It’s been just over a year since Australian model and body activist Stefania started her #DropThePlus movement that went viral around the world stripped down and posed nude with a pair of nude panties and the slogan #droptheplus written on her stomach. As a model who wears a a size 12, Stefania has had to deal a fair share of body shaming, so much so that it caused her to say something because she couldn’t keep quiet on the matter any longer.
According to the Herald Sun, in fashion, she is considered “abnormally big” (we know, how absurd to use those words,) and because she was so fed up with being pushed into a category that she felt like wasn’t true to who she was, women from all over the world responded with her movement to #droptheplus because living up to society’s idea of perfection basically sucks.
I am a model FULL STOP. Unfortunately in the modelling industry if you're above a US size 4 you are considered plus size, and so I'm often labelled a 'plus size' model. I do NOT find this empowering. A couple of days ago, @ajayrochester called the industry to task for its use of the term 'plus size' by making the point that it is 'harmful' to call a model 'plus' and damaging for the minds of young girls. I fully support Ajay and agree with her. Let's have models of ALL shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and drop the misleading labels. I'm NOT proud to be called 'plus', but I AM proud to be called a 'model', that is my profession! Visit droptheplus.org for full explanation of the dangers this label carries (especially on young impressionable girls). #droptheplus
It's been just over a year since I started the #DropThePlus movement. For those who don't know, #DropThePlus is about dropping the controversial "Plus Size" label from the fashion and modelling industry. Every model above a US size 4 is automatically labelled a Plus Size model even though the average clothing size for women in the US is between 12 and 14. Young women are strongly influenced by the fashion industry, and seeing models that may be their own size or even smaller, being labelled as Plus Size, is putting them in danger of believing their own bodies are bigger than they should be and not 'normal'. It's an extremely damaging and misleading label, helping lead women (and men) to an array of body image issues. We should have models of ALL sizes and shapes without segregating them and falsely labelling them. We are models FULL STOP. #DropThePlus went viral and articles discussing it have been published by nearly every major media outlet in the world with unanimous support. Since then, most model agencies have dropped their "Plus Size" category and have either renamed them as "Curve", or moved the curvier models into the main board without any segregation. This is a huge step forward in body acceptance and equality. Unfortunately we continue to see the dangerous "Plus Size" labelling in the media and stores…so there's still work to be done!
In the article Stefania says, “The fashion industry has been labeling everyone who doesn’t meet the idea of what a model is, a size two with an extremely slender and unachievable body type, everyone outside that, a plus. The plus-sized label is misleading; no one (average sized) should be labeled ‘plus size’, we don’t have minus sized—plus definitely implies abnormal, outside the norm.”
Stefania’s hashtag proves that social media may be the best avenue for change when it comes to making inclusivity part of the conversation in fashion. Her hashtag to this day has a powerful impact, supports healthy body image, and lends an ear to those young women influenced by an industry that is so small-minded in its values. “It’s about realizing there are a lot of misleading labels and we need to become more aware of that and try not to get sucked into it; to learn to be comfortable in our own skin,” Stefania added.
We can continue to talk about brands not embracing body diversity and tip-toe around the issues of body shaming, but in reality these harsh labels only perpetuate segregation and the discrimination of women—and there’s so much work that needs to be done.