Lawley, who I think we can all agree looks pretty bomb, was immediately faced with criticism from angry commenters. While most of the hate was directed at fashion in general for constantly insisting Robyn is “plus-size,” it also pretty clearly implicated Lawley herself. “Plus size?? Are you freakin kidding me??!!” one commenter wrote on Instagram. “If this is plus size, then everyone I know is morbidly obese. Wow.” Another: “You are not plus sized. You are a regular sized individual. No more, no less. It is an insult to people with real weight issues that you title yourself with this. #getreal.”
But Robyn Lawley asked to be nobody’s plus-size ambassador. Actually, she hates the term “plus-sized” in general, as you might remember from one of her many awesome Facebook posts earlier this year:
The reason why I truly don’t like being called “plus size” is because I’m worried girls and women will look at the label the fashion industry has given me and compare their bodies to mine. For example, I often see women commenting, “if she is plus size what does that make me?” It saddens me that women, especially young and impressionable girls, are bombarded with very certain body types and labels, that our society unfortunately dictates we should be. It took me years to get this notion out of my head and to look at my body and say “no, it’s fine the way it is. I do not need to change, and no, I’m not plus size.
She also told Clique magazine in January:
Fashion designers won’t go past a size two, so there’s no size diversity — just none. So there’s a whole no-man’s land of models who are in between the ‘straight size’ and the ‘plus-size’ and they are not working, yet they’ve got these amazing bodies that are completely in proportion.
Sing it, girl. But telling people to stop using the term “plus-sized” is like telling a kid at a slumber party not to stand in front of the mirror and say “Candy Man” three times. They will literally be unable to help themselves. The Daily Mail, who just posted a video interview with Robyn Lawley in June where she expressed her distaste at the plus-size tag, and wrote in the accompanying text that she didn’t want to be labelled plus-sized any more, proceeded to explicitly label her plus-size, like, ten words later:
Though she’s rejected her ‘plus sized’ label, Robyn is a trail blazer in the industry, becoming the first plus-sized model to grace Vogue Australia in the magazine’s 52 year history back in 2011.
I don’t wish that women of all sizes could all bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy, because ~Fashun~ and the internet don’t wanna work that way. (Also half the people would demand it was gluten free and a quarter would want vegan and the remaining 25% would call that fat-shaming and it would just be a goddamn waste of cake.) There’s always going to be something differentiating the girls on the Prada runway from the ones who won’t fit into a sample size. Unfortunately for Lawley and every other woman larger than a size 2, AKA 95% of the female population, that thing is “plus-sized.”
The problem with it, as Lawley says, is that regular designer sample sizes won’t exceed a two. This means models who are a size 4, 6, 8, whatever, are automatically shoved into the “plus-size” category because we can’t figure out how to keep the world turning without somehow distinguishing the “real” models from everyone else. It’s not the models’ fault. It’s not like any above-size-2 girls were begging for a derogatory word that makes it clear they’re too unacceptably large to cavort with the skinnies. But it makes the “well what does that make me?” thoughts had by non-famous women entirely justified ones. Between this fucked up definition of “plus size” and the existence of vanity-sized 000 pants, 21st century fashion land can literally make any sized human feel like either a heifer or a bag of bones.
Further, can’t a gal post a hot selfie without the internet shaming it? We’ve already got ourselves for that.