Should “Plus” Be Dropped From Plus-Size?

·News Editor

The cultural lexicon is filled with contentious descriptors. Facebook already has 58 gender options, disabled and African American carry all kinds of negative connotations. and LGBT doesn’t come close to encompassing every aspect of sexuality. And next up on the controversial terminology chopping block is plus size

Technically, plus size is considered size 14 and up. That might be the retail industry definition, but it’s taken on an entirely different meaning outside of just clothing. Instead, plus size is how people are described if their body is above a sample size, anything bigger than a 0, 2, 4, or 6. Looking at a size 8, the fact that “plus” is put in front of her size is rather shocking. Ajay Rochester, the former host of Australia’s Biggest Loser, noted this and started the hashtag #droptheplus. “Any idea the kind of damage you (the media/fashion industry) do to the minds of young girls by even using those words?” she asked on Instagram alongside an image of a model that was called plus despite her flat stomach. 

Rochester isn’t the only one to call for a language change. When Myla Dablesio’s Calvin Klein campaign was released and an Elle.com article called the 27-year-old plus size, the Internet erupted voicing disappointment and confusion. Robyn Lawley appeared in Sports Illustrated as the first plus size model to grace its pages but the model’s fit and toned stomach didn’t really match with the denomination. Ashley Graham, too, while bigger than Dablesio and Lawley, is still just the same as the average woman at a size 14. 

Isn’t it interesting that someone’s considered plus even though they’re average? Or less than average? It doesn’t seem particularly accurate to lump anyone that doesn’t fit into an outdated archetype a word with such dissenting implications. 

It’s mass recognition of a passé practice that will hopefully incite revolutionary revisions in how we talk about women’s bodies. Hashtag campaigns have been particularly effective in bringing conversations to the forefront. #Bringbackourgirls, #blacklivesmatter, and the ALS ice bucket challenge all reduced international issues to personal levels. Even #nomakeupselfie, #yesallwomen, and #nofilter have helped  to advance larger perceptions of how women are discussed in the media. 

It’s “I am woman hear me roar” remade for the 21st century. 

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