Sammy Nickalls
October 28, 2015 11:55 am

There’s a lot of debate surrounding the term “plus-size.” There are some, like actress Melissa McCarthy, who hopes to get rid of the term entirely. “Women come in all sizes. Seventy percent of women in the United States are a size 14 or above, and that’s technically ‘plus-size,’ so you’re taking your biggest category of people and telling them, ‘You’re not really worthy,’” she told Refinery29 in August.

In fact, there has even been a social media movement, #DropThePlus, that aims to get rid of the term for good, looping in women of all sizes to just be “models.” Supporters of the movement believe that the term actually reinforces the “skinny is the norm” mentality. But recently, plus-sized model Tess Holliday has made her stance very clear: She supports the term “plus-size” and has recently taken to Twitter to express why there shouldn’t be any stigma surrounding the term.

“Find it interesting that Plus Size models don’t want to be called ‘plus size’ but don’t mind taking a check from a PLUS SIZE company,” she tweeted earlier this week.

“There are plenty of models that are visibly plus size & would happily be the face of a brand, or company,” she continued in another tweet. “No shame with being PLUS.”

With plus-sizes becoming more readily available in stores, and more plus-sized models hitting the runway, the movement has been slowly chipping away at unrealistic beauty standards — but is it also segregating women based on size? It’s a conversation that has been at the forefront this year in particular, with various models and celebrities speaking out on their opinion of the term.

Some are afraid that the term is just another way for the industry to be exclusive, like model Leah Kelley, who was told she had to either lose weight to be a straight-sized model or gain weight to be a plus-sized model. Others, like Pitch Perfect‘s Rebel Wilson, are standing up for plus-sized clothes by launching their own lines.

There’s even been a hashtag in response to #DropThePlus called #PlusIsEqual, which started last month after a mysterious Lane Bryant advertisement in Vogue last month. “Everyone deserves to see themselves being represented equally,” model Ashley Graham told Huffington Post about the movement. “#PlusIsEqual is showing that curvy women are accepted, they’re represented and being made a priority in the fashion industry. We definitely still have more progress to make, but campaigns like this and #IAmSizeSexy are raising awareness for body diversity and continuing these great conversations.”

However, others aren’t so sure. Take, for example, model Denise Bidot, who has mixed feelings about the word. “Plus-size, straight-size, in-betweenie — I don’t care regardless,” she told Cosmo earlier this year. “I’m just a woman. I’m a curvy woman, and hopefully some day they do end up cutting out the word plus-size. But, for right now it’s nice to just have a section for us.”

It’s easy to see where everyone in every stance on the issue is coming from. Although the plus-sized movement has certainly provided wins for those who want to take down unrealistic beauty standards, it’s important to constantly question terms like these and make sure they’re not causing the opposite of the intended effect. One thing’s for sure: It’s an incredibly essential conversation to be having, and we are so thankful to all the models and celebrities like Tess who are standing up and keeping the term “plus-size” at the forefront of the conversation.

(Image via Instagram.)

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