Why is this even a thing? We don't have medium sized models, skinny models, black models, or any other designation, so why "plus size"? Plus sized people are the norm, so why do we have a special term for them when their photo is taken?
They're just f&%king models okay?
Beautiful people are beautiful people, and they come in many shapes and sizes. Despite the idealized image of a fashion model, we all know people who if they were skinny, just wouldn't look right. They would look strange if they were taller or shorter, lighter or darker. Whatever lucky combination of factors combined to make them a compelling figure to record has less to do with size than personality.
I'm not here to knock people who fit the typical mould of of a photographic model, it just bothers me that we think there needs to be a special term for someone who doesn't fit that narrow definition. Plus size should not be an exception to the rule.
Twiggy, I blame you for starting this crap. (Image by: Sarah C. Stanley / Creative Commons)
People marketing themselves as "plus-sized" aren't helping matters. In fact they are not only reinforcing a stereotype, they're indirectly saying it's okay to say that someone without a visible rib cage is somehow not normal.
Now I know one could say that the idealized ultra-slim fashion model, and their opposite, a severely overweight person both represent an unhealthy standard, but that is not a photographer's problem. It is not our job to idealize anyone or anything. Our job is to record our subjects faithfully, and respectfully, and that begins with not putting unnecessary labels on them.