‘Plus Size’ Celebs and the Obsession with Labeling Body Types

(Image Credit: Bravo Media, LLC)
(Image Credit: Bravo Media, LLC)

Everywhere we turn, women’s bodies are being judged. Everyone is either “too skinny” or “obese,” and figures on both ends of the spectrum are “unhealthy.” This judgmental behavior has become so popular that people seem to feel the need to put a label on all shapes and sizes.

Earlier this year, Glamour magazine put out a special issue in conjunction with Lane Bryant focusing on plus-size women. The beautiful Ashley Graham graced the cover, and women such as Melissa McCarthy, Adele, and Amy Schumer were featured.

As a woman who fluctuates from sizes 6 to 8, Amy wasn’t pleased that she was featured in this particular issue. She shared a post on her Instagram page letting her fans know that she doesn’t want “[y]oung girls seeing [her] body type and thinking that [it] is plus-size.” Because if a size 6 is overweight, then what is acceptable?

Friend to the comedian, Jennifer Lawrence, spoke out in light of the controversy in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. She said that she doesn’t like that people consider her body type to be normal; she puts way too much work into her body for it to be normal, but we’re so accustomed to seeing underweight women that we think it’s the norm. This, in turn, makes us think of a normal body type as being a curvy but thin one.

Why are we so focused on judging other women? Social media makes it far too easy to do this publicly (and anonymously). If you go to any woman’s Instagram page with a large number of followers, you’re bound to see negative comments strewn about regarding her weight.

When did this become acceptable?

Another famous actress who has made it clear that she doesn’t want the focus to be on the size or shape of her body (ironically also featured in the Glamour plus-size issue) is Christina Hendricks. In an interview with the Sun-Herald, Christina’s “full-figured” body is referenced not once, but twice, and she is clearly displeased by the comment both times. Why would any highly-regarded actress want to be interviewed not about her incredible talents or current roles, but instead about her figure? Why does size matter to us so much?

In this era of body scrutiny, the lingerie company Aerie has tried to make a stand. They’ve stopped using standard “models” for their ads, and instead opt to use “real” girls. This means there are sizes being featured above a 4, stretch marks make appearances, and no airbrushing is done.

Until the real normal becomes the media’s definition of normal, it doesn’t seem girls will accept each other’s bodies or their own as being beautiful. We need to stop acting like the Kardashian waist-to-butt ratio is attainable (or like it’s anything that anyone should aim for) and start encouraging each other’s healthy, natural figures. More companies and influential media outlets need to stop allowing women to be placed into “skinny” and “fat” classifications and encourage all women to be proud of how they look, regardless of their weight.

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I was born and raised in New Jersey, but after attending the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, has become my home away from home. I’ll take Netflix and my couch over a night out every time, and I’m very happy to spend my (increasingly rarer) spare moments reading and writing.

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