I could be a plus-sized model!

According to the TV show America's Next Top Model, a size 8 is now "plus sized."

So much for that theory of vanity sizing, huh?

This is one of the most messed up things about our society's views on size and shape. Theoretically, we're fatter than ever. And our models are thinner.

Sarah Hartshorne, the contestant on ANTM, stands 5'10" and weighs in at 150 lbs, for a BMI of 21.5. Though she's quite a bit taller than me, she's roughly my size. This means that I'm a plus-sized model.

Um, hello.

What is a model? You can make model airplanes, or design a computer model to simulate things like global warming. These things are paradigms, the penultimate version of what we're supposed to be and do.
Yet if you look at TV, we can't be anything remotely resembling one of the models. The obvious solution is: get realistic models. You know, men and women that look like, um, us.

But that would make all of these multi-billion dollar corporations lose money. It's much more profitable to sell us an endless like of crap to make us feel just a little bit more like one of the models.

Here's what I don't get. Most of the women I talk to agree that models have very unrealistic body sizes and shapes. They would like to see more normal looking women showing off the clothes that they're going to be wearing. Which is all well and good, except for the small, tiny, itsy-bitsy detail that models are still as thin as ever.

I wish a designer would be willing to take a chance on designing for the any-woman so that she could feel like wonder-woman. All women deserve to feel beautiful. It's not a privilege or a payoff for starving yourself half to death. Here's the sick part: I was at 75% ideal body weight and people were asking me for weight loss tips. My heart was failing and people wanted to know how I did it.


Some part of me feels as if I should be grateful that ANTM has a plus-sized model.

Wait a minute, though. That's what they should be doing. If women come in all shapes and sizes, then shouldn't models? Why should I feel grateful? Especially when she's probably a token effort (like the obligatory minority or disabled contestant at a beauty pageant).

She's a beautiful girl, and I hope she wins. Not just because she's plus sized or would be sending a strong message to young girls (though that doesn't hurt). But also because she's a good model.

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Harpy said...

Remember the video for Robert Palmer's 'Simply Irresistible'? How it had all those models dressed identically in the spandex dresses, as either eye candy or a statement against plastic pop depending on your interpretation? That was 1988, and those models and Ms Hartshorne look to have pretty much the same build. I don't think they'd get much work these days, sadly.

mary said...

I learned long ago to look past sizes. What we have to do is take the poison out of the word *PLUS* and demand to see only their *PLUS* size models only real plus sizes. (plus can also mean a little bit more/*** a good thing)
In some magazines I'm sure there are even larger/real *PLUS* sized models but I honestly don't do searches.
I buy what I like and according to what fits. I have clothes in varying sizes depending on who made them, some size 16 or XL and ya know what I don't care. I even had the nerve to buy a friend an XXXL and she wasn't offended, just glad to be able to know it was ok to buy clothes that fit even if the label sounded insulting rather than simply a size. In fact she got over her fear of shopping for larger women clothes. (for some a secret fear but an unfair one)We should all be able to buy clothes without feeling restricted.
Wanna go shopping with me? ; )
For now though, try to keep their distorted views out of your head. You know that they are the lies. You know how messed up it is. Go with what you know. Be true to yourself./******* ALWAYS!

disordered girl said...

I wonder at what point in our culture she would have been considered just a regular model. Probably not that long ago... How did things get so extreme?!

Jeanne said...


Well said.

Harpy - Oh my!!! You're RIGHT! I remember those videos and Ms. Hartshorne looks just like those models.
And back then I thought those women were incredible thin and beautiful...

And to the designers of the world, clothes are meant to be worn by real women, not clothes hangers. Stop making pieces of art and make clothes!

thinking of you,

carrie said...


I don't actually remember that video. Then again, I never really watched TV much- my nose was usually shoved squarely in a book. But I agree that there wouldn't be a lot of work for them.


I agree with you. I have shirts that range from small to large, and some of the larges are smaller than the smalls. I don't get that.

One of my teacher friends has a girlfriend who is the epitome of the word 'curvy' and she is stunning. I'd love to see her on a magazine- not purely because of appearance but because her personality shines through.


A couple years ago I'd say she would have been considered 'standard' size for a model. Twisted.


I'd love to see normal women wearing normal clothes in the media. That would be so nice.


Katy said...

Why don't they call "regular" models "minus-sized?" That makes a whole hell of a lot more sense than calling this woman "plus-size." Arg.

carrie said...


That's brilliant. I love it!

Sarah said...

that's awesome, katy!

that girl is beautiful. She does remind me of the Robert Palmer girls.


Denise said...

Size 8??? You have GOT to be kidding! I was a 14-16 for many many years but now I'm a 6-8. The idea that 82 lbs smaller is STILL plus-sized is just insane!! Stupid fashion people should be arrested any time some young girl dies from anorexia. What they're doing is a crime. Morally at the very least.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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