amy schumer

As you might already know, Glamour Magazine and Lane Bryant are teaming up on a clothing collection, as well as a 96-page special issue focusing on plus size women and fashion. As a publication that, for the most part, tends to focus on straight size fashion, this overall project are a huge step in the right direction, and we were quick to praise Glamour and its editors for doing it. 

(Related: Ashley Graham’s First Maxim Cover Is Here In All Its Flawless Glory)

But then, as things as so wont to do these days, there arose a problem, though it’s not one that the public would necessarily have anticipated. Here’s the cover for Glamour‘s special plus size edition:

A photo posted by Glamour Magazine (@glamourmag) on

Ashley Graham looks beautiful per usual, but does anything seem strange you? Nothing? Here, why don’t we let Amy Schumer point out the glaring issue at hand:

Well, would you look at that? They nestled Amy Schumer on in there with three other plus size women. So, the question follows: does Glamour consider sizes 6-8 and above plus size? Did they know that Amy Schumer isn’t technically plus sized, but put her in the middle of that list with the hope that people just wouldn’t notice? I fluctuate between a size 6 and size 8 too—should I consider myself plus size? Who am I?

Before I continue, I should make clear that, in characterizing the other women in the above list (Adele, Melissa McCarthy, and Ashley Graham) as plus size, I am not doing so with any intention other than using the labels that the fashion industry has allotted. I am not doing so to suggest that putting a “straight size” woman in the same list as a “plus size” woman is in some way belittling the former of the latter. And with that, I push onward.

Glamour EIC Cindi Leive obviously started feeling the heat, especially since Schumer posted the same photo to Twitter, too. A few hours after Schumer’s initial posting, Leive took to Twitter to post her…explanation? Apology? Let’s investigate:

On some level, I get Leive’s explanation here. The whole idea behind this plus size special edition is to promote body positivity as well as highlight some major plus size stars in the industry, so including Schumer’s 2015 cover story, assuming it really does promote body positivity like Leive asserts, is appropriate.

That said, the inclusion suggests a complete lack of awareness of the message they’re sending. Assuming many people simply glance at a cover and don’t delve deep into a magazine’s pages (as a writer who often has to respond to people who read little more than a headline and then opine, I know that this frequently happens), what they’ll likely see is a major women’s publication classifying a size 8 woman as plus size, which in turn sets a standard for how women see themselves and their place in the world of fashion. Without meaning to, they’ve effectively body-shamed everyone who’s a size 6 and above, or, to put it bluntly, anyone who’s not a professional model. In a world where women with Down syndrome are landing major beauty campaigns and handicapped women are fronting Beyonce‘s fashion campaigns, that, my friends, seems like a giant leap backward.

(Related: Barbie and Body Positivity Star in Target’s New #NoFOMO Swimwear Campaign)

All of this, of course, calls attention to the bigger issue of using “plus size” as a label in general. Not only has the role of plus size women and our understanding of the term changed dramatically over time, but many popular retailers, such as ModCloth, have made moves toward retiring plus size in general. As ModCloth founder Susan Gregg Koger said,

“I think there is still an outdated notion in the [fashion] industry that ‘plus’ should be separate because it’s less aspirational, or because that consumer is less fashion-forward, or less willing to spend on herself. But what we’re hearing and seeing from our community is that it is simply not true.”

Nothing about plus size in general should be thought of as separate or other, and while the fashion industry is clearly a long way away from reaching that understanding, it’s something that we need to remember as a society overall.

So where does this leave us? Clearly, while Glamour‘s intent was not to send a bad message to its readers, but then again, isn’t the road to hell paved with good intentions? This is hardly a place for cliches, but it certainly gives you something to think about. Either way, I think I’ll let Amy Schumer have the last word here. It seems only fair.

(Photo: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)