Here at Runway Riot, we use certain terminology when we refer to women—there’s no bashing, there’s no being made to feel like you’re an alien because of your size, and there’s an extreme goal to make sure that we’re hearing the voices of women, and creating conversations about body positivity and what it’s like to live and breathe being a curvy woman in all different kinds of situations and points in life.
So when I read this interview with veteran model Jennie Runk on Business Insider this morning, and saw some of the comments bashing her preference of labels and saying that her point of view is making it harder for curvy women to move forward I felt that I had to say something. Runk has made history and it’s important to note that she was the first curve model H&M featured in their campaign, back in 2013, which wasn’t presented as a big change for the brand, and aimed to blend in with all their other advertisements.
The controversy comes in when Runk says in the interview, “I have seen a tremendous shift in the industry, and a huge improvement where more and more different kinds of models and more and more different bodies are showcased in more venues. Like 10 years ago, a plus size model on the cover of a magazine would have been huge obviously, whereas now, it’s happening more and more frequently. Seeing plus size models in advertising and campaigns alongside straight size models where you have group shots with different bodies all different sizes–like that wasn’t happening you know 12 years ago. And when she was asked about her feelings on being labeled a certain way she replied, “I love the word and I love the label and I embrace it – I might be on the smaller end for a plus size woman, but I am definitely a plus size model,” she said.
And while you may not agree with how she prefers to be called, I think it’s important to realize that everyone likes to be called a certain term because of their own reality and feelings about themselves. If there is going to be a positive community of women, supporting each other, making it known that body shaming isn’t okay, creating change towards a body positive society, there’s just no room to let labels separate and distract women from an amazing movement.