This Powerful Photoshoot Shatters Stereotypes of Asian Women & It’s Incredible

Where are all the Asian women in the plus size community?

That’s the question that Michelle Elman asked publicly, even writing a piece about it for Grazia UK.

At a time when brands and the media use the terms “body positivity“, “all bodies” and “every body is beautiful“, Elman noticed that Asian women were being left out of the equation and she decided to speak on it.

She has a point. Asian women seem to be absent and almost forgotten within the plus size community, just as women over a size 24, which we have mentioned many times.

And let’s not forget the stereotypes that surround Asian women. They’re thought to be small and thin. Elman wrote:

Plus-sized Asian women very rarely feature in campaigns, especially in mainstream brands, let alone on their website or in sponsored posts. Since starting my advocacy work within the body positive community four years ago, and being invited to plus-size events, I have always been the only Asian in the room. Despite attending more than 100 events within that time, I don’t have a single memory of being in a room with another plus-size Asian woman. Not once. I would hazard a guess that most white plus-sized influencers wouldn’t be able to even name an Asian contemporary. (Grazia Daily, 3/24/19)

Elman, who is half Chinese and half British, has acknowledged her own white privilege but still felt that she had to stand up and use her voice to bring awareness to the fact that plus size Asian women do exist and they are just as worthy of being seen as other plus size women.

After writing about this and using her social media platform @scarrednotscared with over 150,000 followers to have her voice heard on this topic, she took it a step further.

Why not create a campaign of her own to showcase ALL plus size Asian women?

Elman did just that.

The London-based body confidence coach partnered with photographer Linda Blacker to create stunning imagery showcasing plus size Asian women of different sizes, shapes and colors.

Elman told Glamour UK:

I work within body positivity and even when a campaign is praised as being body positive, often they are still missing an entire continent and we have to understand that inclusivity has to be intersectional and a campaign is not diverse if an entire continent is missing.

There is a stereotype that Asian women are petite and small and this absence of Asian women, especially in the plus size community, has meant I am often the only Asian woman at event but we have to realise that this is a simply a stereotype and it only exists due to the under-representation of Asian women of all sizes. Asian is the largest ethnic minority in the UK and everyone deserves to feel seen and represented.


Blacker said via Instagram:

This photograph is important, here’s why:

Plus size Asians exist and deserve representation, but are so often excluded from main stream media.

I teamed up with Michelle of @scarrednotscared who has been talking about the absence of Asians in adverts, campaigns and fashion in general. Together, we created this photoshoot to support this important push for inclusivity for plus size Asians and ask for change in the industry! But we need YOUR support. Like, comment, tag your friends, let’s get everybody talking!

Look how INCREDIBLE these women look, why shouldn’t they be represented too?

They deserve to be seen.

Whilst even this shoot isn’t perfect representation, it shows just a small sample of diversity within Asia.

The models included in the photoshoot alongside Elman are:

This is what we need to see. More representation.

This also begs the question… who decided which bodies were “good enough” to be seen in the media? There are so many women and young girls out there who need to see a reflection of themselves in the media and in campaigns. That’s what body positivity is all about.

We hope Elman has started something amazing here, which will have a domino effect leading to more representation for Asians, women over a size 24, visibly plus women with non-traditional body shapes and all other marginalized people who yearn to be seen.

All bodies means just that… ALL.

What do you think of this photoshoot and its representation of plus size Asian women?

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Images: Linda Blacker