Our generation is experiencing a movement in which women are challenging restrictive and harmful beauty standards the media enforces upon us. All across social media, we’ve seen plus-sized girls rocking bathing suits, “average-sized” women claiming Hollywood success, and we’ve even witnessed a few magazines open up to featuring girls who aren’t a size two.

women's mag



But black women and other women of color do not experience the same openness from audiences to our diverse body types. Just as there are strict beauty standards that white women must conform to in the media, there are even stricter standards that women of color must conform to. The media has been slow to accepting white women of different sizes, but has been even slower to accepting women of color who don’t conform to our society’s unrealistic ideals of beauty.

For example, let’s take a look at the young, successful black women that are popular in the media.



Kerry Washington

Lupita Nyong’o


These four women are some of the most popular representatives of black women in the media. However, they are in no way representative of most black women.

Specifically, we allow ourselves to cast Beyoncé as a representation of extreme curviness when her curves are relatively modest compared to the curves some women have. We say Beyoncé is so bootylicious, even though her butt isn’t as big as ours or our cousins might be. And please, Beyonce’s thighs aren’t even that “thick.”

If black women are to be in the Hollywood limelight or to grace the covers of various magazines, they are only allowed to either have modest curves or very slender bodies. However, when black women have bigger curves they are deemed “hyper-sexualized” and audiences are blinded by their natural beauty. And black plus-sized actresses’ time in the Hollywood spotlight is often short lived or their value overlooked by people who ignore their talent.

Gabourey Sidibe

So When Will Black Plus-Sized Models and Curvier Black Icons Become a Thing?

As plus-sized models like Tess Holliday slowly get their chance to shine, we must ask when will we finally open the same doors to black, Asian, and Latina plus-sized models? And as actresses like Amy Schumer and Christina Hendricks get a shot at Hollywood success despite not complying to Hollywood’s ridiculous beauty standards, we must ask, “where are all the black actress who aren’t smaller than a size four?”

Just as it is detrimental to grow up seeing our society devalue black beauty, is also detrimental to not see average or plus-sized women who bear some kind of resemblance to us considered beautiful by the public eye. Seeing white plus-sized models won’t satisfy our requests. We need to see black women of diverse body types. The movement to embrace and love our bodies even though we do not comply to society’s beauty standards must celebrate all women, including women of color.

Therefore, let’s recognize these beautiful women who are challenging beauty standards and make sure they become a bigger part in this movement. Follow these blogs for inspiration and support the beautiful women who run them along the way.

1.  Gabi Fresh


2. Fat Shopaholic


3. And I Get Dressed

and i get dressed

4. Stylish Curves

stylish curves
plus size princess

7. Garner Style 


8. Luvin’ My Curves 


9. Everything Curvy and Chic


10. Ivory Jinelle

These beautiful women are living proof that black beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes. So why does mainstream media allow a selected few white plus-sized models to grace the covers of magazines but doesn’t offer the same to black plus-sized models? We can do our part to demand inclusion by supporting these women and sharing the great work they do. Some of them collaborate and design clothing lines that actually cater to women of fuller figures, and they all provide all sorts of advice and prove to the world that fuller-figured women are fashionable. These women inspire and uplift us when mainstream media resists black plus-sized beauty icons.

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