News__ Runway vs. Plus-Size Models

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What does a runway model look like next to a plus size model?

Every time we flip open a magazine, or turn on the television or wait for a bus, we are presented with images of impossibly thin women. Photoshopped women, gleaming with so-called perfection, a standard we are all supposed to want but will never achieve without some form of extremely unhealthy behavior. This isn't anything new. We are all aware of it, yet all of us still feel like we have "fat days" which proof these messages and images have secured a nice, cozy spot in the back of our brains. It sucks.

But in the last few years, the return of the "plus size model"--arguable because a size 6, which is below average for the American woman, is considered plus-size in the fashion industry--has changed the fashion world. The pioneer beauty is Crystal Renn, who has had the same, if not more, success as her thinner counterparts and sends a new message while being photographed.

In the January issue of PLUS Model Magazine, plus-size model Katya Zharkova (who you may recognize from ANTM) is shot nearly naked in heels and pearls, alongside modelling facts and figures. Half way through the photos, Zharkova is suddenly hugging a small female human, naked too. Plus-size model vs. runway average. It's a weird combination. By introducing us to Zharkova first as the body standard, and having her face prominent, the other model becomes the freak, not the larger girl.

Interesting shoot. What did you all think?

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12 Responses to “Runway vs. Plus-Size Models”

  1. Sasha says:

    Interesting shoot. Can’t really tell how I feel about it…

    The weird/sad thing is, seeing as the skinny model has become the standard, my mind goes to “Holy hell, that woman is Amazonian” before “Holy hell, that woman is painfully tiny.”

  2. Dana Dana says:

    Yo Amazonian is hot, Brazilian women are the most beautiful in the world!

  3. Hana May Hana May says:

    As long as your healthy, you look like a hottie. I’m really good at this whole rhyming slogan thing right now.

  4. Jess Bloom Jess Bloom says:

    ok but the embracing is weird, right?

  5. Hana May Hana May says:

    The hugging is a little weird.

  6. Sasha says:

    “Yeah, I can’t eat for three weeks. I’m up for this job to play the ultra skinny counterpart to a plus-sized model…”

  7. Mel Zee Mel Zee says:

    what’s weird is that we all know that ultra-ultra thin girls aren’t very attractive. they look unhealthy and often hate themselves more than “bigger” girls do. so WHY are magazines and designers still employing them? i know they have new BMI rules and stuff, but they don’t seem to be doing any good. i can’t believe this is even still shocking to see. it’s a super bummer.

  8. Mish mish says:

    No kidding! I mean, I get what they are trying to do here but what the shoot should be is a whole slew of naked chicks with all different sizes instead of paralyzing two so-called “extremes”. But… we live in a culture that is obsessed with binary oppositions. skinny doesn’t exist without fat, gay doesn’t exist without straight, black doesn’t exist without white.. etc. etc. We rely on this formula to create messages.

  9. Mish mish says:

    I do love the pose in the first photo though. I wish I could bend like that.

  10. Alexi says:

    Ok 50% of women wear a size 14+ and 63.1% Of Americans are overweight. I’m all for loving all body types but I still wonder.

  11. helena says:

    I loved this idea and i agree that its extreme. But one of the main problems i think is basically unsolveable no matter how many depictions of different sizes we see. The reason why very skinny women have been used (and continue to be used) more often than normal women is because clothes themselves look better on a thin frame. The clothes decide what the shape is instead of the woman’s body. It has a lot to do with the obsession with youth. But its also simply that if there’s no shape on someone to begin with, the designer creates the silhouette. And that makes it more fun for the designer. (Also skinny faces look good in pictures) I get kind of annoyed when designers specify they’ve made sizes of their clothing all the way up to 14 or 16 or whatever because that doesn’t mean the clothes were made FOR average sized women. Yes there are styles that are for curvy women but not the majority. Hopefully there will be more in the future.

  12. Kirsten says:

    What is most annoying about this whole debate is the neglect of mention of these women’s heights. I’m 5’10 and am 30 years old. I currently weigh 147 and do not work out. I eat what I want and sit on my ass all day. I am a healthy size six. I feel fat because I have a 35″ inseam and can grab rolls of fat on my tummy. At my thinnest, I was 124 and Watson my feet all day living off of McDonald’s. I think everyone needs to chill out. Women in the fashion industry a always going to be different. A 5’10 inch size 6,8,10, or 12 is going to look different than women who a much shorter. The whole point of fashion models is for them to be hangers for the clothes that they wear.
    If you’re short and fat-get over it. When I reached my heaviest I felt huge-bigger than most men (keep in mind the average man in 5’8).

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