Amy Schumer has had some words with an American magazine for mentioning her on the cover of a ‘plus-size’ only special edition. To be clear, her problem was not with being associated with non-thin women, but with the idea that a (UK) size 10-12 body should be considered ‘plus’ anything.
But beyond the argument about where the line should fall, we’ve got to wonder: why is there a line at all? What does it mean to have a border cutting through our body types like that: on the one side, ‘plus size’ and on the other – what? ‘Regular’? ‘Average’? That makes no sense when it’s totally regular and average to not be thin, but it’s hard to escape the implication of the plus-size label that women who take a larger jeans size need a special extra category of their own, because they exist outside the mainstream. It’s us-and-them, with clothes: WE are normal; YOU are different.
It’s not even as though there’s any practical purpose to the label. It’s patronising to assume that women don’t know which shops cater for their body type, not to mention that shoving all so-called ‘plus size’ women into one group for styling purposes makes as much sense as thinking that Taylor Swift and Beyoncé will suit the same clothes just because they aren’t plus size. Every body is different, and the ‘plus size’ category makes it too easy to assume that only women on one side of the divide need or want variety, options and different styles.
People are just people; clothes are just clothes. The only label you need is the one that tells you how to wash it.