Recently, I had the honour of being on the panel for the Models of Diversity front row event on body image. I shared the panel with people from all walks of life and we discussed how the fashion industry and the media has a lot to answer for in the unrealistic expectations that we have about our bodies.
The media and fashion magazines have convinced us that anything short of stick thin with flawless skin is unacceptable. The fact is, fashion models are in the minority with fast metabolisms, they are as rare as a prime parking space at Tesco’s. The rest of us have chubby thighs and have baby weight that lingers for months and even years. The flawless skin you see in magazines is due to two main factors, good makeup and Photoshop.
Model’s of Diversity’s campaigns are to bring disabled and diverse models to the industry. Models that ,let’s face it, look more like us!
I want to see women on the catwalk that are a size 14 to 16 because that is the average size of a woman these days. That is NORMAL and I dare say BEAUTIFUL. Us ‘normal’ women, should demand that the media caters to us too! After all, we’re the ones with the purchasing power, so why are they not catering to us?
Another very valid point is how the media tends to dictate what is beautiful and we follow it like hungry lost puppies. I was actually very shocked to see how many women, including myself, had been severely bullied not only in school, but in many cases like myself ,by their own family. When the very people that are meant to love you, tell you that you’re stupid, fat and ugly, what hope is there? Whilst the media does not have a direct responsibilities for bullies, if the message out there was of love and compassion instead of starving yourself for beauty, perhaps the world would be a kinder place.
The irony is that I make my living in the beauty industry and people come to me with imperfections that have a profound effect on their self esteem. I know that if someone has made the effort to come see me it’s because it matters to them. I have learned not to question my clients but also to turn them away if I feel that they are beyond my area of expertise and/ or need professional psychological help. Sometimes it’s not about their skin, acne, scars or stretch marks, it can go far deeper than that. The beauty industry also has a responsibility to not take advantage of people that need psychological help, thanks to the Photo Shopped images on magazine covers illustrating unachievable perfection.