Mid-Size Representation Rocks But We Need To Be Mindful

The term, ‘mid-size’ seems to be everywhere at the moment. With Lucy Jane Wood OWNING YouTube with her, ‘size 14’ content, the launch of the ‘Mid Size Collective’ on Instagram and every blogger who falls into the category finally feeling like they have a home to show off their ‘mid-size style’, it’s quickly becoming the ‘in thing.’ And whilst that’s amazing for us girls who can be labelled size (UK) 12-18 (or 10-16 whichever way you look at it) we must be mindful to people who are on the other ends of the size spectrum.

mid size style

The Rise Of The Mid-Size

We must remember that the ONLY reason it’s now ‘acceptable’ to show off our curves and celebrate our (still widely accepted) body type is because of the original body positive movement. A movement that was started by people who have bodies that are not the societal norm and are often shunned completely from representation – larger bodies, bodies of colour or bodies with physical disabilities.

The movement was radical, it was in our faces and it was unabashed. But in recent times it has been completely bastardized. Celebrities, influencers and ‘normal’ people have taken the term, ‘body positive’ and confused it with, ‘body confidence.’ Because body positivity is all about feeling positive about bodies that society treats negatively. It’s not about celebrating forms and shapes that are on the whole, accepted.

Sure we can moan that ‘the UK average is a size 14/16, so where are all the size 14/16 models, celebrities and influencers.’ but we must understand that being the ‘average’ has its own set of perks.

when brands use ‘plus-size’ models, they actually use mid-size models and label them plus-size, so where’s the representation for our size 18+ sisters?

So how can we, as mid-size people, celebrate the rise in representation of our bodies without drowning out the message that still needs to be widely spread?

First of all, we need to recognise our privilege.

mid size style

Why We Must Recognise Our Mid-Size Privilege

A huge debate has been whirling this week on, ‘thin privilege’ and whether you need to be thin to benefit from it. Sometimes, as a mid-size woman, I really don’t feel the thin privilege. I walk into Bershka and get pissed off that they don’t go up to a size 16. I see ‘thin’ influencers all on the same press trips and working with the best fashion brands and feel bad about my size and I struggle to find celebrities and influencers with body-shapes like mine to identify with.

But then I give my head a wobble and see that even feeling like that IS thin privilege.

Because whilst Bershka don’t go up to a 16, the majority of high-street stores don’t go past an 18. Imagine not just being able to pop into Topshop or New Look for a browse because you know NOTHING will fit? Not just a few labels but NOTHING? And whilst most press trips don’t feature influencers over a size 10, at least we can possibly get what they’re wearing in our size. And yes, our bodies aren’t always represented in fashion or movies or music, we HAVE to remember that there’s even less representation for larger people of colour or disabled bodies OR ones that intersect those types.

mid size style

Mid-size people are beginning to see more representation on social media and in the mainstream media which is something to celebrate. Whilst we may not have been marginalised in the way fat bodies have been – we have experienced an amount of stigmatisation and exclusion.

Because mid-size bodies are perceived as an inbetween. A body type that doesn’t have a place. And we are often labelled as ‘plus-size’ when the view of ‘plus-size’ is anything above a 10. But that does a disservice to people who are actually plus-size. Fashion loves to celebrate bodies like Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence for being ‘plus-size’ which completely detracts from the visibility of truly plus size people.

And we’re not seen as disciplined as smaller people. Often clothes just aren’t made for bodies that have random lumps, larger upper arms or thick calves (PRIVILEGE CHECK HERE PLEASE) so we can’t see ourselves in the generic model or celebrity sashaying down the red carpet.

It’s OK to bemoan that exclusion as long as we recognise the amount of privilege we still have, whilst not talking over the original ‘body-positive’ movement.

So what should you do if you’re a mid-size person who wants to celebrate their body type with an emerging community behind them but who DOESN’T want to shat all over the OG body positive movement? Here are a few ideas:

mid size style

Follow Mid-Size Accounts

First of all you must get following the Mid Size Collective. They’re an Instagram reposting account who feature fashion bloggers from a size 10-18 (and up, occasionally) and are the source of many a new influencer for me to follow.

Engage With Mid-Size Influencers

The more popular mid-size influencers get, the more we’ll find them represented in the media, on press trips and with brands. So follow Lucy, Kitty, Sophie Edwards, Maria McFarlane, Nicole Ocran, Kristabel, Sophie Bradbury-Cox and Karina (amongst many more) on their platforms and support their work.

