This is an opinion piece about V Magazine's upcoming "size issue," written by PR Director Patricia Kim. We discussed one spread in the issue, "One Size Fits All," in a previous post. While this article represents only one view on the topic, please feel free to include your own perspective in the comments below.
It has taken me about a decade to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing wrong with not being a size 0 or 2. For years I had been ashamed of my curvier features and more athletic build—yet if there is one thing that I have learned in college, it’s that living a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating right (shocker, I know) will translate aesthetically and physically, whether you are a size 4 or a size 10. So when I heard through the grapevine that V Magazine with photographer Solve Sundsbo would be celebrating 2010 as the year of curves in fashion, I was ecstatic—until I found the link.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as I was scrolling down—scantily clad, half-naked, “plus size” women working what their mommas gave them. Needless to say, I was shocked that a) fashion has chosen to shine their spotlight on someone that is not a size 0 and b) that this is fashion’s idea of “curvy”.
Although I find these women absolutely gorgeous, I find it incredulous that for most of the high-fashion world (perhaps with the exotic exception of Lara Stone) accentuating curves is directly tied to larger sizes. In short, just as my definition of thin in no way means underweight, the definition and standard of curvy should not mean overweight. As much as I love high fashion, there seems to be this obsession with extremes, which is exhilarating and liberating when it comes to clothes, yet disheartening and confusing when it comes to body image and weight conscientiousness.
Over the years we have criticized the concept of waif-like bodies, arguing the health risks that come with being too skinny as well as the consequences that come with trying to be too skinny (anorexia and bulimia). For example, a young woman that is 5’9 and 105 pounds with a BMI of 15.5, is considered very unhealthy and underweight. However, is someone that is 5’9 and 170 pounds with a BMI of 25.1 any healthier? In the same vain, is V Magazine now saying that it is perfectly acceptable to put yourself at risk for diabetes and heart disease? I may be over-exaggerating.
This is not a question of whether or not people with varying weights are beautiful, for it is absolutely true when they say that beauty comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Personally, I find the models of V Magazine’s January issue fierce and breathtaking. However, there is nothing positive or accurate about the message they are sending, for it is not healthy to be overweight, as there is a difference between the notions of overweight and curvy.
Then again, this is the fashion world—daring and unpredictable.
Pop singer Lady Gaga accepting her award for Best New Artist at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Image courtesy of MTV.
Just as I would never wear a see-through red lace dress with a matching facemask, I would never take health advice from high fashion.
Public Relations Director