So the word war rages on…. For the longest time I have chosen to keep my opinion out of the whole word war between Plus Size VS Curvy. Models like Toccara Jones, Marquita Pring, and others have all spoken out on the matter and echoed the sentiment of how most (not all) professional plus size or curvy women feel about the matter. I didn’t feel a need to charm in with my little tidbits because everything that needed to be said was said by the right people. As the popularity of CURVY Magazine grows so does criticisms. Lately I have received quite a few very open, honest, opinions and criticisms about CURVY Magazine and the use of the word CURVY in it self. One side of the scale I have received glowing emails and phone calls from top industry professionals (straight and plus size) praising our efforts and strides with CURVY Magazine. Now the other side of the scale….well let’s just say its a love and hate relationship.
CURVY Magazine wasn’t made for the “industry” nor was it made just for the “Plus Size” industry. Its a honor to receive praises from influential professionals but we focus on 62% of the population. Honestly, why I choose the name CURVY for our mag is simply because in mainstream media any woman with curves no matter the size is considered fat. I got into this discussion when I attended the ’11 Sun Dance Film Festival. Most industry professionals I met at the film fest agreed the true issue is not actual size or weight it’s our curves. One of the producers I met from Fashion Rocks told me “Yes having hips, thighs, a bum, or any curves that MAKES you a REAL WOMAN makes you fat. They (industry) say boy bodies is easier to deal with. We need a magazine like this”. Sadly I have heard that sentiment many times. Side note: During the film fest quite a few actors, directors, and crew members from various films flirted with my friend and me. And we are both very PLUS SIZE so there you go!
Stars like J-Lo, Christina Hendricks, Christina Aguilera, and others have all been called at one time or another FAT. JLO is my favorite example because the diva was in single digits sizes with a boo-tay but yet media made her figure (curves) a running joke for a while. No matter the size every CURVY woman is experiencing the same thing and dealing with the same issues. I think that is the reason products like Spanx is pretty much a house hold item. All these reasons is why the word CURVY was chosen to title our magazine. CURVY Magazine exist solely to bring the life of today’s average size woman full circle with relevant issues, information, and entertainment.
Now you have heard OUR side! Lets explore the other side. I want to introduce you to one of our readers named “Elisa”. Elisa sent us a very interesting opinion letter about CURVY Magazine and the use of the word CURVY. Read it in its entirety and give us honest feed back on the matter thanks!
I’m a fat woman who loves to see pics of other fat women in great fashion spreads, wearing fun clothing and reading about style tips and accessories from plus size designers. I love that your online magazine is promoting those things and I think we need to see more of it both online and in print. What I have a problem with, however, is the name of your magazine, “Curvy.” I see the word “curvy” used as a euphemism for fat women so often in print, in advertising, and on size positive blogs and websites. I’ve also seen it used by men on dating websites, especially fat friendly dating websites, to describe a particular body shape: fat women with more proportional, hourglass body shapes, with hips and shoulders in even proportion, wider in comparison to their waistline. In fact, in my experience on fat friendly dating sites, the word “curvy” has become a code word for men who are looking for women with that particular body shape. They’re not willing to date fat women with other body shapes; only a proportional body shape and smaller waistline will do.
It seems that the editors of “Curvy” magazine are using the word in the way so many other advertisers and websites do – as a euphemism for fat. My issue with the word “curvy” being used in that way is that not all fat women are curvy. I’m a fat woman who isn’t curvy. I have a flat ass and slimmer hips, with broader shoulders and carry most of my weight in my torso, in my boobs and tum. My body shape is not particularly proportional (meaning, my shoulders are not in proportion to my hips)… but yet I’m fat. I don’t see my body shape as any better or worse than the bodies of other fat women, but it’s not “curvy.” And I know I’m not the only fat woman out there who does not have a “curvy” body. So not only is my body shape not the preferred body shape on many fat friendly dating sites, it’s also not represented by the word “curvy.”
If you want your online magazine to be relatable to women with a lot of different fat body shapes, not just “curvy” ones, I might consider changing the name. I don’t like to support advertisers, retail stores, magazines or gyms who think the word “curvy” is relatable to all fat people. And I know I’m not the only fat person who feels that way. I generally use the word fat to describe my body, since fat is simply a descriptive term, like tall, thin, curly hair, brown eyes. But I know not everyone is on board with reclaiming the word fat to describe fat bodies and fat people because we’ve all been taught for years that the word has negative connotations. I was an avid reader of Mode, Grace and Figure magazines, all plus size style magazines, and I loved the fact that the magazine titles were relatable to people with different body shapes. I might suggest going in that direction, although I’d personally avoid words like “diva,” “goddess,” and anything with “queen” in it. Just because a woman is fat doesn’t mean she’s a “diva” or sees herself as a larger-than-life “goddess” or “queen.” I actually find those terms a little derogatory to fat women and prefer terms that don’t single fat women out as being any different than women of other sizes. (“Real women” is an awful term, too. Are thinner women any less real than we are because we’re bigger? Ugh.)
Anyway, I thought I’d express my feelings about the word “curvy” used as a magazine title specifically focused on fat women. Take them or leave them as you see fit. But keep in mind that you won’t be earning my readership and the readership of many other fat people who don’t like the term “curvy” as a euphemism for fat. If you decide to change it, I’ll definitely give you my time.
You can send me your opinions and feed back about curvy magazine to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may end up in the next “From the Editor”.
Digital Marketing Expert (15yrs+). Editor of CURVY Magazine. Award Winning Producer. Geek. Stylenista.