Share Your Own Style

If you’re mid-size and sad that your body type isn’t represented in the media or online, REPRESENT YOUR BODY! Post your pictures and use the #midsizestyle and #averagegirlsize hashtag to show others who look like you that there are many more of us out there.

mid size style

Boost The Original Body Positive Movement

It’s great that more of us are wanting to use our platforms to show women just like us that they’re represented but as I’ve written above, it’s SO IMPORTANT that we don’t use those platforms to drown out the original movement. So any time you see a body-positive activist sharing content, working in campaigns or writing posts on what body positivity ACTUALLY IS, please use your platforms to shout about them too.

So do you identify as mid-size? Who are your inspirations for style? And how do you feel about the body-positive/body-confidence debate? Would love to chat to you guys over on Instagram (where you can see my own take on mid-size style).

mid size style

Bag: new season Primark (bought with a PR gift card),

Dress: New Look (affiliate link),

Shoes: old Primark

Cankles: Mine

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6 Comments

  1. July 27, 2018 / 6:55 am

    I feel like this is a very loaded topic that often can’t be discussed critically without being labelled a fat shamer. Sure, we shouldn’t purposefully make people feel bad about their size, but also shouldn’t be normalising large sizes.
    The average dress size has gone up for two reasons. Not only are there more people at the top end. they are larger than in previous years. Then there are people at the lower end who buy clothes in larger sizes for comfort or aesthetic. And this makes the “average size” statement inaccurate and useless. And that’s without touching on the fact that sizing is more forgiving depending on the store you go to. I’m currently wearing some pyjamas from Primark that are sized 6/8 but I can barely get some size 12 jeans from New Look over my hips. This further invalidates the “average size” stats. If someone is happy at whatever size they are, that’s great. But I’ve seen so many people use “average” stats to justify their size, when psychologically if they were truly happy about their appearance they wouldn’t feel a need to justify it.
    But moreover, the size issue is often approached in a very simplistic way and doesn’t take into account that two people can be the same size and have different compositions. You have two size 14 women with one having exceptional muscle mass and the other having no muscle tone and a worrying percentage of body fat. One is a healthy body type the other isn’t.
    There are obvious health issues that can coincide with being larger (no matter how much people want to deny this) but there are also a lot of economic and environmental issues too. For example, the amount of fabric used to make clothing in those sizes, which is made a worse issue when you factor in disposable fashion trends. These clothes will take up more room in the washing machine, meaning more loads to wash the same number of pieces and higher energy cost. There’s higher food consumption which means higher food bills. And that’s just a few things.

    I wholly agree that the body positivity movement has been hijacked and replaced with the body acceptance movement. The former, I’m all for it. The latter has the very real potential to cause damage. To give my opinion context, I was anorexic because I was in a family of morbidly obese people. I am fully aware of the concerns and behaviour that occurs at both ends of the weight spectrum. And both ends say and do things in public that they do very differently in private.
    This is a deep issue and I wish people would take it more seriously instead of palming it off as shaming someone’s lifestyle choice. Thank you for shining a spotlight on it.

    Laura \ http://thatgallowaygirl.com/

  2. July 27, 2018 / 8:41 am

    Totally agree with all of this Vix, very well said! I was surprised when the midsizestyle account covers a size 10, as to me, that is still on the smaller end of the spectrum and looking at my size 10 friends, i would consider them slim and as you put it, benefiting from thin privilege. Then again, it very much is determined by your natural shape. A plus size model is still usually hourglass, with a small waist, and evenly shaped breasts and hips. You don’t often see particularly top heavy representation, or models with areas that are particularly larger – broad shoulders, chubby tummies and thick thighs are usually still represented in good proportions. Alice xxx

    http://www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

  3. August 10, 2018 / 12:25 am

    Absolutely agree with you Vix. I was very overweight as a teen and my main motivation for losing weight wasn’t healthy – I didn’t want to be fitter, I wanted to wear the clothes all my friends were. I wonder if I would have felt the same if I hadn’t been surrounded by girls with thigh gaps and toned arms who were 40kgs lighter than me? I’m glad I lost weight because it did help me find motivation for exercise but it took so much longer for me to work on my mental outlook and learn to love my curves. Now I love them and don’t want to lose weight but exercise so I feel fit and strong! I’m loving the rise of mid-size because I’ve always felt like I wasn’t represented by plus-size or the thin models I saw.

  4. August 21, 2018 / 1:16 pm

    Hello!
    I am a 10-12 and even though I’m on the smaller end of the midsize I really do feel like I’m part of it. I’m 5 ft and curvy which causes a bit of trouble in the shopping department so when I do find something that looks great I want to tell everyone else that may be having a bit of a struggle too! All in all it’s about being kind to each other and supporting women (and men!) what ever their size. It’s so nice to follow blogs and instagram accounts of people that I can relate my body shape to when shopping their style, Lovely post xx

    • vixmeldrew
      Author
      August 22, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      Thank you! I agree, I love following more people who are similar to me.