Crystal Renn is the former anorexic model, turned plus size model, author of the book ‘Hungry‘ and general spokeswoman for keeping yourself healthy in this pressurized, skinny-idolizing day and age. In the last few months, she has caused tongues to start wagging by slimming down again. She’s currently being criticized for looking too thin. In recent photos, she appears much less soft and curvy than she had been. The blogs are crying, “Feed Crystal Renn!”
Harper's Bazaar, December 2010
I have to admit, this whole debate really pisses me off. I feel for Renn. It can’t be easy or pleasant to have people feverishly tracking every pound you gain or lose. (I know how hard it is when you’re just tracking it yourself!) I suppose you could say that she opened herself up to scrutiny by writing her book and taking the pro-size acceptance stance that she proudly adopted; but it would be nice if people just left her alone and let her settle into whatever size she’s happy at. She’s a gorgeous woman and it really doesn’t matter what dress size she’s currently wearing. She was a size 12 in the bathing suit photo below, which is considered “plus size” but look at her, she couldn’t be considered big by any stretch of the imagination. It’s such a joke.
It’s like we look at weight as this big fairy tale. Be thin, be happy. Or accept yourself, be happy. But it isn’t that way. You can love yourself, be happy, and still find your weight changes, purposefully or not. You can feel good and still desire to change. Weight loss isn’t always a positive thing, but it isn’t always a destructive thing either.
And I have a real issue with all these ridiculous labels. “Plus size” and “full figured” and “straight size”…where the hell do the “mid size” girls fit in? Why do we have to be categorized? When did “normal” become the new overweight? And what about those of us who fluctuate? As somebody who has been all over the spectrum as far as weight and size go, I find these kind of labels insulting. As I’ve gotten older, I have certainly found a “comfortable” weight at which I’m healthy and I feel good. That’s not to say that I don’t still go up and down a few pounds every now and then, depending what’s going on in my life. I know now that being healthy is more important than being super skinny, but sometimes it can become overwhelmingly challenging to keep my head on straight. It’s frightening how easily we can become brainwashed into thinking that we have to look a certain way to be attractive.
Example: As I write this blog post, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is on the television in front of me. There’s an endless line of teeny, tiny women with perfect tits and legs for days parading down a runway wearing shiny bras and panties. Queue insecurity. Queue self loathing. Queue eating disorders across North America.
Photo: Daemon's TV
I think what I love about Crystal Renn is that she’s honest- no matter what size she is. She admits that it isn’t easy and that she struggles just like a lot of us do. I hate that one body type is ever considered “mainstream.” I don’t want “plus size” to become the new ideal. I’d like to see us take on the attitude that there are women of all different shapes and sizes who are beautiful. You have to think too, there are women who are naturally a size 2 – and you can’t forget them, that’s discrimination the other way. All women bring something different to the table and we have to appreciate everyone.
Right now, you might see a runway show with all these girls who are size zeros and twos, and then one who’s a size 14 or 16 — that means you really notice size. Well, imagine a runway show where you see all different types: petite, tall, small, medium, large…everybody’s in there. You’re just going to see beautiful women. There would be no more weight debate. That’s my vision for this industry; that one day fashion can be a place of diversity. I guess you could say it’s quite grandiose, but I don’t care. I have to believe that what I say matters.