Plus-size is normal size

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The media and fashion world have been primary instigators in the misconception that skinnier is better. Although tags on clothing simply show a numerical size, today there is far more meaning attached to this little number. Priscilla Valdez '15

Low self-esteem is becoming an increasingly prevalent obstacle among women. The source of the problem lies in the media. H&M’s recent catalog released to the Swedish market is a prime example of why a woman is more preoccupied with the number on the scale, and the supposedly imperfect body in the mirror.

Although the fashion industry says that plus-size clothing starts at size 14, according to weightwatchers.com, 14 is the average  size worn by American women. How are women supposed to feel confident in their bodies when being average falsely implies that they are overweight?

Courtesy of Helen Ziminsky ’14

H&M’s latest Swedish catalog features a plus-size clothing section with models that are anything but the advertised dimensions. Customers reacted furiously to the use of supposed plus-size model Sabina Karlsson, who wears a mere size 10, calling the situation “insulting” and “revolting” on Twitter.

To make matters worse, this offense was not H&M’s first. Their 2013 swimwear collection featured plus-size model Jennie Runk who wears a size 12. While her size is larger than that of H&M’s regular models, Jennie’s body is the more realistic female representation.

It is no surprise that girls today carry the misconception that women all wear size 4, when mannequins and models do little to prove otherwise. The term plus-size itself feeds further into the delusion of what a woman’s body should look like. 

While H&M tries frantically to diffuse the situation, it has ultimately left us questioning the plus-size tag and its impact on consumers. As long as women see common sizes labeled as larger than average, insecurities and body-image issues will continue to grow. Hopefully this rising issue will force the fashion industry to face reality and meet their customer’s diverse needs, without implanting false concepts.

 -Priscilla Valdez, Staff Writer