell me, does she look like a mere 40 years old or much older? That is what a diet of tissues and booze for 20+ years will get you.

6. Not being afraid to eat:
There’s something sexy about a woman who eats, or so I’ve been told. And, those of us who are a little bigger tend to not have issues with eating in public.

Just check out this article on what super models eat…

7. You’re in Good Company:
Remember: The average American woman is a size 14. So, most of us, like it or not, are in that double-digit range.

Smile and embrace those curves…you aren’t alone.

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