The F Word

I wonder if French Cosmopolitan has ever seen a plus-size woman.  Legend has it that French women don’t get fat, and neither, it appears, do the ‘plus-size models’ they choose to adorn their magazines. Laura Catterall is a stunning, radiant 22-year-old model who has already walked for Mark Fast and been shot for Marie Claire and Sunday Times Style: her qualifications as a model are indisputable. Her plus-size status, however, is another matter. If there was no written indication on Cosmo’s front cover that Laura was in any way bigger than ‘average’, it is debatable how many people would notice at all. She looks like your average toned, hourglass model, except with bigger breasts. No abundant flesh, no hint of excess fat, just a beautiful woman without the conspicuous thigh-gap we are used to seeing in women’s magazines.

We weren’t even allowed to see Adele’s body when she was Vogue UK’s covergirl last October. US Vogue was barely any better with their March cover featuring the British sensation: cut off mid-bust, and airbrushed to oblivion. Although she was was shot in all her resplendent glory for Ebony, who deigned to show her whole body, Oscar nominee Gabby Sidibe got the same treatment on US Elle’s October 2010 cover (with the addition of something even more insidious: skin-lightening).

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