A couple of days ago, I was scrolling through the sales section of Boohoo when a dress caught my eye. Not particularly standing out from the rest, I clicked into it, and then realised it was plus sized. With raised eyebrows I inspected the model, who was no more than a size 12, while whispering “what the fuck?” to myself multiple times. When I clicked into the “Details and Care” section, it said “Model Wears UK 16” and the cursing started again. You could see this girls collarbones and her arms were about half the size of mine, there wasn’t a hope in hell that she was a size 16.
Seeing that made me think okay, Boohoo clearly use models in a smaller size to what they’re claiming, and last week I got some confirmation of that. I ordered a denim dungaree dress from my Festival Fashion Wishlist post, and because I’m a size 10, that’s what I ordered. Out of curiosity, I decided to check what size they were claiming the model was. When I saw “UK 10”, I was annoyed. Not even because she was definitely smaller than that, but because I knew I’d have to return the dress, reorder it, and it wouldn’t be here in time for Knockanstockan. Cue my disbelief when it arrived and fit me perfectly. For a moment I was flattered, and then I realised there was no way I was as skinny as the model.
After looking around on Boohoo’s website, I found some more pictures of the model (right). As you can see, she has washboard abs and her hips are teeny tiny. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have the hips of a woman who’s just given birth to triplets. Big hips aren’t a bad thing by any means, but they make it a pain in the ass when it comes to buying dresses. Not to mention the fact that I probably have about five more inches of fat on my belly than she does too (sorry to be gross, but it’s the truth). There isn’t a hope in hell that this model is wearing a size 10 in this picture, or in the picture of the dungarees, because I’m at least one size bigger than her, if not two. I wouldn’t have been able to squeeze my birthing hips into the dungarees otherwise.
Getting back to the plus-sized models argument, let’s look at two different girls. First up, we have “Model A”, who is wearing a size 16 according to Boohoo. (Sorry that the pictures are blurry!)
Okay for one, you can see this girl’s abs in one of these pictures. As I said before, I’m a size 10 and her belly is much, much flatter than mine. To me, this looks like a sporty girl. You know the type, girls who play football and have really toned, strong bodies. Also known as, normal sized girls. People might disagree, but her collarbones are jutting out and I really can’t see how she’s more than a size 12.
Next up, we have “Model B” who Boohoo also claim to be a size 16. This one really, really irritated me because this girl is skinnier than me, and there’s no way that I’m a size 16 or (if I’m bigger than her) a size 18.
Her arms are like twigs, she has a flat belly, her legs are pretty slim and her collarbones are jutting out. Size 16? I don’t think so. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a size 16; if you’re happy with your body then that’s perfect. But to say that this girl is a size 16 when she’s clearly not is sending out the wrong message to young girls, who are probably the same size as her and wearing a size 10. They’re going to notice that they’re the same size as her, and convince themselves that they’re plus-sized. The average size for a woman in Ireland is a size 14, so in reality, they’re far from plus-sized.
“Plus-sized” tends to be for bigger, curvier ladies. So the message Boohoo are sending out is, “If I look like this, I’m big” when in reality, a lot of these girls are normal sized, and some are quite thin. There are fifteen year old girls who use this site, and it makes me think back to what my mind frame was like when I was that age.
When I was fifteen, I was convinced that I was fat. Huge, morbidly obese, enormous. I was 5ft 2ins and I weighed 7 stone and 2lbs. I was absolutely tiny, but my view was so distorted because of images of models and celebrities that I was looking at, and I thought I was fat. I’m two stone heavier than this now, and I wouldn’t consider myself as fat, so I don’t know where I was going at all when I was fifteen. Looking back at pictures, I looked like I was about to snap in half at any given moment. Again, there’s nothing wrong with being this weight if you’re happy and healthy, but I don’t think it was a healthy weight for me.
My point is that young girls are easily led, and their opinion of what’s “fat” and what’s “skinny” can be easily distorted. Although I’m eighteen now and I can rationalise that Boohoo are wrong, I wouldn’t have seen it that way when I was younger. The only way that this can change is if we make complaints to Boohoo, which I have done already, because frankly it’s making girls everywhere feel like shit.