Yesterday’s New York Times finally (finally, because the subject of the article has been debated all over the Web for nearly a month now) gets to the "plus-sized" model debate with a profile of modeling megastar Crystal Renn. Renn, who is Ford Models' most successful and recognizable plus-sized model, has been making headlines since the release of her memoir Hungry back in October. The profile was occasioned by the release of V magazine’s size issue, which hit stands today and features Renn.
The article rehashes the usual bullet points: Crystal and her colleagues are not plus-sized; they are plus-sized for models . Still, is this a marker of some kind of progress? She is a size 12, after all, which might be plus on the runway, but it’s pretty darn normal in real life.
I believe that the size issue represents a positive challenge to the industry and image-makers. But I’d be lying to myself and DoubleX readers if I didn’t also voice my doubts. What does the pining for all-inclusiveness say about women's narcissism generally? It might seem more equitable for the fashion industry to be more inclusive, but it is also kind of warped for women-all women-to demand representation in a fashion magazine or any publication for that matter. Why does everybody have to be special?
Jezebel contributor Jenna Sauers (an acquaintance) recently had this to say on the matter:"Of course, the other side of the coin is that any time there's diversity in the types of women elevated and glorified by magazines, it's a good thing. Because using makeup, fashion and photography, magazines represent a fantasy - but all types of women deserve to see themselves reflected in that dream."
It’s tempting to tow this line. But I just don't believe in it.
In the discussion for expanding the industry standard of beauty from the standard mode-symmetrical features, 5'9" and 34-24-34-perhaps we need a reminder that no matter how unfair it is, beauty or charisma or whatever it is that gives a woman that something that snags the eye-well, not every gal’s got it.
I hope magazines continue to employ women who veer significantly from the standard ideal. But that’s different than claiming every woman has the right to see a reflection of herself in a fashion magazine. Because not every woman is appealing to look at.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Right to Run
If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.
Move Aside, Oxford Comma, the New Battle Is Over Single or Double Quotes
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Ben Bradlee’s Fascinating Relationship With JFK
The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here
I feel like a kid in some kind of store.
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.