I’m loving the curvy movement that is happening in the media today. From the #PlusIsEqual campaign with Lane Bryant, Ashley Graham on the cover of Sports Illustrated and magazine’s such as Glamour dedicating entire issues to the curvy girls. However, I’ve noticed that the terms Plus Size and Curvy seem to convey completely different connotations within the community.
When I first starting writing for This Curvy Girls Life, I asked my friends, “What does curvy mean to you?” The answers ran the gambit from curvaceous, voluptuous, hour-glass shaped, to “when your stomach don’t stick out past your breasts.” Yes, I really got that answer from one of my friends and no, I won’t tell any names.
With This Curvy Girls Life, my goal was to talk to all women as we all have curves. From the roundness of our breasts, to the curve of our hips, we all have curves. So, this blog wasn’t just to target plus size women but all women. However, as you can see I’m a plus size women myself and of course when I take outfit pictures for posts it represents full-figured women everywhere. Over the last few months, there has been this nagging in the back of my mind in regards to the term plus size.
I’ve never had a personal issue with the term plus size, but when I spoke with women about it, it became very clear that it’s something that needs to be addressed as many women feel hurt by the term and others feel that curvy doesn’t represent those that are not considered “shapely”.
So, I started thinking, where did the term plus size come from? I couldn’t find the exact origin or why this term became the go-to? I remember being younger and the larger sizes was either called the “Women’s” or Full Figured” section. Now, we see plus size everywhere but it’s rubbing a lot of women the wrong way.
I asked my one of my closest friends what she thought of the term “plus size”, her reply was “I don’t like that term. What does it mean? Plus what? It makes me feel fat and asking for the “plus size” section in a store makes you feel bad so you just wonder the store until you come across the section so you don’t have to feel ashamed.” Digging deeper into the issue and asking other friends, I found that there was a split, some girls didn’t mind being called plus size and other girls simply disliked the term.
Who decided that the term “plus” should be used for women over a size 12? Why can’t we just use the numbers such as size 8, size 10, or size 22? Yes there is petite, tall and short for women’s sizes as well, but I’m a size 22 and I already know that I’m larger than other sizes, so why indicate that on my clothing or in the section that I shop in. I personally like Old Navy stores, because if you’re looking for a blue shirt in a size 18, guess where you can find it? In the women’s section with all the other sizes, I’m not singled out as different or larger in this case.
I asked another friend her thoughts on the issue and she stated, “The term Plus size should be gone away with because plus means extra and we don’t need to announce that we have extra. I don’t mind the word curvy, it’s okay to have curves, it just means your shapely. However, the way society sees “curvy”, is not a “plus size” girl. It’s the J Lo’s and Nikki Minaj’s that are considered curvy. I work in the media and modeling industry and if you’re over a size 8 then you are considered plus size and for acting this is the chunky girl.”
I know that this is not how all women feel. I have friends that are “Plus Size” models and have truly embraced the term. For them, it’s about reclaiming the label and turning it around to embody confidence and self-love. Such as all the ladies that joined in the #PlusIsEqual campaign from Lane Bryant. Women all over the world joined in by taking pictures and posting them on Social Media showing that Plus is beautiful. Seeing these curvy women on billboards was so empowering and may have given confidence to someone who was ashamed.
But it’s not about the #DropThePlus or the #PlusIsEqual campaign, because these showcased beautiful curvy, full-figured women. It’s about how the terms plus size and curvy make women feel about themselves. It’s the label attached to the word and all the feeling and emotions associated with being called plus or curvy. I believe that neither term defines a woman and neither does their body. What defines a woman is how she feels about herself within, which will show on the outside.
The terms plus size and curvy are just labels used in society as a description and as women we have to know that these labels are not who we are. Our “being” and “self-confidence” is what matters in terms of our size and our clothing. We are not what we wear, when we have the self-confidence, you don’t see size. You see character and personality that makes the person stand out.
It’s important to let the younger generation know that it’s not the labels that society puts on you that defines who you are because as a young woman there are lots of issues from education, family, boys, college, etc… so these labels should not be a factor in their lives. The plus size and curvy community are examples of beautiful woman who are creating everything from fashion designs, blogs, videos and are becoming more and more popular on social media and in main stream media. This is showing young girls that no matter your size, you will always have endless possibilities to showcase your talents and skills.
Although these terms have some of the plus size community split, we can all agree that it’s not about the terms used to describe us, but how we carry ourselves and the confidence that we hold. There will always be some type of label used to describe women, but when you know yourself, you realize that these labels are nothing more than words, and that your size no matter what number that is, is beautiful. So, don’t fall into the trap of being defined by someone else’s terms, create your own.
What are your thoughts? Do you like the term plus size? Do you prefer curvy?
Your Curvy Girl,