Plus Size Model Tara Lynn Covers Elle Spain! Ugh, She’s Called “Real Woman”

We love the gorgeous and talented plus size model Tara Lynn (who was also featured in H&M’s “Big Is Beautiful” swimwear campaign a few years ago). She’s just landed the cover of Elle Spain, looking amazing. What’s not so amazing is that the magazine decided to use the tired stereotype of branding a plus-sized woman a “real woman” as a misguided move towards celebrating body diversity.


While I understand the impulse to call Tara Lynn a “mujer real” (that’s “real woman” for those of you who didn’t get to AP Spanish like me ::brushes shoulders off::), the implication is that standard size fashion models, and indeed, women who are thin or skinny, are not “real women”, that their womanhood is somehow lesser because their body types happen to conform to societal standards. Yes, the fashion industry—and the media as a whole—should be working towards more inclusive depictions of a range of shapes, sizes, and skin colors in both editorials and advertisements. But the rhetoric that follows that inclusion, that self-congratulatory, faux body positive “real woman” terminology and mindset ultimately proves to further solidify the dichotomy between women who look like “models” and women who do not.

Headlines like this, campaigns like this (I’m looking at you, Nina Garcia and Marie Claire!) only put up more barriers between women and serve to perpetuate the idea that there are only two ways to be a woman, both in the world of fashion and outside of it: You can be a thin model type or you can be a “real woman.” It’s a limited spectrum that carries a false duality, and it’s just not true for most of the women in the world, including fashion models.

[h/t Huffington Post]

Photo: Elle Spain

Share This Post:
    • Julia Sonenshein

      “It’s a limited spectrum that carries a false duality, and it’s just not true for most of the women in the world, including fashion models.”

      Nailed it.

    • Anne Marie Hawkins

      I’d just like to point out that “real” has a different subtext in Spanish, and in addition to the meaning we’re used to English it can also mean majestic, royal, or splendid. I think the editors may have been intentionally playing on words there. Obviously I can’t say this for sure but I’d love to take a look at the article and parse the other adjectives they use for her.

      • Carrie Murphy

        Great point! That would be interesting to see, you’re right.

    • Rocky

      Their bodies “conform to societal standards”??? Actually they conform to a narrow advertising-acceptable concept/standard. Tara is being called real because she hasn’t been airbrushed away and being passed off as something that doesn’t exist. Also because this is what the majority of women in the Americas and Europe look like.

    • Carrie

      Blah, blah, woman are beautiful in all sizes. The average model is not what most of the world looks like. It makes our children think you have to look like that to be beautiful. I think this woman is just the right “average”. I am proud that she is out there. She is showing others that anyone can look good if you just love yourself as you are. She is not unhealthy in a way that is too big or too small.