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When a magazine tackles issues of “sizes” in models, it can be a tricky situation. Like when Glamour put out a spread of naked plus-sized models and critics complained that the women weren’t clothed, thus making their belly rolls and thicker thighs more evident. And even though the fashion industry has promised tighter regulations on keeping models closer to normal, human sizes instead of wire hangers, nothing much has changed. One step forward, two steps back.

So when V magazine hired American Apparel/Vice photographer Terry Richardson to take pictures of “skinny” model Jacquelyn Jablonski next to “plus-sized” model Crystal Renn for a “Who Wears It Better” spread, we expected to hear the same sort of complaints about the smaller women being portrayed as more attractive than the bigger one, since most fashion designers make their outfits with tiny girls in mind.

But here’s the twist: both girls look exactly the same. At first, we thought they were actually the same woman, with a little bit of photoshopping to make one picture look a little bit larger than the other. As it turns out, both models are the same height (5’9″) and Renn’s measurements are 36-31-41, which is only three inches above the “ideal” waistline for a woman her height.

So if V had shown a bigger woman to compare to Jablonski, they may have gotten crap for accentuating how clothes fit skinny girls better, but by using only a slightly plus-sized model, the magazine is saying that even the term “plus-size” doesn’t really apply to most women in America.

Pictures of the photo shoot, after the jump.

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