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The term, ‘mid-size’ seems to be everywhere at the moment. With Lucy Jane Wood OWNING YouTube with her, ‘size 14’ content, the launch of the ‘Mid Size Collective’ on Instagram and every blogger who falls into the category finally feeling like they have a home to show off their ‘mid-size style’, it’s quickly becoming the ‘in thing.’ And whilst that’s amazing for us girls who can be labelled size (UK) 12-18 (or 10-16 whichever way you look at it) we must be mindful to people who are on the other ends of the size spectrum.
We must remember that the ONLY reason it’s now ‘acceptable’ to show off our curves and celebrate our (still widely accepted) body type is because of the original body positive movement. A movement that was started by people who have bodies that are not the societal norm and are often shunned completely from representation – larger bodies, bodies of colour or bodies with physical disabilities.
The movement was radical, it was in our faces and it was unabashed. But in recent times it has been completely bastardized. Celebrities, influencers and ‘normal’ people have taken the term, ‘body positive’ and confused it with, ‘body confidence.’ Because body positivity is all about feeling positive about bodies that society treats negatively. It’s not about celebrating forms and shapes that are on the whole, accepted.
Sure we can moan that ‘the UK average is a size 14/16, so where are all the size 14/16 models, celebrities and influencers.’ but we must understand that being the ‘average’ has its own set of perks.
when brands use ‘plus-size’ models, they actually use mid-size models and label them plus-size, so where’s the representation for our size 18+ sisters?
So how can we, as mid-size people, celebrate the rise in representation of our bodies without drowning out the message that still needs to be widely spread?
First of all, we need to recognise our privilege.
A huge debate has been whirling this week on, ‘thin privilege’ and whether you need to be thin to benefit from it. Sometimes, as a mid-size woman, I really don’t feel the thin privilege. I walk into Bershka and get pissed off that they don’t go up to a size 16. I see ‘thin’ influencers all on the same press trips and working with the best fashion brands and feel bad about my size and I struggle to find celebrities and influencers with body-shapes like mine to identify with.
But then I give my head a wobble and see that even feeling like that IS thin privilege.
Because whilst Bershka don’t go up to a 16, the majority of high-street stores don’t go past an 18. Imagine not just being able to pop into Topshop or New Look for a browse because you know NOTHING will fit? Not just a few labels but NOTHING? And whilst most press trips don’t feature influencers over a size 10, at least we can possibly get what they’re wearing in our size. And yes, our bodies aren’t always represented in fashion or movies or music, we HAVE to remember that there’s even less representation for larger people of colour or disabled bodies OR ones that intersect those types.
Mid-size people are beginning to see more representation on social media and in the mainstream media which is something to celebrate. Whilst we may not have been marginalised in the way fat bodies have been – we have experienced an amount of stigmatisation and exclusion.
Because mid-size bodies are perceived as an inbetween. A body type that doesn’t have a place. And we are often labelled as ‘plus-size’ when the view of ‘plus-size’ is anything above a 10. But that does a disservice to people who are actually plus-size. Fashion loves to celebrate bodies like Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence for being ‘plus-size’ which completely detracts from the visibility of truly plus size people.
And we’re not seen as disciplined as smaller people. Often clothes just aren’t made for bodies that have random lumps, larger upper arms or thick calves (PRIVILEGE CHECK HERE PLEASE) so we can’t see ourselves in the generic model or celebrity sashaying down the red carpet.
It’s OK to bemoan that exclusion as long as we recognise the amount of privilege we still have, whilst not talking over the original ‘body-positive’ movement.
So what should you do if you’re a mid-size person who wants to celebrate their body type with an emerging community behind them but who DOESN’T want to shat all over the OG body positive movement? Here are a few ideas:
First of all you must get following the Mid Size Collective. They’re an Instagram reposting account who feature fashion bloggers from a size 10-18 (and up, occasionally) and are the source of many a new influencer for me to follow.
The more popular mid-size influencers get, the more we’ll find them represented in the media, on press trips and with brands. So follow Lucy, Kitty, Sophie Edwards, Maria McFarlane, Nicole Ocran, Kristabel, Sophie Bradbury-Cox and Karina (amongst many more) on their platforms and support their work.
If you’re mid-size and sad that your body type isn’t represented in the media or online, REPRESENT YOUR BODY! Post your pictures and use the #midsizestyle and #averagegirlsize hashtag to show others who look like you that there are many more of us out there.
It’s great that more of us are wanting to use our platforms to show women just like us that they’re represented but as I’ve written above, it’s SO IMPORTANT that we don’t use those platforms to drown out the original movement. So any time you see a body-positive activist sharing content, working in campaigns or writing posts on what body positivity ACTUALLY IS, please use your platforms to shout about them too.
So do you identify as mid-size? Who are your inspirations for style? And how do you feel about the body-positive/body-confidence debate? Would love to chat to you guys over on Instagram (where you can see my own take on mid-size style).
Bag: new season Primark (bought with a PR gift card),
Dress: New Look (affiliate link),
Shoes: old Primark
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