We’ve come a long way in the fashion industry as far as size representation goes. Unfortunately, the norm is still a size zero, and it doesn’t deviate much from that. But at least they’re trying! And maybe still failing.
Gabourey Sidibe (who is known for her outstanding performance in Precious) was recently involved in a photoshoot for Harpers Bazaar and compared to the rest of the models, she looked extremely out of place. While other models wore sleek fall wear, Sidibe was dressed in black leggings, a black top, a red jacket and some kind of Persian rug that doubled as a head scarf.
The spread was meant to celebrate diverse beauty in terms of race, body size and age. Seemingly, the magazine encompassed all of that and although the layout was beautiful, they didn’t spend much time on Sidibe. In my opinion, it was lazy work. They didn’t take her seriously enough. As a serious actress, she deserved a serious outfit. What she is wearing is not polished; it’s clunky and jarring. Surely the fashion directors could have found something that complimented her body? Instead they draped her with a coat and scarf that covers her hair.
I feel like we’ve just made it through a hurdle involving plus-size models but haven’t addressed the topic of big women in the fashion industry yet. Often, if a big woman is photographed (think Rebel Wilson, Melissa McCarthy), either the photographer gives her a “funny” look, or simply focuses on her face instead of her body.
In this Elle issue, Sidibe is on the cover, but her body is not the spotlight.
Although Elle isn’t exactly shying away from Sidibe’s body type, they are clearly steering away from showcasing her body in its entirety.
Another example is Melissa McCarthy. She, too, is photographed up close.
Yes, some magazine covers feature smaller-sized celebrities up close on their covers, but it’s not as prevalent. Most magazine covers look like this:
It’s apparent that there are stark differences between petite and large celebrities in the way they are being treated and represented in fashion and pop culture. Although we’ve come a long way, we must do more than agree that big is beautiful, we have to show it. It can’t be an afterthought. It can’t be half-assed, and it surely shouldn’t be hidden or masked.
Gabifresh, a cool blog run by a young woman who was sick of the lack of fashion options for bigger women. Gabi focuses on innovative, beautiful, and fresh styles for women sizes 14 and up, and her blog has been featured in Glamour, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan and more. So many magazines unfortunately have little to no fashion ideas for bigger girls, and if they do, it’s a quarter page that offers clothing that hides their curves and seem slimming. Let’s not hide anymore. Let’s embrace and do fashion the right way.