Yesterday I bashed beauty pageants. Today I want to share a short documentary about them. There She Is is a film about plus size beauty contests. The filmmakers followed two plus size pageant queens as they prepared for and competed in a pageant. In the film (which is only 19 minutes long), the contestants, Allison Kopach and Jenny Flores, talk about their lives as plus size women – how they perceive themselves, how others perceive them, the challenges of dating, and why they wear full hair and makeup just to shop for groceries.
Even though the average dress size for American woman is a 14, it’s considered plus size in the fashion industry. It’s not easy to find clothing in that size; designers mostly ignore bigger body types and make clothes for much smaller bodies. And it’s very, very rare to catch a glimpse of any woman bigger than a size 6 in fashion magazines or in ads for women’s products. In a world where thin is considered a bigger accomplishment than an Academy award and a major magazine publishes an actresses’ weight on its cover, we need films like this. We need to be reminded that there is more to a woman than what she looks like; that there are greater accomplishments than what someone didn’t eat. We need to be reminded that behind extra pounds and curves, real people think and feel and hurt and love.
I’m still not a fan of the beauty pageant industry; I don’t support judging women based on their looks. But I’m a fan of this film and I hope you’ll watch it. For more information on the film and the women behind it, visit PageantDocumentary.com.
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