Stop calling me a ‘plus size woman’. I am a woman. And I am BUXOM.

Have you ever seen advertising directed at ‘small-size women’? I was curious so I googled it. Oh I see, these women are dignified with a word that describes their shape: Petite. The term plus size is an inappropriate moniker to describe a woman, per se. Here’s why…

Back in the 1920s, clothing manufacturers and businesses realized that, to get their costs under control, they had to standardize sizing for the industry. Following some research, they came up with a sizing designation that was a combination of the bust size, height (T for tall, R for regular and S for short) and a symbol for hip girth (- for slender, no symbol for average and + for full). Cue side eye.

With the passage of time, a woman classified in size as full (+), was labelled ‘stout’, ‘outsize’, ‘chubby’, ‘full-figured’. Just take a look at these two ads from the early 20th century.

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The text in the second ad says, “THAT’S THE STOUT DRESS PROBLEM! Make a stout figure appear slim – a curved line straight!” – This entrenched the idea that the only way to be beautiful is to be slender. It is an idea as old as time and one the body positive movement is now challenging. As important as that is, I’m pointing out that because of how they standardized sizes a literal century ago, the ‘standard’ sizes were labeled acceptable and others were not.

Throughout the years, plus-size referred solely to clothing and then one day in 1953, a print ad came out for a clothing brand called Korell. It read, “Wonderful Action-Plus dress for the plus-sized woman”. This is one of the first documented times that the moniker changed from referring to clothes to referring to the woman herself.

After this print ad, the stereotype of the plus-sized woman began to take shape and rooted itself into a sexist culture that idealized thin and marginalized everything else. For the longest time, and in fact, even now, you’ll find plus sizes relegated to the back of the store, in limited sizes and unflattering designs.

Call yourself whatever you like, you may even consider the label plus-size a badge of honour, but do so with the understanding that the language we use to identify ourselves is extremely important because it shapes identity, culture and perception. Distinguishing between sizes is necessary but the term plus-size is an adjective to describe the clothing a woman wears, not the woman herself. It is with reverence and respect that Gird Power refuses the modifier, ‘plus-size woman’, and calls her ‘buxom’ instead.

bux·om /ˈbəksəm/

adjective: (of a woman) plump, especially with large breasts.
“a buxom blonde”

#IAmABuxomWoman #GirdYourselfWithKnowledge #GirdYourselfWithStrength #GirdPower

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