The so-called “plus size” issue of Glamour hit newsstands this week, and its cover was like a who’s who of public figures that purport to inspire “body confidence” at any (but mostly larger) sizes: Melissa McCarthy, Adele, plus-size model Ashley Graham, and Amy Schumer. The comedienne was not particularly pleased at her inclusion—she goes between a size 6 and 8, she wrote on Instagram in response, adding she was not even informed of her inclusion in the issue, which, in and of itself, is a situation that lends itself to the abandonment of all known rules of public relations. (If I were Schumer’s publicist, I’d be mighty peeved about this; what’s the point of working in public relations if you can’t send your client things you had nothing to do with getting a day in advance to say, “Look! I’m doing my job and all those dollars you pay me!”)
But it’s not just the lack of notification that bothers Schumer; it’s the implication that she, like McCarthy, Adele, and Graham, are deemed “plus size,” like a beauty stain, to begin with.
I think there's nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8. @glamourmag put me in their plus size only issue without asking or letting me know and it doesn't feel right to me. Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamourous
Glamour editor-in-chief Cindy Leive immediately responded with a semi-garbled statement about how much they all love Amy and how she reminds her of empowerment and inspiration and “body positivity.” This has nothing to do with her size, honestly! That didn’t even for a moment cross Leive’s mind because they don’t even see body type when they’re coming up with a list of famous women to mention on the cover of their “plus-size” issue.
Please. I’m with Amy on this one.
I believe Schumer’s inclusion on the Glamour cover is the result of the fact that a slew of magazine editors—who in their own right are supposed to be “thought leaders” and “trailblazers,” what with the power of the visibility at their fingertips—have been systematically conditioned by the industry in which they work to consider that any woman who wears anything over a size 2 is, irredeemably, oversized, and therefore, fat. I have fallen victim to the same systematic conditioning and I suspect that Amy has as well.
By this plus-sized logic, Schumer is a bit fat. Maybe not as fat as Melissa McCarthy, the third-highest grossing female star of 2015. Maybe not as fat as Adele, whose latest album, 25, broke virtually every sales record it has come across, and is arguably the most beautiful and talented woman in the world. Still, in this world of plus-sized nomenclature, Schumer’s body is still fat enough for her name to come up at the editorial brainstorming session about “body-positive role models” rather than, say, the body of Keira Knightley.
Nobody likes hearing that, no matter how successful or confident they may be. To paraphrase a lyric from “At the Ballet” in A Chorus Line: curvy’ is good but it sure isn’t skinny/ Skinny is what it’s about.
And that’s a problem. Because the truth is, the only way to ultimately destroy women’s constant anxiety over their body type is to stop making it an issue, literally. A person’s body size should not have a value judgment placed on it. It’s not good or bad, it just is. Just like the fact that some people are tall and some people are short, and some people have blonde hair and some people have black hair, and some people need glasses and some don’t. True body positivity won’t come for women until our dress sizes have about as much meaning in terms of our value as our shoe sizes—which nobody ever bothers to ask about anyway (mine’s a 7.5, in case you’re wondering.) Amy Schumer may be a size 6, or sometimes a size 8, but who the hell cares? Where is the “Brain Issue” of Glamour, or the “Talent Issue” or the “Work Ethic Issue?” Because those are the ones that Schumer—or any of these women, “curvy” or otherwise—should be gracing. That might not be Glamour. But at least it would be true.
In the meantime, they can go fly a kite.
Previous: Amy Schumer Takes on Gun Violence
Why Amy Schumer Is the Future of Comedy
Amy Schumer Satirized the Rite of Visiting Holocaust Memorials—and Nailed It
Show Me the Money: Amy Schumer Inks Lucrative Book Deal