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Did you know that plus-size women are hotter than Victoria’s Secret models or Pussycat Dolls?

On the face of it, that seems to be the takeaway from the scandal that broke this week when plus-size retailer Lane Bryant accused ABC and Fox of discriminating against their new lingerie ad just because if features fuller figures. Here’s the ad:

Lane Bryant says that the two networks treated their ad differently than they have similarly revealing Victoria’s Secret ads, demanding unreasonable edits and denying them airtime on prime shows like American Idol and Dancing With the Stars (a show which, as the picture below demonstrates, clearly isn’t shy about showing female flesh:)

If that’s so (and Lane Bryant has since provided some documentation backing up their claim), it’s a little astonishing on the face of it. After all, this is how less-than-skinny-model-perfect bodies are usually portrayed in ads: to asexual, comic effect:

So what gives? Why is a size 16 woman in bra and panties suddenly too hot to handle for a network that puts Pam Anderson in spandex on at 8PM?

It has to do with a (not-so) little thing we call appetite. See, bigger women aren’t just scary to the mainstream culture because we refuse to adhere to Hollywood beauty standards. We big gals freak people out because we refuse to deny our appetites. And if you’ve got a woman who isn’t ashamed to want what she wants – even if what she wants is simply to not starve herself – you’ve got a woman who can’t be controlled.

Put another way: Nicole Scherzinger’s body may be sexy, but it’s far from threatening. In fact, the lead Pussycat Doll has made her career by sculpting herself into the most mainstream idea possible of the ultimate male fantasy. But plus-size women (I’m deliberately not saying "fat" here, because I just don’t think Ashley Graham, the model featured in the ad, is fat by any measure) obviously can’t be controlled in their appetite for food, so who’s to say they can be controlled in their appetite for (*gasp*) sex? And any woman whose sexual appetites can’t be controlled and directed is obviously far too threatening to the status quo to be allowed to into the "family hour." You know, that sacred, wholesome time of night when we gather ’round the television to watch Bikini Girl.