The New “Plus Size”?

Yesterday, this article appeared in the Daily Mail, and I’ve been fuming ever since.  I applaud Katya Zharkova for posing for these photos, but the idea that this curvy, not overweight, not even that curvy of a woman is supposed to make me think “plus size” is just freaking ridiculous.  Add to that that she’s a size 12, which in the U.K., where the article was written, is more like an 8 or 10 in the United States, and I just want to scream.

Funnily enough, since I lost my excess weight with Weight Watchers (and of course, Bikram), that’s about my size.  (I’m ignoring for purposes of this blog the pounds over my goal that I am currently carrying – the point is that I’m a size 8 or 10, for pants and skirts at least.  I’m unusually busty, so wear a larger size “up top”.   Oops, that may be TMI.  Too bad.)  And I’m no longer plus sized.  I’m at a normal, healthy weight for a woman my height – 5’9”- and age – none of your business.  So here’s Katya, and here I am, at my current weight:

Read the text on the photo, and try to suppress the urge to scream

This photo was taken last fall, at my current weight

You know what? I think we both look pretty great.  Yes, we both have some “rolls”, though in her case, it clearly has a lot to do with the pose.  Yes, neither of us are “thin”.  But what’s wrong with that?  I have no weight-related health issues, and I would bet Katya does not either.  I work hard to maintain a healthy body, and I would bet Katya does too.

But if you call this “plus sized”, rather than “normal”, a standard is being set that is impossible for most women.   Any smaller than my goal weight (which I will be back at soon), and my doctor yells at me just as much as she did when I weighed much, much more.  It’s not only an issue of appropriate self-esteem, which we are discouraging in young (well, all) women by displaying these impossible standards, it’s an issue of health.  No, you cannot be obese and be healthy, but you cannot be too thin and be healthy either.

You’ve probably heard all this before, and better said.  But as someone who was truly plus sized almost all my life, I wanted you to hear it from me.  One of the reasons I did not lose the weight until a few years ago (besides the constant action of hand to mouth) was that I was sabotaging myself before I began, based on the images of the “ideal” with which we are bombarded from childhood.  I got over it – but I still avoid fashion magazines.

Oh, and in case you were wondering – even at my heaviest, there were men who wanted to date me, even (gasp) be intimate with me.  So, ladies, be healthy, be strong, be confident, and you’ll be beautiful.   You are beautiful.  Society just doesn’t know it yet.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nubian
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 00:00:36

    I read the same article. I am so tired of the labeling. You look great, good for you. My friend and I have started the raw food diet, taking it slow, one day at a time and we are doing well. Baby steps rights?

    Reply

  2. Paula Braun
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 10:40:45

    Thanks for posting. This is the first time I noticed the caption on the picture. “The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and…” What?!?! A size 6? Are you kidding me?

    Reply

  3. todays date
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 10:27:29

    i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.

    Reply

  4. Maryanne
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 22:18:11

    I feel like you misunderstood the purpose of the article… they are entirely aware that calling her size “plus size” is ridiculous. Also, I did some research and for the articles they put what her size in the US would be, so her US size is 12, bigger than you. There is a lot of negativity surrounding this article and the pictures and I feel that you are unfairly judging it, the whole point of it was to bring to light how messed up our sizing system is and that what is considered “plus size” is ridiculous, because most women would then be considered plus size. Perhaps pay closer attention to the article or do some research before writing…

    Reply

    • travelswithslippers
      Feb 04, 2012 @ 22:47:17

      Maryanne, perhaps you should not assume that I did not pay close attention, and rather assume that I am expressing my opinion in my way. Feel free to read and interpret as you choose to, and I will do the same, but I, unlike you, will do it without being negative toward your choices.

      Reply

  5. Trackback: I Love The Song, But… | Travels With Slippers, or The Life of A Single Woman Who Prefers It That Way

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