Two weeks ago I went down to Times Square for the #PlusIsEqual event. I’ll be honest, since there was nothing shared as to what the even actually was, I had considered not going at all. In the end I took the day off and made my way to the city all the while expecting coupons, or even an announcement of an affordable line offered by the brand once I got there. I got none of that.
Having stood there for those 2 hours listening to speeches that varied from inspiring to mildly insulting, it left my mother and I totally unimpressed. For one thing it was a lot of talk which obviously gave the entire thing the air of being a marketing ploy. (Which it really was.) From the shirts that were not sized for the targeted audience to having no clear direction, it was an overall disaster. Was it supposed to be a pep rally, an body positive/empowerment panel or something else? Even the people promoting the event onsite kept referring to it as a “free concert.”
In the end it wasn’t a concert, a fashion show, or even a press conference and it wasn’t consistently empowering as I believe they intended for it to be.By now many people already know about the comedian’s opening comments of the event about having lost 85 pounds. Now I am all for celebrating personal weight-loss goals, but to do so at such an event implies the following: “I was fat too. You guys are fat now and that’s cool though you really should probably consider losing a few pounds.” It wasn’t funny, it was very inappropriate. Even as the event was winding down I stood there in anticipation for…something. Anything that would make me feel that this was worthwhile.
The one positive though was that I got to spend the afternoon around some beautiful women who want to see changes in media representation as much as I do. It was surreal to be able to be in the same place as bloggers I admire and follow. Women behind blogs like Musings of A Curvy Lady, The Militant Baker, La Pecosa Preciosa, Manfattan, Curvily and Suits, Heels & Curves, to name a few. Sure I didn’t talk to most of them (due to being intimated, I’m still a “baby blogger” compared to them), yet this gave me the sense that collectively we hold a lot of power to what can happen.
Though they failed in the execution of this movement, I do have to give Lane Bryant credit, for they did open up the conversation and we can keep it going by making the movement what WE want it to be. Movements, especially social media campaign movements, are only as strong as those who participate in it, not those who “create” it. The internet has helped to make these movements reach all parts of the world and there is enough of us to see changes we want and make them a reality. Ultimately we bring the social change. So let us generate and maintain the true message behind #PlusIsEqual.
#ThisIsPlus is not to negate or deny that the ladies in the #PlusIsEqual ad are not plus size, but to share the message that you must have diversity (beyond the “acceptable” hourglass body type) for true plus size representation. I am by no means the face of what it is to be “truly plus size,” yet I am just ONE height, plus body type and size (16/18) that has yet to be circulated in major media mediums and needs to be included.
So what do you think? Should we drop the #PlusIsEqual campaign solely because of the failure of this campaign launch event? OR should we take on the mantle and make it our own?
About this series: “My Two Cents” is a personal opinion series dealing with observed industry practices as well as society’s accepted concepts on body/self love and standards of beauty. It is meant to spark discussion on issues which I have deemed in need of addressing. Any ideas for discussion are welcomed and may be made in the comments or via the contact page.
Thanks for reading!