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