There have been a number of sea changes in modeling, advertisements, and the way women and models are depicted in the media lately. Fashion shows have started to ban models with Body Mass Indexes that are under 18. Retailers like J. Crew are using regular people in photo shoots instead of models and even some stores that employ models have committed to no longer dramatically retouch photos. Even magazines are taking the pledge to stop airbrushing models. But, surprisingly enough, it’s lingerie companies that are being the most bold in the shift in how they depict women’s bodies, going from unattainable to ordinary-and-awesome.
First up: Forever Yours Lingerie, a company based in Vancouver, CA. The company offers intimates for women of all sizes: bras start at a B cup size and go up through K. And, while the company has always featured a models representative of their broad demographic, they recently stepped up to show support for one plus size model they adore, Elly Mayday, who is undergoing treatment for a rare form of ovarian cancer.
You wouldn’t know it from looking at her tall, lean figure, but 23-year-old Robyn Lawley is a plus-size model who has been deemed the “plus-size wonder from down under.”
At 6-foot-2-inches tall, Lawley is a size 12 and breaking stereotypes left and right with her curvy physique. Just this year, she became the first plus-size model to land a campaign with legendary clothing designer Ralph Lauren.
The model appeared on Good Morning America recently to discuss her growing success not only as a model, but also as a figure of health and beauty for women all over the world.
A size six is now being considered plus sized for models. As shocking as that may be to most of us, it may be more shocking when you consider that Christie Brinkley, Paulina Proizkova, and Cindy Crawford all wore a size six at the height of their super model careers in the 1990s, according to PLUS Model magazine’s January edition. It horrifies me to think that my younger cousins might look at Cindy Crawford and think she is plus sized!
The article in PLUS Model magazine also reports that half of today’s women wear a size 14 and above, but most retail stores carry only sizes 14 and smaller. In addition, while in the 1990s, “the average fashion model weighed eight percent less than the average woman. Today she weights 23 percent less” and “most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for anorexia,” according to PLUS Model magazine.
It is no surprise that Judy Scheel, Ph.D., executive director of Cedar Associates is concerned that society is encouraging young girls towards the development of eating disorders in response to this article, most commonly binge eating disorder or bulimia. As parents, we need to realize that no matter what we are modeling for our children, the media is also modeling an ideal body that is unattainable by the majority of the population and making it seem as appealing as possible.
For some, yoga conjures up an image of emaciated and scantily clad bendy people twisted up like Rold Gold pretzels. This can be a big turn off for those of ample form, but thankfully, several pioneers have paved the way for all sizes to feel comfortable joining a yoga class or practicing at home, so they too can gain the health benefits of yoga.
Megan Garcia, founder of MegaYoga is a plus-sized model based in New York City. She took her first yoga class as a college elective credit in 1991 and since then received her yoga teacher certification at the Kripalu center in Lenox, Massachusetts. In 2004, she teamed up with the plus-size clothing line Just My Size to create “Just My Size Yoga with Megan Garcia,” a best-selling yoga DVD for plus-sized beginners. In addition to the video, Megan wrote the book MegaYoga published by DK books in 2006.