As with all communities, the plus size industry has a very specific hierarchy. Size 10-12 women are at the top. Followed by hourglass and pear-shaped women of various sizes. Apple-shaped women over the size of 18 fall to the bottom. This opens the floodgates for preferred body types to declare their body positivity. The problem arises when the initial group this term was created to encourage and protect gets tossed to the side. A quick Instagram search of the term “body positivity” now results in images of hyper-fit women selling Flat Tummy Tea. This couldn’t be farther away from the initial message of loving your rolls and curves even though society tells you not to.
Designers have already latched on to the new definition and done the bare minimum . For example, In Agent Provocateur’s most recent press release, the brand announced they were showcasing women of various body types. Upon viewing the images, I discovered their misleading words did not match the images at all. In fact, each woman in the release had the exact same body type. The images are to be expected considering Provocateur’s largest size is an XL (and there is nothing extra about that XL, anyway). Why even make so much effort to use trigger words like “body positivity” and “inclusion” in the first place? Simply, because it sounds nice.
While the word fat will always be relative, it is important to be honest with oneself. As a brand, don’t hop onto a bandwagon when it’s obvious no research has been done. As a person, be aware of your privilege. Online, people will only question your dietary choices if you’re fat. Nobody cares that the size 2 celebrity is depressed and addicted to drugs. However, the moment she gains 15 pounds all hell breaks loose. It is extremely easy to be body positive if your body is the archetype of beauty. Leave the hashtag for people that aren’t used to seeing themselves in the media. Ladies size 10-12, use plus size privilege to advocate for more representation for women over a size 18. Anything less seems opportunistic.