It's official: The entire world is sick of the "plus-size" label.
H&M came under fire last week when its latest catalogue landed in mailboxes, highlighting the store's "plus-size" section. But the models featured immediately raised eyebrows from customers who thought they appeared smaller than plus-size. "You should be ashamed as a company to say that THIS is PLUS SIZE!" one customer tweeted. "No wonder girls think they have to look a certain way," another added.
This is a model out of the h&m PLUS SIZE collection. No wonder girls think they have to look a certain way...shame pic.twitter.com/rWWoQ0rNO1
— nanou (@me_and_bulimia) January 9, 2014
The backlash was even felt in the Swedish retailer's home country, thanks to swimmer and anti-bulimia advocate Emma Igelström. "H&M needs to take their responsibility for this," Igelström told The Local. "They are sponsors to the Swedish Olympics team, but by calling this model plus size they are strengthening the idea that super skinny is the ideal."
In response to the criticism, H&M released a statement claiming that all of the models in the "plus-size" section were wearing at least an EU size 44 (US size 14), the standard for plus-size clothing. But an H&M representative agreed that it was open to "interpretation" as to whether or not these models, who Expressen reports could easily wear a size medium, should be considered "plus-size."
While it's refreshing to see more and more body types in the pages of our magazines, many people have become frustrated with the classification system that divides straight and plus-size models. When you can't tell the difference between the two, the "plus-size" designation seems particularly arbitrary (see: Robyn Lawley).
Models like Tyra Banks have spoken out agains the use of the term and a few agencies have even tried to mix both straight and plus-size and models (though these experiments haven't been enormously successful). But the resounding plea from industry insiders and customers alike has been: Forget the labels and stop segregating body types.
So can't we all agree to simply call them "models"?
— Kate Baxter (@KateBaxter_x) January 9, 2014
Just want everyone to know that this lady is a "plus size" model in the H&M catalog. pic.twitter.com/nrPij7tJxd
— Tara Bender (@ThatsMeTaraB) January 11, 2014
This woman is considered "plus size" by H&M. WTF. She's beautiful and looks way better than the "normal" models pic.twitter.com/Q5Sbnl1fCW
— Kristen Rosso (@disney_frump) January 11, 2014
— keekpower (@keekpower) January 12, 2014
See some more ladies with the same designation: