Sometimes I feel like The Onion is the only one who understands me. One of their recent posts, “10 Photos of Plus-Size Models We Deserve A Pat On The Back For Running,” is too freaking spot-on.
If you spend an eighth as much time perusing entertainment news sites as I do, you’re familiar with those generic stock articles that get reworded and reposted on a weekly basis. Besides the fake stories about Jennifer Aniston‘s invented pregnancies, one of the most common sights is the “LOOK HOW PROGRESSIVE WE ARE FOR FEATURING A PLUS SIZE MODEL!” photo galleries. The Onion satirizes this trope brilliantly, saying,
You see, most models have a slender body type traditionally favored by mass media, but we– and only we– are willing to break boundaries and show off women who may not meet the conventional standards of beauty. We are heroes for doing this.
They also touch on the way plus size women of color are even more singled-out than white models:
This overweight model is not white, which is also a progressive thing, and The Onion is an incredibly perceptive publication for working that point into this slideshow as well.
Too good. Too good.
The thing is, while we’re glad to see bigger women occasionally cropping up in magazines and fashion blogs, you’re almost being counterproductive when you act like you deserve praise for doing the bare minimum. Most women agree that we need better representation of body diversity in the media, and we at The Gloss definitely believe that. But, uh, singling out one token plus size model to feature in an article all about how advanced you are for displaying her photo? That’s not diversifying. That’s just reminding us that the average woman’s body is considered “other.” It’s condescending to the beautiful women in the photos, and it’s condescending to your readers.
We’re calling for acceptance of a wider range of shapes, not for fashion sites to include one Token Fat Chick to ease their guilt. It’s just like The Onion says:
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. We are goddamn saints for recognizing that and making a slideshow about it.