Plus What?

By Caroline Baker


I used to have a favourite online clothes website to scroll through, it’s rather expensive so I’ve been telling myself I’ll keep patrolling the website for when I find the one piece that steals my heart, and then I’ll treat myself to it. While scrolling tonight I realised it wasn’t the price that deterred me from ever purchasing any of their merchandise. It was the fact that they never use a model over the size of a small. It’s quite obvious that the models are as you would call a ‘Skinny Minnie’. Photo after photo of tiny waisted girls in beautiful clothes made me self-conscious, something that I’ve never really felt before, as I’m quite comfortable with who I am.

So I decided to write an email to them explaining that they never used a ‘plus sized model’ in their photo shoots. It was heart-felt and passionate, and in no way spiteful to the company, simply explaining that a range of models could be an effortless way to make all girls comfortable with who they are.

And then, as I was writing the email, I was unpleasantly struck by the word ‘plus size’.

What does this mean? Who does this encompass? As a healthy size twelve was I now considered a ‘plus size’? And then there were even more questions, such as who on earth gets to decide what is the right/normal/average/acceptable/standard/regular/typical/ordinary/characterised and standardised size that a women, or anyone should be?

I’ve never been one for stereotypes or labels, but it seems that however hard I try to ignore them, society has already decided what and who I shall be.

Well, no, I won’t stand for it. I am not a plus size. Plus what?
Plus the extra guts to stand up and tell companies they should display a range of sizes in their advertisements.
Plus the extra little confidence all females should have to wear whatever they want and not believe they’re not part of the ‘ideal’ weight size that society has told them they must be.
Plus the little extra fire within me to say it on behalf of all the girls out there who should be proud of who they are.

Caroline is the Vice President of the Swinburne Students’ Union and is actively involved with their women’s department. You can ‘like’ the SSU here. If you’re a student at Swinburne you should join your democratically elected student union.