I can’t tell you how many “suggestions” emails I got when I decided to call my blog and body positive community Plus Size Confessions. It was not the confessions word they had an issue with, it was ‘plus size’. Most of the emails convey the same message: that the term ‘Plus Size’ is inaccurate, a meaningless word and I should throw it away. There are two issues I take with this. Firstly, I am a plus size individual and secondly, when did it become okay in the body positive move to tell someone who is completely comfortable with the term to not use it? Doesn’t that go against what the body positive movement is all about?
I completely understand that there is a stigma and negative connotation that has been placed on this word by the media, but I am not controlled or emotionally affected any longer by the media and I have always had a good relationship with the word and my body. This good relationship I have with the word PLUS SIZE probably stems way back to my middle school years, when I had to start shopping at Lane Bryant. The word was everywhere and throughout the whole store, so to me it holds positive memories of fantastic shopping sprees with my Mom.
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I attended and graduated from The International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelors degree (BFA) in Fashion Design. In those three years I personally never heard any of my instructors or fellow fashion peers, say or have any negative feelings about the word ‘plus size’. The term was strictly used as a way to describe a small portion of the industry. In fact, I think we should have a problem with having only a small portion of the fashion industry being plus size, rather than the word itself.
I can recall one time I had a computer student (gaming) ask me about the word. She said, ;isn’t that word horrible? When I hear the word it makes me nervous and a little uncomfortable’. I answered her that no, it does not make me uncomfortable – why would something that describes me make me uncomfortable? She had no real answer, other than that was what the media and magazines had told her. I am a plus size girl, I have been my entire life and in the fashion industry, my clothing tag is plus size. The kicker is this girl was a size 4 or 5. I have noticed this trend: the people who are the most vocal about the word PLUS SIZE are not technically PLUS SIZE.
The word plus size to me is not a derogatory word: it is simply a descriptive word. It does not personally hurt my feelings to be called plus size. So when a few ‘body positive’ people take the time out of their days to email and tell me to drop the term, they are essentially telling me to be more palatable, and more politically correct. I have never been politically correct in my life… so why start now?