Since When Did Healthy, Fit and Average Become Plus Size?

“Dear Cosmo, kindly take your ideas of “plus size” and shove them up your ass, sideways. Sincerely, every man on the planet who has had to reassure his perfectly healthy and proportioned woman she’s not fat because assholes like you perpetuate this idea in her head that she’s a “plus-size”

Poor Robin Lawley. A beautiful, fit woman tries to make a point and stick it to fat-shamers by baring herself, sans-makeup, in a bikini, and has become the center of criticism and backlash.

The problem isn’t cattiness or jealousy towards her. The problem? Robin Lawley is considered to be a plus-size model…and she is NOT a plus size woman. And everyone – men and women, plus-size and those who wear single-digits, models and the rest of us – are pissed off.

Pictures are all over Facebook of Robin in her bikinis. If you haven’t seen them yet, take a look below.

Who wouldn't want to look like this?

Who wouldn’t want to look like this?

As you can see – and echoing back to what I said above – Robin Lawley is NOT a plus-size woman. Granted, I can’t accurately conclude her size, weight or health just by looking at her, but the only thing that appears to be “plus sized” about her is her height (but wait, aren’t all models supposed to be tall?). What I can conclude is she appears athletic and fit – and pretty smokin hot.

Me and my girls, rockin our bikinis

Me and my girls, rockin our bikinis

To try to make a real-life comparison, this is me in a bikini (with two of my beautiful girlfriends, both around the 5’3” mark). I’m 5’8”, have a broad, athletic build, wear a size 4 on the average and weigh about 145 pounds – in the most basic sense, I’m what I’d say is average or normal-sized. Now, my vision of myself may be skewed, but I’d say I look pretty close to the same size as this “plus size” woman. And I’m not one to get hung up on numbers but since when is a size 4 a plus size? You can see why people are outraged by the modeling industry calling this woman a plus size.

I hate to get on a rant of “society is giving women a skewed idea of body image”…but seriously, this is why so many women have fucked up ideas of normal, healthy bodies and, in turn, body image issues. It’s not that being plus sized isn’t a bad thing – a person can be “overweight” by BMI standards and still be healthy; everyone has cellulite and a tummy roll when they sit down, and that doesn’t mean they’re out of shape. The problem is that referring to Robin Lawley as plus size then sends a dangerous message of what’s normal or average size. Showcasing a woman who looks to be a normal size, healthy weight and fit as plus sized, tells us that a size 00 or extra-small is normal or average. And it’s not. It’s also an insult to actual plus-size models – basically a slap in their beautiful faces, bodies and curves.

Something like this really pisses me off, personally, because it’s another hit against my personal philosophy that women should lift weights and be strong, without fear of being seen as “too big” or “gross”. (I blogged about this a few months back.) Robin Lawley appears to have nice, strong legs and abs. But in the modeling industry – and the “real world” – this makes her a plus size. That’s bullshit.

But, ladies, you know who this really sucks for? The men in our lives. They become exhausted trying to convince us we’re beautiful, normal and healthy when we’re comparing ourselves to a woman like this. The quote at the beginning of this entry is from a man who posted it on Cosmo’s Facebook page. And it’s true. Something like this can have even the most confident, healthy woman questioning how she looks or have a million little insecurities pop up – myself included.

I was explaining this to Chris recently, when all this was really stirring around the internet. I made him look at Robin’s photo, and his reaction was the same as mine: “That woman is NOT plus sized.” But I couldn’t leave it at that. I kept asking him if I looked okay, if he thought of me as average size, if my muscular arms and strong, tree-trunk legs were unattractive to him. Like I needed him to reassure me that I look okay in my bathing suit. That I’m on par with a beautiful, fit model. That I’m an acceptable size.

After he reassured me about a million times, he went on to ask, “You don’t really compare yourself to other women or worry about how you look though, right?” I hesitated – me, normally confident, proud of my muscles and not one to care about my stomach rolls – but couldn’t lie to him. “Yeah, sometimes I do.”

All we can do, myself included, is try to be rational. Keep our heads on straight, and not get sucked into the negativity and bullshit. Remember – someone who wears a size 12 can be in better shape than someone who wears a size 2. A skinny person can be unhealthy and at risk for heart disease whereas someone with curves might be very healthy and have a strong heart. Size doesn’t define us and a scale doesn’t determine our self-worth. Easier said than done, I know.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you feel society perpetuates an unrealistic idea of normal and healthy, or is this sort of incident the exception, and no longer the rule? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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One Response to Since When Did Healthy, Fit and Average Become Plus Size?

  1. You go girl! You hit the nail on the head!

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