WORD WAR: What is wrong with the word CURVY?

So the word war rages on…. For the longest time I have chosen to keep my opinion out of the whole word war between Plus Size VS Curvy. Models like Toccara Jones, Marquita Pring, and others have all spoken out on the matter and echoed the sentiment of how most (not all)  professional plus size or curvy women feel about the matter. I didn’t feel a need to charm in with my little tidbits because everything that needed to be said  was said by the right people. As the popularity of CURVY Magazine grows so does criticisms. Lately I have received quite a  few  very open, honest, opinions and criticisms about CURVY Magazine and the use of the word CURVY in it self.  One side of the scale I have received glowing emails and phone calls from top industry professionals (straight and plus size) praising our efforts and strides with CURVY Magazine. Now the other side of the scale….well let’s just say its a love and hate relationship.

CURVY Magazine wasn’t made for the “industry” nor was it made just for the “Plus Size” industry.  Its a honor to receive praises from influential professionals but we focus on 62% of the population.  Honestly, why I choose the name CURVY for our mag is simply because in mainstream media any woman with curves no matter the size is considered fat.  I got into this discussion when I attended the ’11 Sun Dance Film Festival.  Most industry professionals I met at the film fest agreed the true issue is not actual size or weight it’s our curves. One of the producers I met from Fashion Rocks told me “Yes having hips, thighs, a bum, or any curves that MAKES you a REAL WOMAN makes you fat. They (industry) say boy bodies is easier to deal with. We need a magazine like this”.  Sadly I have heard that sentiment many times. Side note: During the film fest quite a few actors, directors, and crew members from various films flirted with my friend and me. And we are both very PLUS SIZE so there you go!

Stars like J-Lo, Christina Hendricks, Christina Aguilera, and others have all been called at one time or another FAT. JLO is my favorite example because the diva was in single digits sizes with a boo-tay but yet media made her figure (curves) a running joke for a while. No matter the size every CURVY woman is experiencing the same thing and dealing with the same issues. I think that is  the reason products like Spanx is pretty much a house hold item. All these reasons is why the word CURVY was chosen to title our magazine. CURVY Magazine exist solely to bring the life of today’s average size woman full circle with relevant issues, information, and entertainment.

Now you have heard OUR side! Lets explore the other side. I want to introduce you to one of our readers named “Elisa”.  Elisa sent us a very interesting opinion letter about CURVY Magazine and the use of the word CURVY. Read it in its entirety and give us honest feed back on the matter thanks!

Dear “Curvy,”

I’m a fat woman who loves to see pics of other fat women in great fashion spreads, wearing fun clothing and reading about style tips and accessories from plus size designers.  I love that your online magazine is promoting those things and I think we need to see more of it both online and in print.  What I have a problem with, however, is the name of your magazine, “Curvy.”  I see the word “curvy” used as a euphemism for fat women so often in print, in advertising, and on size positive blogs and websites.  I’ve also seen it used by men on dating websites, especially fat friendly dating websites, to describe a particular body shape: fat women with more proportional, hourglass body shapes, with hips and shoulders in even proportion, wider in comparison to their waistline.  In fact, in my experience on fat friendly dating sites, the word “curvy” has become a code word for men who are looking for women with that particular body shape.  They’re not willing to date fat women with other body shapes; only a proportional body shape and smaller waistline will do.

It seems that the editors of “Curvy” magazine are using the word in the way so many other advertisers and websites do – as a euphemism for fat.  My issue with the word “curvy” being used in that way is that not all fat women are curvy.  I’m a fat woman who isn’t curvy.  I have a flat ass and slimmer hips, with broader shoulders and carry most of my weight in my torso, in my boobs and tum.  My body shape is not particularly proportional (meaning, my shoulders are not in proportion to my hips)… but yet I’m fat.  I don’t see my body shape as any better or worse than the bodies of other fat women, but it’s not “curvy.”  And I know I’m not the only fat woman out there who does not have a “curvy” body.  So not only is my body shape not the preferred body shape on many fat friendly dating sites, it’s also not represented by the word “curvy.”

If you want your online magazine to be relatable to women with a lot of different fat body shapes, not just “curvy” ones, I might consider changing the name.  I don’t like to support advertisers, retail stores, magazines or gyms who think the word “curvy” is relatable to all fat people.  And I know I’m not the only fat person who feels that way.  I generally use the word fat to describe my body, since fat is simply a descriptive term, like tall, thin, curly hair, brown eyes.  But I know not everyone is on board with reclaiming the word fat to describe fat bodies and fat people because we’ve all been taught for years that the word has negative connotations.  I was an avid reader of Mode, Grace and Figure magazines, all plus size style magazines, and I loved the fact that the magazine titles were relatable to people with different body shapes.  I might suggest going in that direction, although I’d personally avoid words like “diva,” “goddess,” and anything with “queen” in it.  Just because a woman is fat doesn’t mean she’s a “diva” or sees herself as a larger-than-life “goddess” or “queen.”  I actually find those terms a little derogatory to fat women and prefer terms that don’t single fat women out as being any different than women of other sizes.  (“Real women” is an awful term, too.  Are thinner women any less real than we are because we’re bigger?  Ugh.)

Anyway, I thought I’d express my feelings about the word “curvy” used as a magazine title specifically focused on fat women.  Take them or leave them as you see fit.  But keep in mind that you won’t be earning my readership and the readership of many other fat people who don’t like the term “curvy” as a euphemism for fat.  If you decide to change it, I’ll definitely give you my time.

