Two days ago, Australian model Robyn Lawley posted a fitspo selfie (above, right) to Instagram, showing her bare torso along with the caption: "The best kind of exercise? The one when you jump and dance around like there's no tomorrow to awesome music!!"
Lawley is one of today's top plus size models, with credits in Vogue Italia, Vogue Australia and a number of campaigns for brands like Ralph Lauren and H&M. The 24-year-old has also made headlines for her views on the thigh gap phenomenon ("dangerous") and the lack of body diversity in the fashion industry. Earlier this year, she gave an interview in which she expressed frustration with the "plus-size" size moniker: "People say, 'How is she a plus-size model?' and I'm like, 'Exactly, this is the point, how am I a plus-size model?'"
Lawley might be seething right now. On Instagram, commenters have lashed out at the model for posting the selfie above. A selection of the responses:
- "Yeah, how are you plus size?? Uhhhh…..no!"
- "Still don't get how they call this plus size?!"
- "If this is called 'plus size' then i am gonna go jump off a building."
- "This is NOT plus size!"
- "Stop the world I want to get off if this is considered plus size."
- "It's not that this is a plus size, but obviously she has lost weight since she first started modelling plus size swimwear. And you know what, that's up to her if she wants to become more trim and slim, good on her. But yes this is not plus size 'anymore', so she probably wont be modelling plus sizes anymore."
Although the shot does show a more conventionally-toned physique than what we typically see in Lawley's photos (the lingerie photo above was posted to her account in April), the difference might be a matter of angles and lighting. However, the fitspo-style caption does make it seem that Robyn was acknowledging and showing off the changes to her shape, which plenty of young women do every day, without facing the nearly same level of scrutiny. Lawley looks great, but the response she got from commenters illustrates her point about 'plus-size' being a pernicious term — it's just another way for people to police models whose bodies don't fit into the fashion mold.