Saturday, February 13, 2010

Two interpretations of one size fits all  

By: Amanda Cunningham - from the series of guest posts written by Dr. Baldwin's students at Michigan State University.

I recently stumbled across the article in V Magazine titled “One Size Fits All.” The premise of the article was to show a “regular” model, next to a plus size model in the same outfits. After reading and rereading, I’m having a hard time deciding if this is an article moving women’s body images in the right direction, or making us take one step back.

This is the photo from the front page of the spread:


Find the article here.

When I first looked at it, I thought, “Oh, this is great! We’re showing plus size models in a magazine spread! We’re moving forward!” Plus, they both look stunning in the outfits they’re rocking.

However, when I looked at it again, I worried that this type of comparison photograph might make women feel even more upset about their current size. Will a woman that looks like the model on the right be worried that that’s how much bigger she actually looks? What if she begins to point out her flaws with the right picture compared to the left? Or, will a woman that looks like the model on the left start to freak out that if she doesn’t change her habits, she may one day look like the woman on the right? But would that even be so bad?

The next thing that I wanted to pay attention to was the caption below this photograph. It reads:


I find that there are two interpretations for this, as well. The first, being Thank you V Magazine for showing me something that anybody could wear, and that looks good on every body. But the second being a much more brutal interpretation. The next time I read this phrase, I took it as “any woman of a larger size can still look good as long as they hide their figure behind bright colors, lots of print and tight clothing.” Wait…I thought women were supposed to embrace their curves! Not hide them behind ridiculous clothing!

Obviously, there are a lot of ways people can interpret anything…I just wonder if this article may actually be more damaging to a woman’s mind than helpful. I feel as if the messages the article is sending are almost subliminal, hinting at the thoughts that, oh wait, it still is more acceptable to be skinny, rather than, damn look how good that model on the right looks, even though she’s 10 sizes larger.

My ending thoughts would be, regardless of the ruthless interpretations above, props to you, woman on the right! And for the rest of the women out there, those curves are beautiful!

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12 comments: to “ Two interpretations of one size fits all

  • February 13, 2010 at 5:37 PM  

    hmmm...honestly when I first saw this advertisement, I had to do a double-take. I agree that the writer says that it could be more harmful than postive to a woman's mind. I understand that the intent of showing that curves are also beautiful was there, but when I looked at it, I thought instantly: Which model am I? And, Which model to I really want to look like? I think that this advertisement could make women yet again look at their bodies in a negative light.

  • February 15, 2010 at 12:59 AM  

    I loved this post, awesome!

  • February 15, 2010 at 12:48 PM  

    I see how this article could have a positive and negative effect on women. However, I think that it probably has more of a negative effect. I think that a plus size woman is less likely to think "oh good, there's models my size."...I think she's more likely to think "great, a model my size has finally made it into a magazine, but she's being compared to the "normal" model next to her." As much as people shouldn't compare themselves to others- it's hard not to. Especially in a case like this. Placing someone that is plus size, next to a regular skin and bones model is asking for comparison. I see both sides, but i definitely think this could do more harm than good.

  • February 15, 2010 at 5:28 PM  

    when i saw this, i putted my mind ore toward negative effect on women because if you look at a skinny model and plus size model, who do you want to be? For me, i would want to be a skinny model to tell you the truth.
    this is putting more pressure on women to look thin and beautiful.

  • February 15, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

    when I first scanned over the image; I thought that the two photographs were of the same woman, but it took a second look for me to realize that it was actually two different women and in that case I felt that the woman on the right modeling the "plus size" clothing should feel proud because I personally think she looks great.

  • February 15, 2010 at 11:47 PM  

    Wow! I was really enticed by this blog! I completely agree with how we need to move forward in the sense of beauty in the media. This picture really doesnt depict a plus size model though. I think that the one on the right (AKA the "plus size model") is actually the more beautiul one because she is more natural looking.

    I think it's sad that this advertisement makes ever larger women feel bad about the way they look. Not every beautiful women needs to be one of those two sizes. That idea is just extremely unrealistic. This article definately makes me think we're taking one step back if they are going to make us feel like the normal sized woman is TOO BIG!

  • February 15, 2010 at 11:50 PM  

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • February 16, 2010 at 10:11 AM  

    This is a very interesting post. I think the writer had every intention on making it feel like this dress is for any type of woman and even if your not a size 0 you can still wear it. However comparing the 2 pictures, I get a different interpretation of it. The girl on the right is suppose to represent a plus size girl, to me she looks pretty normal weight. The girl on the left looks like she's anorexic. I believe the woman on the right should be a bit bigger to be an example of a plus size woman. Sure she's bigger than the woman on the left but many woman out there today are even larger than her. This leads to the plus size women thinking thats what they need to look like. I think the picture and caption bring more harm to women.

  • February 16, 2010 at 10:42 AM  

    Is it only me who thinks that the woman on the right has a "normal" body, and the other one is too tiny?

  • February 18, 2010 at 11:00 AM  

    When seeing the picture, I too had to do a double take until I realized the models' different physiques. I understand where the blogger is coming from though. Plus size women may look at this and compare their bodies to the "normal" size model. It's great to see that a magazine such as V is going to incorporate plus size woman in their spreads. Hopefully this brings people to see that women are beautiful regardless to their shape and size.

    Great post.

  • February 22, 2010 at 12:16 AM  

    I definitely agree with the many posters who commented that the "plus size" model is the obviously healthier, more normal looking model. I think the label plus size is a little deceiving because the size of a plus size model is actually 10-12 which is the average size of an American female. So shouldn't the labels actually be "way too skinny woman" and 'normal sized woman"?

  • March 1, 2010 at 8:40 PM  

    This post really intrigued me. The "regular" sized model, as some have noted, seems to be extremely thin. I too had to do a double-take...but once i did, I noticed many difference. The woman on the right, being a normal average sized looking woman is seen as being "plus size" while the other near emaciated looking model is the "normal" one. I also looked as those pictures and thought hey that's nice that they're putting average sized women in V, but I'd like to know why it's a special article, why can't they put them in every magazine all of the time?