Have you ever noticed that your jeans have a wild variety of sizes ranging anywhere from a 6 to a 12? Maybe one day you feel cute in a crop top, and the next you feel like all your clothes are too small? You’re not a size 2, but you’re not a 16? Some of your tops are Smalls, some are Medium, some are Larges? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be midsized.
What Counts as Midsized?
Midsize bodies are categorized anywhere from a size 8 to a 14, which are all normal, average sizes that now seem much larger than they actually are, thanks to the fashion industry, social media, and some of our favorite celebrities. There is a size 00 everywhere we look the runway, the movies, television, Instagram and any retailer’s website. We have normalized shapes and proportions that are, for many people, unnatural or unhealthy, and demonized any size bigger than a 4 or a 6.
Being midsized can be tricky. One day an outfit looks great on you, the next you can’t even stand to look at yourself in it. You don’t feel as thin as your size 2 friends, but you don’t feel right talking to your plus size friends about feeling uncomfortable with your size. You’re not necessarily overweight, but you’re not necessarily conventionally skinny, either. You know all the angles that make you look the thinnest, you’ve adapted your wardrobe to all the waistlines, crops, hems and cuts that accentuate your figure, and you only post the pictures on Insta of your good side after you’ve edited them to look around the same size as your friends.
Navigating clothes and fashion as a midsized person can be equally tricky. You know you have more options than plus-sized people, but the clothes don’t look the same on you as they do on the model. Sometimes a Medium is too small, but a Large is too big and there isn’t any in-between. If you’re on the bustier end of the spectrum, you know better than to even try a shirt that you’ve seen look right on someone who’s not.
Very seldom are there actually any midsized people that people know are midsized. So many of the influencers and celebrities we follow are the conventionally skinny bodies we have become so obsessed with, and nobody ever seems to post anything where they look less than their skinniest selves. We never seem to see an “average” body that hasn’t been edited or retouched.
While midsize people do not necessarily face the fat-shaming and fatphobia or carry the same stigma that plus-sized bodies do, it’s still important that all body types receive representation. Every person, everybody, is beautiful and worthy of love, no matter what size they are.
The Skinny Stigma
The body positivity movement, which was started to embrace all shapes and sizes, has not done a very good job of normalizing all bodies. While it originally highlighted plus-sized bodies, many smaller people began to overwhelm it by posting pictures where they looked “bloated,” or simply not put to their usual standard of skinniness, from angles that were clearly not their best, but still showed that they were, in fact, thin. A movement intended for bodies that lack representation was taken over by bodies that are actively represented across all platforms.
Midsized bodies are grossly underrepresented across the fashion industry as a whole. Whether it’s editorial, runway or commercial fashion, very rarely are the models midsize, or anywhere near a “normal” person’s size. All of them are thin, slender and look exactly like every other model we have seen in the last 20 years. There are, of course, the occasional exceptions, such as Tyra Banks and Ashley Graham, but the “occasional exception” doesn’t equate to inclusivity or representation of women of all shapes and sizes.
One of the most devastating, disappointing days for midsize women was the day it was released that Victoria’s Secret’s idea of a “plus-sized” person was a size 8. Victoria’s Secret has notoriously faced backlash for years regarding their lack of plus-sized models and sizes, but they fell from grace after blatantly refusing to use plus-sized models in their annual fashion show, resulting in the cancellation of their show as a whole.
It wasn’t until Rihanna launched Savage X Fenty, her lingerie line, in 2017, that plus and midsized bodies were seen on the runway or in photoshoots consistently by a brand. This was one of the first real examples of inclusivity and body positivity in the fashion industry. As monumental as this was, very few (if any) other lines or brands have made this kind of effort to include larger bodies in their campaigns or fashion shows. This may have been one massive step in the right direction, but it was still only one step.
The midsize community has now found a new platform to surf the new wave of the body positive movement on (where else?) TikTok.
Actual Body Positivity in Practice
As TikTok rises in popularity, and hundreds of thousands of creators post videos, the options for content are limitless and can get incredibly niche. This has opened the door for many TikTok creators to share their experiences as a midsized person, and in return, thousands of midsized people have finally found somebody who looks like them. As midsized women appear on their FYP doing a haul or talking about buying clothes that fit their bodies, other women are suddenly recognizing that their size is perfectly normal and beautiful.
TikTokers such as @shelbyhines2, @imnotbunny, @skylerreese and @officialmacrose have made videos talking about their lives as midsized women, doing try-ons and hauls of clothes, and spreading body positivity on the newest platform to join the movement.
#Midsize on TikTok has over 220 million posts of every shape and size, ranging from swimsuit videos to posing tips, pep talks and encouraging words to clothing brands to shop from as a midsize person. This app has allowed and created an entirely new meaning of body positivity and representation, as midsize people everywhere can see beautiful bodies that look like theirs and find acceptance and self-love.
As content creators with midsize bodies have posted videos about what it feels like to go shopping, to wear a bikini and open up about struggling with their size, more midsize people have felt recognized and comfortable in their skin as they finally get some real representation. Even just seeing another midsized person in a swimsuit, a dress, or an outfit they never even dreamt of wearing out of fear that it wouldn’t look right on their body.
As more content is made to celebrate midsized bodies, midsized people are finally starting to see the representation and love they have long been missing.