Naked Plus-Size Models – A Cop Out?

The November issue of Glamour magazine features a shoot with a group of plus-size models, but instead of a fashion story, it's just an artful nude portrait
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Naked Plus-Size Models — A Cop Out?

The November issue of Glamour magazine features a shoot with a group of plus-size models, but instead of a fashion story, it’s just an artful nude portrait

-Kathy Campbell

plus-size models in Glamour

Back in August, when Glamour magazine made headlines by featuring a picture of an average woman with belly fat in its pages, I applauded the move.

The story sparked lots of interesting commentary about body image on our site and on others (including some who criticized me for being mean to skinny women).

But now, as Glamour’s November issue is about to hit newsstands featuring a photo shoot with seven naked plus-size models, I find it hard to feel as excited about it as perhaps I should be.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that Glamour is choosing to feature these women, (including Crystal Renn, whom BettyConfidential recently interviewed) but I just wish they had clothes on.

And it’s not because I’m a prude.

The thing is, we are more used to seeing voluptuous women naked than clothed.

three graces paintingAfter all, the curvy women featured in paintings like Peter Paul Rubens’ “Three Graces” led to the coining of the term Rubenesque for the full-figured women he chose to celebrate.

So, while the Glamour pic is very artful, it leaves me wanting more. And by more, I mean I wanted to see them wearing clothes that I could appreciate and maybe even think about buying.

But Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive has explained why these women (who are three to five sizes larger than the models you normally see in magazines) are undressed. “Partly because the clothes [used for photo shoots] are so flippin’ small. The ‘samples’ we borrow for shoots are generally cut to fit a size zero-to-four frame. (If we just went out and bought bigger sizes from the store, those styles would be off the racks and unbuyable by the time you saw them in Glamour.)”

How unfair is that?

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0 thoughts on “Naked Plus-Size Models – A Cop Out?

  1. Why are these models being classified as plus sized? Is it because they have a little bit of fat on their tummies? What about the real plus sized women? If they have to bring padding with them just to fit the clothes then why are they not using real plus sized women?! I work in a plus size store and I know that there are beautiful larger ladies that would be better suited for a shoot like that.

  2. Honestly, It is ashamed that plus size models are usually 8-12. I would hardly call that plus size. These women look like avg. women, and some are even a little thin for that classification. And I agree with Maghan, above, there are plenty of true plus size people that are very beautiful and would have been more suited for this.

    However, Kudos to the mag for getting things started somewhere. I mean not a hip or collar bone in sight, These women just look healthy.

  3. I agree with maghan and jacquelinemarkley in regards to the fashion world’s definition of “plus size”. The painting of the “Three Graces” obviously show “plus size” women and these are what in reality a plus woman is. Natural beauty that makes up a woman can be seen in a variety of different areas on these women from the painting. Whether it be in the butt, hips, stomach, arms…..etc….the photo from Glamour is not reflecting what the “real” world perceives as a plus size woman…just what the fashioni world sees as a plus size woman. When will they wake up and face reality that women are and can be beautiful in all different shapes and sizes…they need to be perceived and shown as such. How can you buy clothes for a plus size woman when they show it on a size 12 or below average sized woman? I am happy the magazine is starting to address the plus size women…but lets be realistic please!

  4. I’m looking forward to reading the issue of Glamour… but that whole sample size thing seems like a cop out to me. Um, how about asking some designers to make bigger samples for the shoot? Don’t tell me NONE would want to!

  5. It’s a good start – media and fashion need to change their thinking when it comes to definitions of beauty. However, it is tough to convince high-end designers to change their products when their names are sold as aspirational brands. Hopefully they will realize that not everyone aspires to look sickly thin.

  6. Not sure what the arricle will say but the response from Glamour as stated in this article is simply BS!! There are plus size women all over the place, and they are not parading around without clothes or shall I say NAKED? It is an affront to all women to suggest that a model who is a size 6 has to move on to plus size modeling, and especially offensive to plus-size women. This does not begin to address the problems that have resulted from modeling agencies and designers sending a seriously false message that size 2 is normal, when in fact, it is not. I was a size 2 in 3rd grade and I AM NOT a plus sized woman. There are specialty stores and department stores with departments that cater to plus size women, which means that there are plus size samples in existence, because this is the basis on which future orders are made. I think it is great to see the nude photo cover, which is tastefully done, but it would be so much better to dress them up and for Glamour to put their money where their mouth(s) is/are. Guess what . . . next month . . . probably back to the size 2-4 model. The are perpetuating the problems that so many women face with body image issues.

  7. I think we just need to be patient and appreciative that “plus-sized” models are being shown in magazines at all right now. We have to let things evolve slowly… you can’t go from being so excited about seeing the belly-pouch photo and now asking for these models to be wearing clothes that we want to buy. I think we first need to see how this body shape looks just as it is, and then the industry should start to come around and include them as regular clothes models also.

    I like this photo and I think it’s a great step in the right direction.

  8. my friend’s beautiful daughter is a size 6 and was recently told by an agent that if she wanted a Macy’s catalog/web job she would have to get down to a size 2 or bill herself as plus size model– WHAT!!! — I looked at the Macy web and saw all these skinny little things modeling plus size clothes-give me a break

  9. @Bridget – you are right that it is an affront to all women to suggest that a size 6 has to move into the plus size division, but that isn’t Glamour’s call: it’s the AGENCY’S decision. While there are plenty of plus sized clothes, even the samples for them are not really plus sized. Look at any Roaman’s or Lane Bryant or Avenue catalog or web site – the women pictured are 8s and 10s, not 18s and 20s, because designers want to see their clothes on thinner women. Recently in London, a designer whose name I forget wanted to use US 10-12 sized women in his show, and two of his stylists quit in protest! Glamour isn’t copping out – they are trying to make changes happen in a world where the designers are still calling the ultimate shots through their design choices, and those designers are sizing smaller and smaller. Just 20 years ago, 6 was the standard sample size and now it’s a 2 or 0. I don’t know if they are trying to save on fabric or what, but it’s ridiculous and needs to stop! I agree with the rest of what you said though — great points!

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