Jennie Runk Thinks We Should Keep Saying 'Plus Size Models'

From one of the biggest names in the industry.

#DropThePlus has recently become a hot-button hashtag in the fashion industry. 

From models to brands to celebrities, everyone is talking and hashtagging to remove the term "plus size" from plus size fashion and modeling. 

It's great that we're talking about size and size diversity and it's definitely an interesting conversation: Should we categorize models by size? Or should we call all models, "models"? Proponents of dropping the plus argue that including everyone in a single term moves us closer to empowerment and body positivity. But as a self-identifying plus size model, I don't see it that way. 

Photo courtesy of Jennie Runk
Photo courtesy of Jennie Runk

By erasing the term "plus size," we are taking a huge step backwards from the progress we've worked so hard to achieve. We're finally starting to see size diversity in the fashion industry, and that's amazing! Plus size models are beginning to walk the runway and grace the covers of magazines. Through social media, plus size fashion bloggers are given a platform to showcase their unique style and share their fashion tips, connecting with millions of followers. 

Yet, by erasing the categorization that has given us this platform (and models like myself a job), we are telling the fashion industry that we shouldn't be celebrated for what we are: plus size. 

In the fashion industry, models are categorized between "straight" and "plus," which are typically sizes 0-4 and 10-14 respectively. In most traditional clothing stores, plus size models can fit into the largest sizes available. But it's outside the fashion industry where this really matters. 

Plus size women, some of whom don't fit into any clothing in mainstream stores, lose out if we abolish the term that describes them. These beautiful, plus sized women, who live in, beautiful, plus sized bodies of various shapes and sizes, will lose the only visibility and inclusion the media has provided them for a long time. If we drop the plus from the fashion industry, we are also dropping plus-size women from the body positivity movement. 

Photo courtesy of Jennie Runk
Photo courtesy of Jennie Runk

I consider myself a plus sized woman; I am 5'10" with a 45" hip measurement. I'm larger than most of my friends. And while I can often find clothes outside the "plus section," I will never drop the plus. I am big. I am large. I am beautiful. I am unique. I am proud and happy to be who I am, inside and out. I strive to be a role model and representative of other plus size women and I will never turn my back on this community. 

Plus size women: I see you. You deserve plus size fashion and the recognition that you are beautiful at every size

Jennie Runk is an American model represented by JAG Models in New York. She recently starred in the H&M summer swimwear campaign and graced the April cover of Marie Claire France. Outside of modeling, Jennie is an avid reader and video gamer, as well as a beauty aficionado.