This movie will change the fashion industry — if it can just get made

I am a plus-size person. This is not a judgment or a self-criticism or a brag, just a fact, the same way it’s a fact that my eyes are blue or that I am an older sister. Even though the average American woman wears a size 14 and is considered plus-size, there are still pervasive attitudes of shame, secrecy, and a general attitude of “don’t look, don’t talk about it” that surrounds plus-size bodies. This weekend, I shopped in a store that offered plus-sizes in-store (as opposed to only online, where a lot of stores hide their plus-size offerings). I found a ton of cute clothes that fit my body and felt great. I felt grateful that I had a normal clothing shopping experience, with pictures of women who look like me on the wall, where clothes fit, and then I bought them. Isn’t that crazy? I felt grateful that the store had allowed me to spend money there and feel like a normal person.

This is the experience of many plus-size women in America. It’s taken me years to work on my self-image (as well as my health, wellness, and attitude towards food and exercise), and it’s still definitely evolving. There’s lots of virulent debate in media and on social media about how plus-size people should act, feel, talk, and eat, but all that discussion never helped me lose a pound or suddenly realize the key to weight loss. The only thing that has ever helped me change my thinking about food to a more healthy mindset is seeing images of other plus-size women, looking beautiful and happy, and reading writing by and about plus-size women, who do other things than think about how to restrict their calories all day. It turns out that when you’re thinking about how much you hate your body, it’s pretty hard to get a healthy perspective towards what you can do with it.

The impact that simply seeing plus-size bodies in places other than “before” pictures in weight-loss ads has had on me is proof positive that the new documentary Straight/Curve is important, necessary, vital. This movie would follow a team of people in the fashion world and explore issues of plus-size modeling and the fashion world’s attitude towards plus-size consumers. In the words of director Jenny McQuaile and her rockstar team of producers, from their Kickstarter:

In addition, the team is working towards having an “all-female crew” to also address the “dearth of women in the film production world.”

There are a few caveats I’ll pose with this video. Obviously, all the models in it (appear) able-bodied and are (almost all) white, with classically beautiful faces and mainstream looks. That makes this film a starting point on the long road towards radical body and beauty acceptance in the world — but it’s an amazing step forward.

Heather Hazzan, a model who speaks in the trailer and would be featured in the documentary, says, “If I was a 13-year old girl and I saw the Jennie Runk ad where she’s a size 14…I might think a little differently about myself.” This 24-year old would, too.

Check out the trailer, below, and the Kickstarter, here.

(Images via Straight/CurveTeaser from Jenny McQuaile.)

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