Today’s modeling industry remains dominated by women whose height to weight ratio is nothing if not abnormal. However, the fashion world’s use of excessively thin models has fallen under attack as of late. The tide may be (albeit slowly) turning towards the use of a more diverse range of body types as the general public becomes less and less receptive to unrealistic standards of beauty. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the Twitterverse was alive with fury when Calvin Klein's underwear model Myla Dalbesio, (who, at 5’11, is a perfectly reasonable size 10), was referred to as “plus-size.” Tweets called the fact that Dalbesio was plus-size “disturbing” and “ridiculous.”
This time, however, the critics may be the unreasonable ones. In their eagerness to blast unhealthy beauty standards and the companies who perpetuate them, critics failed to see that it was them, not Calvin Klein, who were overly focused on Dalbesio’s size.
Here’s the thing: As ridiculous as it may seem, Dalbesio is technically classified as a plus size woman in the modeling world. Yes, that is silly, but bear with me.
Despite her technical place in the plus-size category, Calvin Klein never made any mention of her size. She was simply pictured standing next to other models in the newest Klein campaign. The only explicit references to Dalbesio as “plus size” were made by third party media sources.
Calvin Klein, while attempting to appeal to a broader audience, did not use Dalbesio's presence in the ad as a gimmick, nor did it ever differentiate her from models of other sizes. When asked, the brand explained that the campaign intended to show that the line was “more inclusive and is available... in an extensive range of sizes.” The campaign’s title, “Perfectly Fit” evokes an idea of healthy women—a group to which Dalbesio undoubtedly claims membership.
Dalbesio herself has no problem with the campaign. She points out that, though it was “intimidating” to be larger than the models Calvin Klein advertisements usually use, she did not feel that she received different treatment. “They released me... with everyone else. It’s not a separate section for plus-size girls,” she told Elle.
Whether or not a healthy size 10 model should be considered plus size in the industry or not is certainly a debate worth having, but in this instance, we shouldn't be treating or viewing Dalbesio as “different” especially if Calvin Klein isn't separating her as so.