Ever felt wholly under-represented in mainstream media? In magazines, on social media and (needless to say) in the fashion space? Ever lamented that while the plus size movement has been instrumental in galvanising the conversation around body positivity (hats off to y’all!), there is still no space for you, as a size 10, 12 or 14 woman?
We know what models are supposed to look like and we know what plus-size models are supposed to look like, yet the media tends to neglect the millions of women that fit within the gaping chasm that separates these two ends of the spectrum. Finally, a mid-size movement is beginning to take shape on social media, encouraging women between the sizes of 10-16 to share their style and celebrate their bodies.
Because ladies, it’s 2018. Representation has never been more critical—especially for women. It’s vital that women of colour are represented. That women with disabilities are represented. That women with an entire spectrum of skin conditions are represented. That every single person feels like they have someone that looks like, sounds like, or at least speaks to who they are and how they identify.
Which is why it’s so damn crucial for middle-size women (aka, a gigantic portion of the population) to be represented too. Here’s why the mid-size movement is so important:
It isn’t conditional
As important as the move away from ‘skinny’ has been over the past decade or so, many of the body types and ideals that replace it come with their own set of requirements. While #strongnotskinny encouraged women to step into their power in the gym, it still required them to be ‘strong’—which can sometimes lend itself to as many obsessive behaviours, body dysmorphic tendencies and anxieties around food as chasing the ‘skinny’ dream did. It sold the fitness dream; which—the avid conspiracy theorist in me notes—enabled a multi-billion dollar industry to flourish.
As empowering as it was to see plus-size models pop up on fashion retail sites, the body type that appeared was always the same; tall with hourglass curves and big (but not too big) boobs. Where are the shorter girls? The women with ‘apple’ body shapes? The women that are ‘too small’ to be plus size, but ‘too big’ to be ‘normal’ sized?
The mid-size movement includes these women, without attempting to change them. Isn’t that refreshing?
It’s affecting industry change
Fashion retailers the world over are beginning to sit up and take notice of all of the women who don’t fall into their ‘normal’ and ‘plus size’ categories. ASOS is now enabling us to view garments on multiple body types, while Missguided’s #MakeYourMark campaign showcased a diverse range of body shapes and sizes, and was completely un-retouched with the model’s stretch marks and cellulite on display.
It celebrates women just as they are
Instagram hashtags like #averagesize, #midsizestyle and #inbetweensizes are gaining momentum—as women are becoming more empowered to celebrate their bodies exactly as they are. No destructive retouching, no diets, no crazy exercise regime, no expensive weight-loss products. Just pure love and acceptance of the bodies we have been given.