If there was anything to be taken from Zoolander Two it was that the modeling industry is still rife with stereotypes.
Thankfully there are professionals fighting to break down the preconceptions and bring the industry forwards to genuinely accept, and promote all shapes and sizes.
And while the increased awareness and support of ‘plus size’ modeling is increasing globally, Australian Stafania Ferrario is still challenging such labels as they remain a tool to maintain exclusivity, keeping many working models outside of the mainstream and projecting dangerous ideals to impressionable minds.
In a post from 2015 Ferrario argued:
I am a model FULL STOP. Unfortunately in the modelling industry if you’re above a US size 4 you are considered plus size, and so I’m often labelled a ‘plus size’ model. I do NOT find this empowering.
A couple of days ago, @ajayrochester called the industry to task for its use of the term ‘plus size’ by making the point that it is ‘harmful’ to call a model ‘plus’ and damaging for the minds of young girls.
I fully support Ajay and agree with her. Let’s have models of ALL shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and drop the misleading labels. I’m NOT proud to be called ‘plus’, but I AM proud to be called a ‘model’, that is my profession!
Ferrario isn’t alone either. The model regularly uses the hashtag #droptheplus in her posts and the movement continues to gather momentum online.
The site droptheplus.org explains their stance very clearly.
Some “plus sized” models have come out against #droptheplus by claiming that they are not bothered by the term and embrace it. They’ve missed the point of the movement, it’s not about them.
The primary concern of #droptheplus is the effect the term has on the general public. A young woman looking at a photo of a perfectly healthy woman with the caption “plus size model” below it, is in danger of believing that her own body is bigger than it should be and not normal. This warped self assessment of body image leads to a host of mental and physical health issues.
Fair play to them, the cause is certainly worthwhile!
Promoting the term ‘plus size’ may on the surface appear to challenge outdated ideals, but at its core it maintains the status quo that there is a distinction to be made – a distinction that is entirely unnecessary.