Finally, a Plus-Sized Role Model in the form of… A Model!

5 10 2006

So, apparently fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier decided to spice up the debate over Madrid’s ban on sized-zero models, by allowing a size 20 model to display his lingerie on the catwalk. A big chick in lingerie? Now there’s a role model I can relate to! Let’s hope this isn’t just a token gesture, and the other rag hags will follow suit.

Even the model’s name—Velvet D’Amour—screams voluptuous. She weighed in (big pun intended!) on the whole skinny vs. fat model thing: “If you tell me somebody’s too thin, if you tell me somebody’s too fat, you’re still being prejudiced. The point is diversity.”[1]

Society loves the word diversity when it comes to ethnicity, neighborhood cultural balance, or workplace skill sets; but applied to weight? Heaven forbid! If we allowed diversity in terms of how much people weighed, what would happen to Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers? Not to mention the insurance companies who are racking up millions on gastric bypass surgery.

But Velvet’s debut is a whisper of hope that somebody is finally getting it. Plus-sized doesn’t have to mean sexless or unhealthy, and having a large woman represented in a manner other than the punch line is refreshing.

Of course, the comments attached to the Daily Mail article that announced this phenomenon offered cheers, but also disgust. The disgusted comments were the usual form of tripe: overweight is unhealthy, any extreme is bad—especially this extreme, how ugly and uncomfortable Velvet looked, and on, and on.

Haters—all of them. I say that the rest of the world is finally getting equal time. Here’s to the big girls! (and guys). Velvet, thanks for representin’.

[1] The Sydney Morning Herald Online. “Gaultier’s largesse reply to skinny debate.”
Patty Huntington 10.04.2006. (



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