In society, we’ve accepted skinny, collarbone-showing and seamlessly airbrushed skin as the “norm” for women in advertisements. We’ve become so used to this that we feel it’s almost taboo when we see a woman in an ad with curves or any sign of fat. In actuality, the typical American woman does NOT have the figures of the women in a typical fashion magazine. I also do not know any woman that sees the bodies of these models and is confident about her own. We can’t help it–we instantly compare ourselves, we’ve done it since we were little girls.
When I saw the now-viral Cosmo swimwear ad featuring “plus-size” model (their words, not mine), Robin Lawley, I was horrified—not at her amazing body, but at Cosmo’s description of her as being “plus-sized.” It’s not their fault really, it’s what the fashion industry has come up with as the “norm” for any model wearing average sized clothing—and by average I mean a size 8, whereas the “average” size of an American woman right now is 12-16.
What is amazing is how the story went viral—it’s a sure sign our perception from what “normal” should be is changing. Thousands of people on social media seem to be passionate about it, asking Cosmo to apologize for labeling the model as “plus-sized.” Society is practically begging for a change of the fashion industry’s perception of what “plus-sized” really is.
Every few decades, we see a shift of consciousness of what our idea of beauty is, and I think we are experiencing one of those shifts right now. The advertising industry needs to understand that we aren’t in the same frame of mind anymore of what women should look like, and it’s time they update their way of thinking. With just one look at Robin Lawley, wouldn’t you agree?
~ Valarie Brummert, Production Artist, The S3 Agency