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#DropThePlus: Is being called plus-size empowering or an insult?

Australian model and the face of Dita Von Teese’s lingerie line, 21-year-old Stefania Ferrario, says she is sick of being called a plus-size model and would prefer to drop the label and just be referred to as a model.

Ferrario posted the following image on her Instagram with a message saying that the term “plus-size” isn’t empowering, but rather a put-down. She shared the image in response to former Biggest Loser host Ajay Rochester’s own image about dropping the plus-size label because it is damaging to women and girls’ self-esteem.

“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.

“I fully support Ajay and agree with her. Let’s have models of ALL shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and drop the misleading labels.”

Ferrario and Rochester argue that models who are not overweight being referred to as plus-size sends the wrong message to young women and girls about what it means to have a healthy body size and what it means to be overweight.

Plus-size, in my mind at least, always sounds like it means overweight. Plus-size traditionally meant between the sizes of 12 and 16. But now it seems like every model who isn’t sample size is plus-size.

These women are also referred to as plus-size models.

Yes, even this one:

Photographer and body image awareness campaigner, Victoria Janashvili, says she’s no fan of the term either, saying, “I don’t like the label ‘plus-size’ in general,” she says. “Some women are curvier, some women are skinnier, some shorter, some taller. I think there’s beauty in all.”

But, of course, people like to categorise and put things into nice, neat, easily decipherable boxes.

Model Laura Wells, though, thinks the plus-size label actually brings attention to bodies of different sizes and celebrates them.

“It’s the first time a regular-sized activewear brand had used a plus-size model, let alone anyone over a size 8AU,” Wells says. “We need to stop shaming other people’s bodies, be happy that models like me are helping to change the tide of the industry.”

What do you think? Is the plus-size label empowering or an insult? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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