Recently, I read an article on People.com that referenced an interview with plus-size model Robin Lawley. What I was expecting to see before clicking on the link was a medium-set woman with bigger curves talking about being model. What I instead saw was a svelte woman with small curves. According to the article, in the U.S dress size “measuring system”, Robin Lawley is somehwere between a 12 and a 14. The average American woman today is somewhere between a 12 and a 16. The implication here is so obvious it’s sickening to me: according to U.S modeling agencies, average women are plus-size and toothpicks of women are the “depicted” average. Robin Lawley looks like a perfectly healthy, happy, slightly curvy woman to me, as are most American women. She is hardly plus-sized – she’s normal. The concept that American modeling agencies continue to press on the American populace, that most women are too thick and that looking starved is the way to go, is revolting and regressive.
Now, it’s no secret that an unfortunately high percentage of adults in the U.S. are obese (especially in Mississippi, for example). However, the ideal goal of Americans desiring to lose weight should not be fitting into a dress or outfit with a 20-inch waistine. American modeling agencies are still severely lacking in the area of promoting health and fitness over arbitrary size numbers. To be fair, there has been some progress, such as Dove’s “What Makes You Beautiful” campaign, but overall, the profession of modeling is still all about big boobs, curvy thighs, small waists, and visible ribs – a nearly impossible combination of traits for the average American woman.
Robyn Lawley is absolutely inspiring to me, because of her fearlessness and her devotion to changing the way America, and the world, looks at women. However, I also completely agree with her dislikes about the modeling industry: ““I hope I’m one of those people that if it doesn’t keep getting better, I will switch careers,” she says. “I can see myself really enjoying opening restaurants, doing cooking shows.” (People.com (personal interview)). The fact that she has a backup plan in case her modeling career goes awry shows to me that Lawley is one of the few models who has managed to not get entangled in the web of visual and emotinal deceit which the profession of modeling has undoubtedly created. So, in short, Robyn Lawley is a plus-size model who is not plus-size. She is a real woman with a real purpose in life.