From some previous posts of mine you might know that I’m not %100 satisfied with how I look. Most women aren’t, that’s just a fact. There are more occasions than I’d like to admit where I feel pretty down about how I look, or how I feel I look. What I DON’T want people to think is that I ever totally blamed the media, I blame me.
I was reading a blog the other day that allowed someone to ‘guest star’. The honoree was an organisation dedicated to the promotion of ‘real women’ to be used in glossy magazines and in the fashion industry. Now, I’m all for that. I think that more magazines would benefit using a range of people. But what’s a range? What’s big? And to say that ‘bigger’ models need to be introduced to runways makes me wonder who is going to be the judge of ‘bigger’. Most runway models look to me like they should eat a few pies, but they’re what the designers want. And to be fair–I don’t think they’re wanted because designers get a vicious thrill out of making slightly overweight-to-obese women feel shitty. I think they’re wanted because they show off the clothes.I know I might get trashed for this, but models seem to me like walking hangers. They’re there to show the clothes, to present the clothes. Not to be a walking ideal.
Flashback, 1998. High school Art Class: Our art teacher decided to show us a couture fashion show as part of a lesson. All the girls cringed, all the boys got excited. The massive tv is wheeled into the room, and a video tape is put in. We wait. It starts. And would you believe it? All the boys cringed. The boys. Why? They found the models, unsexy. We girls sat amazed as the boys shouted things like, ‘Ew!’ and ‘She’s too skinny’ and ‘She looks like a boy!’.
The point? Well, I don’t think many men find these sorts of fashion-types appealing, in a general sort of way. I hate this to sound like a backlash, some diatribe against skinny women, because it’s NOT. The story above just illustrates that these body-types aren’t necessarily the epitome of beauty.
All of this is slooooowly starting to change with designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Mark Fast using a size-range of women in some of their shows. Check out this great article from ‘Models and Moguls’. And with the addition of some ‘plus-sized’ supermodels being featured in magazines like Glamour…although Lizzie Miller doesn’t look plus-much.
And to ram this quasi-rant home? This organisation, on their webpage, on their LOGO, used the term ‘plus-size community’. I don’t know about you all but that just seemed like a big ol’ bit of hypocrisy. Ok, ok, I know–I’m being kindof obtuse here. That’s the term. It’s always being used. But I ask myself, and you, why rail again the fashion industry and then use their terminology? Is it meant to be sarcastic? Who knows? The average UK size is around a 16 (a US 12) or larger. Most ‘plus size’ ranges of clothes start around a UK 18. High Street stores, like TopShop, don’t stock anything above a 16. As someone under those sizes sure, I don’t like being called ‘plus-sized’, and I sure as balls don’t like being called it by people who are supposedly against all that labelling. And its going to take a lot more than bitching about it, or even making petitions, to change such a broad spectrum of things. But…(see concedes, losing steam) it’s a start…I guess.
I don’t believe in blaming the media, or the fashion industry for that matter, for EVERYTHING. This blog I read, made it out that the media was the devil. That they were totally to blame for making women feel bad about themselves. They DO make things harsh, and so does Hollywood in particular. Women there are usually under real pressure by their studios, managers, what have you, to get thinner. Check out this interesting article called ‘The Skinny on Hollywood Stars’. I understand the pressure you can feel whilst looking at a magazine, or watching a tv show or movie, with perfect ladies inside wearing perfect outfits and having perfect smiles and skin.
Its a bitch.
And to young girls, this is definitely a detriment, because during puberty, let’s be honest, you’re kind of at your worst. Gawky, or pudgy, or pimply, or greasy. Most of us were a hot-mess, and I’m sure modern kids are the same.
But to us adults? Its time to face reality. What you feel is controlled by you, no one else. The magazine isn’t making you feel bad, you’re letting the magazine make you feel bad. It’s like Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’. Pressure is harsh, I get that, but in the end, you have to take responsibility for your own hang-ups.
Here’s another quote from that great lady:
‘Its better to light a candle than curse the darkness’
And that’s the truth. If you don’t like something about yourself, try to fix it. Even if that something is in your head.
Addition (05.07.2010): I realise that I was a bit ticked off when righting this, and although I stand by most of what I said, I believe it may have come off that I was saying women should blame themselves. I, personally, blame myself. But on the whole I think much of the problems women face, concerning body image and fashion, are internal. Societal pressures are intense, I know. But if ‘How to Look Good Naked’ has taught us anything, its that a ‘real’ woman can shop just about anywhere and find things that look brilliant. Its getting the right mindset that’s truly hard. Its being able to see yourself as beautiful, and not abnormal because you’ve got a nice rack and an ass that won’t quit. Just please, ladies, change the system, by all means, but change how you feel about yourselves too.