How Refinery29 and Lane Bryant Are Fighting Plus-Size Stereotypes in the Media

New project aims to include a broader range of women

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More than 67 percent of women in the U.S. are considered plus size (size 14 and up) yet those women make up less than two percent of the images in media consumed by a female audience. Refinery29 and Lane Bryant are aiming to change that through The 67% Project, an initiative through which Refinery29 will include a broader range of women across all of its editorial content.

Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks will be guest creative director for the project, which runs through Oct. 2. Refinery's content will include profiles, fashion features, essays and videos that spotlight plus-size women including blogger and designer Gabi Gregg, Hairspray Live star Maddie Baillio and This Is Us star Chrissy Metz. People are encouraged to tweet about the campaign and about how to acknowledge body size bias through #SeeThe67.

"This campaign is not about creating a standalone moment or a separate content strategy for plus-size women exclusively," said Christene Barberich, global editor in chief and co-founder of Refinery29, in a statement. "It's about eliminating the walls that separate women or make them feel excluded, and it's a chance to challenge ourselves and hopefully our peers in media to represent and reflect our audience in the most inspired and realistic way possible."

In October, Refinery29 will host the Every Beautiful Body Symposium, a series of panel discussions about the representation of women in America, which is sponsored by Aerie and Lane Bryant.

"Refinery 29 targets many of the same demographics that we do, and they looked at whether their content represents the face of America—to their credit, they said it was sobering for them [that it didn't]," said Linda Heasley, CEO of Lane Bryant. "Their partnership with us communicates why diversity, positivity, all of those things, need to be more in the forefront."

Refinery29 also is partnering with Getty Images on The 67% Collection, a series of images that showcase women of diverse sizes and backgrounds that appear on Refinery29's website and also are available for licensing through Getty.

"One of the biggest practical roadblocks to accurate representation for media and advertising is a lack of infrastructure within the modeling, photography, and sample lending industries to support including plus-size women," said Piera Gelardi, executive creative director and co-founder of Refinery29, in a statement. "For years, we've relied on street casting and other workarounds to be inclusive. Through this initiative, we're making our imagery available to others in hopes that brands and content creators will become allies in this mission of bringing visibility to the unseen majority."

@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.