Tue 4th Jul 2023

Is The Plus Size Community Diverse Enough? 

In recent years,the plus size community and body positive movement seemed to be a step in the right direction towards the diversity we see in model representation, mainstream media and social media platforms. 

Proudly flaunting their very real and un airbrushed bodies in bras and swimsuits, it seemed that finally, companies were embracing change and that inclusive attitude was reflective in their inclusive campaigns, catwalks and faces of their brands.

Blogger and body positive activist Michelle Elman in maxi dress
Michelle Elman in denim jacket and animal print dress

But blogger and body positive activist Michelle Elman AKA Scarred Not Scared, has noticed that the community may not be that inclusive after all. The absence of plus size Asian women in the community is something that needs addressing, which Michelle did in this Instagram post back in March of this year.

After a recent trip to Hong Kong, Michelle spoke out about the lack of diversity in the plus size community when it comes to the representation of plus size Asian women.
""So, I spoke out. In an Instagram post, I asked my followers to tag UK plus-size Asian accounts" said Michelle. "Hours and over 3000 likes later, only four other people could be found. It exactly proved my point: that Asian women are practically non-existent in this community. Inspect the Instagram accounts of most plus-size brands and you won’t find a single Asian woman. "

While Michelle makes a valid point, and there is still work to be done when it comes to the visibility of plus size Asian women, these plus size bloggers and models are paving the way and making their voices heard.

Taylor T

Taylor T in red dress

"Taylor Tak is a Korean plus size model who is making it her mission to smash through unrealistic beauty standards. A native of South Korea where plus size visibility is scarce, Taylor wants to let other plus size women know in Korea that they aren't alone. She says, "I want us plus-size women in Korea to rise up and dare to say it — dare to say that we accept ourselves."

With the diet culture in Korea being so obsessive and damaging, Taylor spent endless summers and winters in "diet schools" from the age of 10, where she would exercise for hours and hours and was restricted to 1000 calories a day. 

Of the diet culture in Korea, Taylor says "It’s not about curves like boobs or butts. It’s just about being thin. It’s not even just young girls or young men. It’s middle-aged men and women, old people — grandmas and grandpas. They’re all watching their waistlines."

“I want to inspire women and let them know that they are not alone. I want them to know that you don’t have to hide anymore and you don’t have to feel like you are the worst.”  

Scarlett Hao

Blogger Scarlett Hao in denim jumpsuit

A plus size blogger hailing from China and based in New York, Scarlett Hao wants to change people's perception of the traditional image of what Chinese women should look like. With a 165k strong following on Instagram alone, Scarlett showcases her bold style un apologetically and proves that style really has no size."

"As a Chinese woman, I grew up with the Asian beauty standard 'the more skinny the more beautiful you are.' That challenged me to identify my own beauty since I was a young girl. But that also pushed me to keep discovering my beauty from more angles and learning how to love myself.” 

"Like Michelle, Scarlett is keen to increase the visibility of plus size Asian women, both in the fashion industry and as a customer base. She says, ""My Chinese culture made me stand up for the Asian women to be body positive and add a new voice to the global curvy/plus-size industry."

"I am happy to see more and more brands to realize they need to include Asian customers to their market demographics and willing to put efforts to reach out to Asian target audiences. I would love to become the bridge to open more doors for both sides.”  

Whilst the plus size industry celebrates diversity and inclusivity and the body positive community is going from strength to strength, it's important to recognise that there is still work to be done going forward!