Today, I've been reading about Jennie Runk. She is the incredibly beautiful plus size model who was evidently featured in H&M's new beachwear campaign, which I have not seen (and am not sure where to see). There are pictures of her in swimwear in this article she wrote and in this article about her, but the only pictures of her that I can find on the U.S. site for H & M are in the specifically plus size section.
(Picture taken from H&M's website at http://www.hm.com/us/subdepartment/LADIES?Nr=4294956943#Nr=4294928449 - note its very extensive plus size styles - what?!)
She is nowhere to be found on the U.S. site's swimwear pages. But I digress. I like her. A lot. She writes about her awkward adolescence, and then says:
Having finally survived it, I feel compelled to show girls who are going through the same thing that it's acceptable to be different. You will grow out of this awkwardness fabulously. Just focus on being the best possible version of yourself and quit worrying about your thighs, there's nothing wrong with them.
Amen. If only I could reach out to adolescent me and tell me just how NOT FAT I was. We all had our pre-teen and teenage awkwardness (for goodness' sake, I had a perm and bangs that were often poufed up as far as I could get them with a curling iron!). But really, I look at the pictures now and I think "I was so cute! And I thought I was so ugly!" And it makes me sad. Actually, this really isn't what she's talking about. But it's the truth.
She also writes:
There's no need to glamorise one body type and slam another. We need to stop this absurd hatred towards bodies for being different sizes. It doesn't help anyone and it's getting old.
I think this is wonderful. I don't spend much time criticizing people for being overweight (after all, the last time I was below a size 12, I was a teenager and everyone else seemed to be a size 6). I do criticize skinny people, though ("She should eat a cheeseburger!" and the like), and maybe that should stop. Sure, I worry about thin people having eating disorders. I also worry about the health risks associated with being overweight. But this isn't about health. It's about acceptance of other people.
Jennie, you are a good role model, as well as being a fabulous model.
There are other questions these articles by and about Jennie leave me with, though. One is, where does "plus size" officially start? I know the fashion industry thinks a model who is a size 10 or above is a plus size model, but to the rest of us, size 10 is generally not thought of as a plus size. Then there are the stores. When I try to get petite sizes, some brands come in sizes up to 14P. Others go up to 16P. To get bigger than that in a petite size, I need to shop online, and usually not at the same stores but at stores that cater specifically to plus sizes.
When we're not talking about plus petite sizes, though, there are stores that go up to size 20 (and/or size XXL) before getting into the plus size department. And the plus sizes may start with 12W or 14W, but heck, I wasn't introduced to the world of "plus sizes" until I became size 18W. And what's up with that W, anyway? I imagine it must stand for "Women" or "Woman," but I confess that I can't help always reading it in my mind as "Wide." I don't know why. I just do.
So, what IS plus size? What ISN'T plus size? Can I truly define myself as plus size if I wear a size 18P on the bottom and XXL on top? I can, and I do, but I wonder what others think about all this. Is anyone over a 12 plus size? Over a 14? 16? 18?
Of course, it doesn't really matter what we think, it's all about how the fashion brands and stores want to organize themselves. There are no real dividing lines except the ones they set up for us.
Meanwhile, there's the Plus Petite woman. Where does she fit in? None of us look like Ms. Runk. She is what the average model is to the regular Petite woman - the ideal presented to us by the fashion industry. I'm not saying I couldn't have rocked a swimsuit when I was her size (only much shorter). I'm saying that I am shaped differently - narrower shoulders, shorter torso and shorter arms and legs - and that so far, I feel that women in this category are largely ignored as far as fashion goes. Are we really such a small minority? Maybe we are? Or maybe we're just extremely hard to fit?
What do you think?
I don't know the answers. I just hope I can help a little bit in my own way, both by blogging and by selling things in my eBay store that I think will make us look and feel pretty.