2016 Body Positive Movement and Plus Size News + Controversy

It’s easy to forget all the news and controversy that’s happened with plus size and the body positive movement this year. Since we are all on our phones checking every new post and every new little story, it is too easy to lose perspective. 2016 isn’t even half over yet, and has already seen huge developments!

January

GabiFresh Releases Her Own Line

Plus size style icon GabiFresh started the year off with a bang when she released her own swimwear line with swimsuitsforall on January 12th. Her collection was incredibly unique and earned her a ton of new press, which was great for the plus size community as a whole because all of America could see how plus size can easily be synonymous with “trend leader.” Obviously Moxi Blu is competing in the same plus size swim space, but we were definitely inspired by GabiFresh’s power moves this year and her inventive line, with prices at around $70.

Barbie Ferreira Goes “Real” for aerie

We think Barbie Ferreira is the sweetest and the hottest plus size model around — of course! She’s one of our main models, if you haven’t noticed. 😉 She has had a huge year posing for tons of huge campaigns after working with Moxi Blu and we couldn’t be more happy for her. She leapt into the stratosphere in mid-January when she appeared in a video for the aerieReal campaign in a string bikini without any retouches and set off a media firestorm. Looking back, this was another huge moment for plus size and Body Positivity because so many people were exposed to a body type that IS normal but has been treated as abnormal for so many years!

February

Ashley Graham Takes Over Sports Illustrated

Talk about a nuclear detonation! Nebraska-raised model Ashley Graham blew minds all over the world and again changed the discussion about plus size when she appeared on the very sexy cover of Sports Illustrated and became an instant star. But this is also when some pushback against the plus size label started, from Ashley Graham herself! She told Sports Illustrated, “I hope in the next year people will stop saying ‘plus-size,’ and they’ll just say, ‘She’s a model.’”

The whole conversation took a heated turn when former Sports Illustrated model Chrissy Tiegs told E! Online, “I don’t like that we’re talking about full-figured women because it’s glamorizing them because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches].” She said that Dr. Oz had proven that larger sizes are unhealthy, so we shouldn’t celebrate plus size. Ashley Graham had the last laugh, though, when she appeared on Good Morning America and conducted a number of health diagnostic tests alongside a size 2 model — and there was no difference in their level of health at all!

April

Moxi Girls, maybe we should just get used to the fact that people are going to have really different opinions on this stuff. Some will embrace the labels of plus size or body positive and some will fight them off. We’re not saying there are any easy answers, and that’s especially true when celebrities get involved and turn up the heat. When comedian Amy Schumer was included in Glamour magazine’s plus size issue alongside Ashley Graham, Adele and Melissa McCarthy, she immediately took to Instagram to say, “I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8. @glamourmag put me in their plus size only issue without asking or letting me know and it doesn’t feel right to me.”

May

Well, we know that the images are still burned into your brain because this just happened, but another area where larger female bodies traditionally have not been welcome is the world of music videos featuring young, male pop acts. Suddenly that’s all changed, again with the help of superstar Ashley Graham who released pictures and video clips from her shoot for the new music video from DNCE, the Jo Jonas pop band responsible for the mega hit “Cake By The Ocean”. In the video Ashley Graham plays the former teen hearthrob’s love interest. They dance. They kiss. They cuddle. Whew—we can’t wait for the video!!

But, the more serious side of plus size controversy also continued this month, with Lena Dunham telling the media that she thinks the very term “plus size” should be dropped. We are sure that Lena is well intentioned, but is that really the solution to anything? We loved this article by Sarah Conley at Style It. She talks about the recent #droptheplus campaign and why she thinks it’s wrong. She wrote, “Although I typically ignore movements that lean on plus size in an attempt to gain publicity, the conversation has finally risen to a level that I can no longer ignore.” She empathized with models that don’t want to be pigeonholed as plus size, but that for most women they’ve been battling for plus size acceptance, which means embracing the term! She also made a really good practical point when it comes to online shopping: “Furthermore, the term plus size, while nothing more than descriptive, serves a business function in the same way that ‘petite’ does. Without a label, however unfortunate, we wouldn’t know that a brand has something to offer us in our size.”

Let the plus size and body positive debates continue — and Slay On, Moxi Girls!