The Plus Size Debacle
We all know and love Calvin Klein. From Marky Mark’s eyebrow-raising nineties ads (*fans self*), to the #MyCalvins movement that has been sweeping the nation one Instagram at a time, the Calvin Klein label has always been regarded as image risk-takers—the more risqué the better. But when Myla Dalbesio, the newest model to join Calvin Klein’s trademark advertising campaign (who just so happens to be a perfectly healthy size 10), sat down for an interview with Elle magazine, things just got out of hand.
Soon, the twitterverse was seething with scorned comments berating Calvin Klein for calling Dalbesio “plus size.” But there’s just one problem: Calvin Klein never said that Dalbesio was plus size. In fact, in the interview with Elle, Dalbesio was the only one alluding to her bigger (for fashion industry standards) size. “I’m not the biggest girl on the market but I’m definitely bigger than all the girls [Calvin Klein] has ever worked with, so that is really intimidating,” Dalbesio told the magazine. “No one even batted an eye.”
In a recent statement Calvin Klein said that “these images are intended to communicate that our new line is more inclusive and available in several silhouettes in an extensive range of sizes.” But, of course, people were swift to voice their judgments based on Dalbesio’s somewhat misleading advert (she is seen grabbing at her stomach as if to draw attention to it), without understanding the whole story.
Klein is not the only label to go under body image and model scrutiny. Just last month, Victoria’s Secret faced major backlash for its “The Perfect Body” tagline—for its new Body bra line. After Twitter added fire to the issue, creating the hashtag #IAmPerfect, Victoria’s Secret swiftly modified the tagline to the less embroiling “A Body for Everybody.”
Has social media made us too quick to scrutinize brands on body issues because of the way the industry has worked (and arguably still does) in the past? Or is it finally time that someone (never mind everyone with a smartphone) has said something?
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Juliane DeGiovine is a magazine hoarder and rom-com fanatic. In her spare time she can be found watching Friends reruns and obsessing over Ryan Gosling. Lover of dark chocolate and YA novels (please don't judge her).