You can send me your opinions and feed back about curvy magazine to and you may end up in the next “From the Editor”.


Comments (15)

  1. I like juicy myself, I like the idea of a nice thick lady and I want to squeeze….jmo

  2. I just read a woman say ((quote)), ” I agree that curvy is a weasel word that tries to make women who are fat exactly like smaller women. To be exact fat does not always mean curvy in the traditional sense. Its not always just a larger reflection of the 36 24 36 stamp. So where does it leave all of the beautiful women outside of those stats? Maybe its time we’re more realistic about feminine beauty. It can’t be pinned down like a mathematical formula. Its beautiful if its angular or round. Its just us and we are all beautiful and worthy in our own rights no matter what some kind of beauty standard says. We have worth and dignity.. No word is truly big enough to encompass all that we are anyway.((endquote)) .. ((me)) So let’s just call all women what they are..Beautiful. And while they are VERY physically attractive the beauty of a woman is as much a part of her caring for others,perspectives and point of view, the personality, humor and gentle touch of a woman makes them even more beautiful. To a point who cares what we call them as long as we protect, befriend, admire and treat them with the respect they deserve.

  3. I Love the word Curvy, I think that women who consider themselves FAT should aspire to be Curvy. Women like JLO, Queen Latifah, Beyonce,Monique,Toccorra Etc. are examples of sizes that you can attain. Some of us know that we will never be SKINNY but you can be healthy by working out to get that curvy figure that you want. Plus size women should not be considered curvy because they are not. Let’s not kid ourselves women are not letting it all hang out. Plus size women as well as curvy women wear spanx ,girdles,etc. because they want there bodies to look right in there clothes. The majortiy of women would like to fix about 2 things about there shapes, that goe sfor fat and skinny women. Just like Skinny women aspire to be the next Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Anniston, Halle Berry,you get the point we have those women that we can now look at because they are accepted and they embrace there curves… At one point all we saw was Skinny chics on the magazines and now we are seeing women who look like the average women all over the place, we have come a long, long way so lets be happy about the progress that we have made…


  4. I have always said That I am a curvy girl, not a fat girl. I hate the term plus size and queen size. Why is it that any woman with a real figure with curvys have to be in a negitive catagory? Curvy is a nicer and much more positive word.

  5. Wow…I carry about 15 pounds over my “normal” weight and to me I’m fat. I normally wear a size 10, but with the extra weight I need to go a size up and almost went two. I am not comfortable with carrying the extra weight (due to that jiggle factor and at times I am breathless under exertion, my clothes don’t “hang’ properly on my frame and I have to work fashion to camouflage rolls and the muffin top that ruins my silhouette…That said, I also realize that my frame was designed to carry a “certain” amount of weight for it’s overall health and by carrying more i run the risk of ruining my feet, joints, knees and over exert my heart and lungs because why…i have not enough discipline sometimes over what i eat and when/if i exercise (which is the best way to respect and love the body that i call home). I am curvy for my frame, its not exactly hour glass but everything is where it should be for “my frame” with most of the dips in the right place, which I want to respect because I’d like to be around for another 50 years. When i lose the extra weight, then i will no longer be fat. I also do not buy into the idea that I have to be fat because I’m getting older. The body changes and to continue to be good to it, you must adapt the diet or be fat (those ruining the knees, hips, feet, back, etc.) That is my reality and I cannot speak for others…; however, I do think there is a world of difference between curvy and fat. I do not believe they are one and the same. i love your magazine, btw and if it helps others I’m all for it. Stay on top of this issue…but the battle of the bulge rages on…

  6. I don’t agree at all, I was called fat in school (for years). It was a word that hurt, and brought me down. I would never ever call myself fat in a good sort of terms, and I would be very angry if anyone else called me it even if they ment well. I also would never praise a person for looking fat.

    I have now grown up, and I am a curvy woman, yes I said CURVY. My measurements are 44-34-44 pretty freaking curved if you ask me. I have gotten lots of complaments on my figure, and have even done some modeling.
    Now that I have grown up, people have told me I am beautiful, pretty, unique, perfect, cute, darling, lovely, hot, sexy, and yes curvy, but none have ever called me fat in a good way.
    This is a crazy argument to me, I understand if some don’t like curvy cause it doesn’t describe them, but what about us women it does describe? We should all hate it cause its not right for them? Next lets wage war on the word THIN cause it doesn’t describe any of us. Or tan, cause really my skin color is more carmel! Or pretty, cause I would much rather be lovely.
    It just goes on and on, whatever discription we use will be disliked by someone. Either because they don’t feel it describes them, or because it offends them.

  7. uh nothing is wrong with that word…………

  8. To All Concerned….
    I find the word “FAT” a very demeaning,oppressive word used for ANY of us who are NOT wearing a size 2..
    I find Curvy Magazine very informative, refreshing and insightful.ESPECIALLY, in a world where words used in conjunction with girls, young women & women of all ages such as “FAT” have caused an epidemic of anorexia, bulimia & other related disorders.All in order to avoid being, called or categorized by such a detrimental word!!!
    So, being a 52 year old CURVY woman, I applaud all the writers,editors & devoted readers of CURVY..
    Hopefully with your help & support, more young girls as well as all women will not be LABELED by their size. And will learn to love themselves from the light that shines from the inside out. Not visa versa.


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