What size is PLUS Size? In Nov 2015 I put it out there in various social media groups that I belong to and asked ”at what size do you consider plus size to start?” 
My question was for market research purposes, not to be controversial or start a debate. Someone had suggested I ought to use the term in my marketing and was curious to see what people thought. I got quite a few responses and it seems to be a subject that ruffles feathers and divides opinion. Some people find the term offensive, mean and rude, others see it as an alternative term for unhealthy. 
 
Is it a classification or an insult? 
I personally don’t like it but it seems to be the recognised term within the fashion industry. If I’m looking for clothes online I Google ‘plus size’. The answers I got ranged from size 14 upwards but most people thought size 20 was the starting point. Is it just a term to describe a body shape? Like short, tall, athletic, curvy etc? Some of the people who responded were apologetic, as if they were worried about offending people. Others thought it might be better to use terms that seem less derogatory. 
 
Are you normal? 
I wonder why it is seen as a negative term? If you look for the dictionary definition of the word plus it has quite positive connotations… Advantage, asset, higher end of the scale, extra, a perk, prerequisite. It also says it can refer to larger than normal size in women’s clothing. What’s normal? Is it the same as average? Because the average woman in the UK is a size 16, 5ft 3″ and weighs 11 stone apparently. 
BMI 
This would give a BMI of 27.2 and be classed as overweight. To not be overweight your BMI should under 25, once you get a BMI reading of over 30 you are in the obese range, the we get to morbidly obese – scary term.According to research conducted by the world health organisation 59% of women in the UK were overweight in 2010. They have projected this figure to rise to 64% by 2030 (by the way it’s even higher for men at a prediction of 75%). 
 
Is BIG beautiful? 
I’m kind of conflicted by the whole weight thing. On the one hand I know it can be unhealthy to be fat, being overweight causes many medical and mobility problems, but then can you not be big and healthy? On the other hand I strongly believe we should embrace our figures and we can all feel beautiful regardless of shape or size, my business is all about helping women feel good even if they are tipping the scales. 
 
Bonny Lass 
I’ve never been of slight proportions, always a bit on the ‘bonny’ side as they’d say in Leigh, Lancs (where I’m originally from) but I was within the normal range. Give me back that younger body I thought was fat now and I’d be delighted. I only got to be actually (what I consider to be) plus size after my son was born. I put a lot of weight on during pregnancy and I’ve never really lost it (and kept it off long term) since. I’ve tried various diets, Weightwatchers, Slimming World, The F Plan, cabbage soup, Dukan, Rosemary Conley, blue fat rejecting tablets from the doctor, had my thyroid tested (borderline) I’ve even tried CBT and counselling. I’ve lost weight several times but then gradually it’s crept back on. 
 
Low Self Esteem 
My weight has affected how I’ve felt about myself, I’ve suffered from low self esteem and it’s not nice, it can affect your whole life, your performance at work, relationships, you name it. At one point I couldn’t bear to look at myself naked…and thought everything would be different if I was thinner. Thankfully I’m over that and appreciate that I can now look in the mirror. I still have the lumps and bumps but I’m in a better place mentally and relationship wise. I want to lose weight now to ease my joints – I have arthritis, not necessarily because I’m miserable and don’t love myself. The difference now is that I’ve realised my weight doesn’t determine my happiness or inner peace. 
 
Confused 
I’ve learned that as a member of the chub club you limit your options in terms of clothing retailers, many shops stop at a size 16. In the consumer culture plus size outlets tend to start at size 14. In the modelling world you are plus size above a size 10!! My respondents on social media ranged from size 14 up to 20 in their definitions of where plus size starts. There is confusion around the term. 
 
Are you a ‘Real’ Woman? 
Of course you are! That’s a term I find annoying. I detest the term ‘real women’ in the context of body positivity and see it as skinny shaming. We are all real women regardless of size, is there such a thing as an unreal woman? There are many terms to describe being plus size and overweight…. What do you prefer if you are horizontally tall? Voluptuous, curvaceous, curvy, chubby, cuddly, big boned, fuller figured, chunky, buxom, plentiful, ample, well built, rotund, round, portly, outsize or thick, as they use in the USA. 
 
I’m fat and passionate 
My passion is to help women feel good about themselves, I use colour, clothes and cosmetics to boost confidence. You don’t have to wait until you’ve lost weight to look and feel fabulous. I reckon that if you’re feeling good about yourself it’s easier to love yourself and then maybe you stop reaching for the biscuit barrel; stop worrying about what people think if you go swimming or for a run….who knows. 
 
I truly believe that you can still look good, be inspirational and aspirational even if you are in the Chub Club. And, if you want to lose some weight, when the time is right and you’re in the right head space then you will. We all know that deep down where there’s a will there’s a way, if you want it enough you’ll do it. 
 
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