Yesterday The New York Times published a feature article about plus-size fashion bloggers after Gabi Gregg of Gabi Fresh appeared on the Today show to talk about how she posted a picture of herself in a bikini on her blog (photo at left) and received an overwhelmingly positive response. (Watch the interview below.)
Many other plus-size fashion bloggers were featured in The New York Times piece, and all of them seem to agree: Larger woman should not be afraid to relish in the fashion world, show their bodies to the world, and embrace their own unique style.
The discussion of plus-size models and the ever-present portrayal of grossly thin women in the media has certainly been around for a few years, but this new group of fashion bloggers seem to signify another step in the evolution: These women are embracing their own bodies, and given the amount of readers they have, society is following suit.
The article also cites an earlier Times piece about female actresses and celebrities who have also been more outwardly accepting of their curves, including Gretchen Wilson, Adele, Lena Dunham, and even Lady Gaga's recent "unapologetic" weight gain.
There is no doubt that the topic ignites heated conversation. People wonder if our culture is enabling the acceptance of unhealthy BMIs—even obesity—or just fostering a healthier standard for naturally large women.
To shed light on how larger women in the media affect the standard of beauty, a new study published this week in PLOS ONE revealed that when women observe bigger women (those with BMIs between 36 and 42) in images, they are less likely to be obsessed with thinner figures than when they observed thinner women (those with BMIs bewtween 11 and 14).
The lead author of the study, Lynda Boothroyd, Ph.D., psychology professor at Durham University, was quoted in an article in Science Daily saying, "This really gives us some food for thought about the power of exposure to super-slim bodies. There is evidence that being constantly surrounded through the media by celebrities and models who are very thin contributes to girls and women having an unhealthy attitude to their bodies."
So where does that leave us? In Gregg's Today interview, she said that she's on a journey to health. It's not about the weight, it's about making sure she's leading a healthy life, she added. As fashion plus-size blogger Ragini Nag Rao, 27, told The New York Times, "When you feel that your current body is temporary, why spend money dressing it well? Fat women need to realize that their bodies are worth dressing well."