What is the perfect body anyway? Is there such a thing?
I guess the modelling industry has for so long tried to force the ideal body upon us that it has kind of caused a resistance, in great force! With digital enhancement and top designers feeding the nation with images of (very) slim physiques, petite waists, long legs and equal proportions many strive for this unachievable image. However, an army of confident, self assured activists have challenged this perception declaring there is no such thing as ‘perfect.’ Remember we are all perfect in our unique forms and should embrace ourselves completely as we are.
Do Not Make Comparisons
Do not be fooled by images in editorial magazines or online as THEY. ARE. NOT. REAL. It is easy to become swept up in their clever marketing strategy and forget that the shots have been heavily retouched and worked upon. Comparing yourself to a false image will breed a self-conscious nervousness as these figures are unattainable. Always try to remember that the fashion industry creates a fantasy world that does not reflect reality. Trust us, most models waists are not that slim, toned and flawless. It is all an illusion.
Accept Who You Are
Acceptance is the key to finding the ideal body as, guess what, you already own it. Embracing your natural features and the shape you possess is the first step towards happiness. It is important to be healthy and fit yet trying to slim down to dangerous weights is not acceptable. Find the positives rather than focusing on the negatives. Every individual has features that they dislike and immediately spot when glancing in the mirror. However, no one else notices these features, which you build up to be a huge deal. Head to the nearest mirror now and locate all the positive areas of your physique.
The modelling industry is becoming far more diverse and open to new physiques. Models like Ashley Graham are influential body activists who campaign for women to love their figures. She asks for individuals to be proud of their body as size does not matter in the slightest. Miss Graham is living proof that her philosophy and belief in herself has allowed for her to push boundaries in a fierce industry. Through determination, courage and hard work Ashley has become a successful model in a world full of dangerously slim girls. She has used her platform to inspire others and speak out about worrying size issues in the industry.
Take their work as an example that perfection does not exist. Follow in their footsteps and join the fight against size discrimination. Allow for curvaceous models such as Ashley Graham to give you the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Please do not get sucked in by the false images that are splashed across advertisement campaigns.
The High Fashion Industry
Models are told to lose weight all too often in the fashion industry. Those who fit into a dress size 8 or 10 are considered not suitable for the runway or editorial shoots. Young hopefuls are desperate to please and try to reach impossible weight standards sparking fears over their health. Also, most are scared to speak out, as they don’t want to risk not being hired. With so many hopefuls fighting for their big break, there is always someone to replace them. Therefore, many lose their voice and are mistreated daily.
There are many horror stories of models who have been brave enough to speak out. From a 7.5 stone, size 6 female dropped by her agency for being too curvy to models drawn on with a permanent marker to highlight areas that are ‘fat’ – a humiliating experience for young, naive hopefuls who do not know better.
Former model, Rosalie Nelson tells accounts of London castings where only a few chairs are provided for hundreds of models. Mostly there are no vending machines or water dispensers available whilst the candidates wait hours to be seen. She has been on photoshoots that last up to 10 hours with no food provided. It is as though the underlying message is to not eat.
After being told to get ‘down to the bone’ Rosalie left the modelling world for good after feeling emotionally and physically drained by the high fashion industry. She had the strength to walk away but fears younger, innocent individuals do not; if more models speak out the system will change.
Hopefully Times are Changing
A couple of years ago, France passed a bill banning excessively thin models. Those who are ultra slim are required to present a doctor’s note to prove their health. Also, any digitally enhanced images need to state that the photograph has been altered. Spain, Italy and Irasel have followed suit yet others opt for self-regulation through workshops and education. The British Fashion Council, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Danish Fashion Institute believe that this approach is more suitable to the issue.
London Fashion Week
Simply Be’s fashion show at LFW presented The Curve Catwalk, which featured models of all shapes wearing their clothes size on their chest. It was refreshing to see an all inclusive runway of all sizes not just plus size or super slim models. The line up of white tees included oversized black digits bravely declaring their dress size. Simply Be are illustrating that size doesn’t matter. If a woman is naturally thin they should not be discriminated against in the same way that curvaceous women shouldn’t. Beauty has no shape.
Don’t Forget the Men
Male models are commonly forgotten in the debate over body shape and size. However, men do also feel misrepresented in the industry and have insecurities about their weight. Male models are expected to be slim, toned and athletic, which does not reflect our society yet the discussion rarely starts. There have been a few plus size male models who have tried to raise the topic, however it is commonly approached via humour.