Amy Schumer Upset With ‘Glamour:’ Does ‘Attractive’ In The U.S. Only Mean Insanely Thin?

The conversation about Amy Schumer’s reaction to being used in a “plus size” Glamour magazine issue has spread across social media, but what does this say about the general perception of what deems a woman attractive in the U.S.? And where is the more important conversation about weight and health, and how the fashion industry doesn’t help readers with self-image?

Real Bodies

Amy Schumer has stated there is “nothing wrong with being plus size,” yet she is not pleased that young girls might see her body type and think of it as plus-sized when it is not. Schumer says she weighs about 160 pounds and wears a size 6-8, which is smaller than industry standards in America that have plus sizes at 16 and over. The average American woman is a size 14, and the CDC says the average woman is almost 5-feet, 4-inches tall and 166 pounds. That puts public figures such as Adele, Rebel Wilson, and Melissa McCarthy in the “average” size arena, and they want everyone to know how comfortable they are in their bodies.

Sizes of clothing vary by store, brand name, and clothing item. You can go in one store for jeans that say a size 6 and the exact same pair will be labeled a size 4 in another store, or even a size 8 (if they’re behind the curve) in another store. There is no standard clothing size, like there is no standard body size, type, or shape.

Glamour magazine said it was celebrating “women who inspire us,” Time reported, even though they admitted it was aimed at women sized 12 and over. Ashley Graham, a model and body activist, has been featured in many “plus size” modeling campaigns but, like Schumer and others, also expresses displeasure at the label, says People. “It shouldn’t be about labels. I don’t want to be called a label, I want to be called a model.

Fake Sizes

Although Schumer sometimes wears a size 6, that same size in the eighties is now considered a size 1. The blame for the gradual change in sizes — appropriately called “vanity sizing,” and only for women’s clothing, it should be noted — has been placed squarely on the fashion industry’s shoulders. However, the industry only made the changes (in supply) in response to continued outcry from female consumers (demand) complaining about their body size.

At first glance, it seems logical that there are only two choices if you don’t like the size of clothing you wear: make yourself smaller, or buy larger clothes. But the fashion industry came up with the not-so-secret, secret third option: change the size of the clothing so the consumer thinks she is wearing a smaller size. She’ll feel better about herself and continue to buy those products. The Washington Post published a graphic that illustrates “the insanity of women’s clothing sizes.

Extremes and Health: The Struggle is Real

At Amy Schumer’s 160 pounds, her weight to height ratio might be just fine. But, the CDC says 71 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Carrying too much body weight for your height is unhealthy and can lead to any number of medical issues such as diabetes. In 2014, the national average of adults who had diabetes was 9.3 percent. In Bexar County, Texas, for example, mySA reported that the percentage of adults who had diabetes jumped to 14.2 percent— higher than the Texas average of 10.6 percent and much higher than the national average.

But, being unhealthy with too much on your frame is equally as bad as being unhealthy with too little on your frame. Especially where younger models are concerned, American advertisers are well-known for using rail-thin models in their advertising. In the early 1990s, there were waves of outcries against the “heroin chic” look of models that looked so thin and gaunt. Last year, the New York Times reported, the French Parliament prohibited modeling agencies from hiring models that were too thin and required that altered photos of models should be labeled.

And just yesterday, Britain ruled that an ad created by Gucci was “irresponsible” because the model looked “unhealthily thin”. These measures were intended, New York Times reported, to prevent young and vulnerable models from being pressed into becoming excessively thin and to protect against the pressures that lead to anorexia, a very real threat in this kind of career.

There is a healthy median, though, and Jennifer Lawrence, who has used her voice to bring attention to this topic just as her friend Schumer has, spoke out about it in her interview with Harpers Bazaar. “I would like us to make a new normal-body type,” she says. “I think we’ve gotten so used to underweight that when you are a normal weight it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, she’s curvy.’ Which is crazy.”

Amy Schumer posed nearly nude late last year for the 2016 Pirelli calendar, Time reported, joining several celebrities and public figures who posed for famous photographer Annie Liebowitz. As part of Schumer’s continuing desire to hold a mirror up “to the inordinate value placed on women’s appearance,” she boldly took another step in the right direction, reminding readers everywhere that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not on a label somewhere.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

Share this article: Amy Schumer Upset With ‘Glamour:’ Does ‘Attractive’ In The U.S. Only Mean Insanely Thin?
More from Inquisitr