A new photo project is challenging what it means to be “plus-sized”
This year we’ve been doing a lot of celebrating of the rise of the plus-size model, and just beautiful and awesome plus-size ladies in general. Those of us who have been waving our pom-poms have been led to believe that we are cheering for straight-up inclusivity. As it turns out, the concept of “plus-size” in the modeling world is a lot more complicated than most of us realize.
Renowned New York-based photographer Victoria Janashvili recently explained to Mic that while it’s awesome times a million that plus-sized models have been getting lots of love, the movement has an unintended consequence: models between sizes 2 and 14 are getting completely shut out.
“I can tell you from personal experience, from a casting two weeks ago, I was shocked that there were no girls that would fit the size 6 look,” Janashvili added.
In order to understand why there’s such a huge gap in the middle when it comes to modeling sizes, you need to understand how the modeling world works:
“The straight-size board [at agencies] is usually sizes 0 to maybe 4, and the plus size is 10 to 16. And it’s been marketed this way for a really long time,” Janashvili explained. Gigs for models in the middle (4-10) are few and far between, so agencies just aren’t really considering “inbetweenies,” women that fall between “straight” and “plus” sizes.”
Janashvili isn’t cool with the current scene that excludes so many women, which is why she’s currently Kickstarting an art photography book Curves, which will celebrate women of all sizes, “straight,” “plus size,” and “in-betweenies.”
“Even though the average American woman is a size 14, our society continues to set stereotypes as standards when it relates to the real body image of women,” Janashvili said in a statement on Kickstarter. “This is why I spent years of my time taking pictures of different types of models and took part of numerous ‘body image awareness’ campaigns that went viral, and caused lots of discussions. Through my book, I would like to continue to spread the mission and break social stereotypes, so we can take a stand on women feeling confident within their own skin.”
The book, four years in the making, is a result of multiple shoots with 80 women that represent a wide spectrum of shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ages. As of this writing, with two weeks left to go on the campaign, the book has raised $10,000+ dollars, almost a third of its $37,500 goal.
“One of the things I’m trying to do with my book is trying to get out of [labeling],” Janashvili emphasizes to Mic. “It’s very hard to talk about the subject without using the plus-size term. But the term is obviously horrible. . . It’s so important to have models of all sizes, because girls will actually identify themselves with the beautiful images and try to feel beautiful and worthy.”