Plus-size pin-ups: Curvy models are in, but you’d better be pretty, too.
The zeitgeist in the retail brandscape today is to celebrate the natural beauty of curvier, larger, love-all-of-this, choose-your-adjective women, which I take as a sign that popular culture is finally growing up and there may be hope for a post-skeletal genetic aesthetic after all.
Like hot fudge on a brownie, it’s all good.
But here’s where the new logic of inclusivity falters.
Where does all this progress leave the fundamentally unattractive? The curvy, natural, plus-sizers who were simply not born photogenic?
Suppose today’s hottest plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Tara Lynn and Jennie Runk — mesmerizing women, all — had less balanced features, thinning hair, maybe one lazy eye and a club foot? Would apparel merchants still bet the seasonal campaign on them? Would consumers expect them to? Would consumers shop if they did?
Do we expect lifeguards to have two arms and two legs? Chauffeurs to have sight? Priests to be celibate?
I know that I could never be a male model, because my teeth don’t show when I smile, and in America, no molars, no modeling, that’s the law. If I smile really really hard, you’ll see them a little, but by then the camera also sees the face of a madman and triggers the iPhone to call 911. The new facial recognition camera captured my visage and remarked, “Thought you were dead, Rodney.” Stupid app.
For now, it’s nice to see healthy, curvy women modeling. As for the rest of us, well, these are questions to which I have no good answers.