Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The triumph of the 12s?
Last week I got a free copy of Elle Canada in the mail. I usually don't buy that magazine but the editorials were really pretty.
I came upon one that really caught my interest; the model was gorgeous but I knew something looked different. Her leg and thigh seemed to be bigger than usual but I thought it must have been the angle; as I flipped through the editorial I realized that I was looking at plus-sized model, Crystal Renn.
What was astounding to me was that the magazine didn't proclaim "Plus-sized model here!" in any of the headlines or captions, as is usually the case when fashion mags feature plus-sized models. It was integrated as a regular editorial without all the pompousness and the facade of being an equal opportunist.
Usually plus-sized models are only featured in major fashion magazines as part of a yearly "shape" issue or as a publicity stunt to show that they "care" about women who aren't stick-thin.
It made me realize that editorials with plus-sized models could work seamlessly side-by-side editorials of thin models. But is this success a triumph for us non-models who are size 12 and up?
I thought about my reaction to the photos; I realized that although Crystal Renn is larger than a typical model, she still has a "perfect" body (hour-glass shape, flat stomach, symmetrical, perfect proportions and luminous skin) whereas many women who are size 12 and up aren't so lucky.
But that's why Crystal Renn is a model, and us mortals are not. Even though she is plus-sized, women still envy her because she is beautiful and has an enviable figure. I didn't feel better about myself looking at Crystal Renn's gorgeous body. I don't see how having a plus-size model is better for the self-esteem of women. But then, women's fashion magazines aren't around to help with self-esteem or body issues; they are there to present beautiful clothes on beautiful women.
I believe that plus-sized models should be featured more in fashion magazines not to make women feel better but to show more variety; frankly, I love looking at a plus-sized model's body. They fill out the clothes so well! And there would be more models to choose from rather than the same ones (Kloss, Zimmerman, Sasha, Trentini, etc.) It would be great to see some new faces and different body types to keep the magazines fresh.
The New York Times ran a profile on Renn the other day which trumpeted "The Triumph of the Size 12s." Renn is probably the most prolific plus-sized model in the business.
While I would call Renn's spread in Elle Canada a triumph, I wouldn't call it a triumph for size 12s everywhere. Regular women will always be envious of models no matter what their size.