Instead, can we have healthy models?
As you well know the fashion industry and media have weird messages to young girls about what is beautiful and what you need to look like to be 'normal' or 'beautiful' or 'happy'. I put these in quotation marks because no-one else's opinion can ultimately determine what actually makes YOU beautiful and happy. I exclude normal here because let's face it....
'Normal' is Boring. You don't want to be normal.
If you are reading this you may be yet to realize that normal = boring. If it hasn't hit you yet, it will. One day, this realization will strike you like a lightning bolt of relief.
Being a bit of a chubby kid and teenager I have long had problems, and frankly still do, with my body image. My weight has been like a constant yo-yo. I put on a dress size. Freak out. Start dieting and exercising more. Lose weight. Wear that UK size 8 dress I rarely fit. Be pleased with myself looking good in my dress. Then get excited that I can have a bit of chocolate because damn girl you're looking good... Then I have some nachos... Then more nachos... Then it's all over and the cycle repeats.
This makes me sound like a bit of a junk food fiend but honestly, I am not. I genuinely love to eat healthy food. It fuels me. I also love pizza and pies like any normal human, but, I feel sick if I eat too many carbs.
"I write this essay in response to the confusing and conflicting messages out there about female beauty and body types."
I have never understood how anyone can go more than a day without a healthy serving of vegetables. I grew up on healthy, home-made meals and I love it. That is also my problem. I love food. I can't stop at half the salad on my plate, I must eat it ALL. Because it is delicious, and eating delicious food is one of, if not my most, favorite hobby.
I am happy to say that I have now found the solution to my yo-yo dieting after leaping 41 meters off a bridge which shocked me into taking my low-carb diet and exercise regime more seriously.
(Read about how the bungy jumping helped in issue 1 of Your Best Self Magazine; available FREE until July 1st 2018; And if you want to finally stop yo-yo diets and have more energy follow 'The comprehensive 9 step guide to positive body image'.)
The main issue I have is that I am not naturally a very skinny girl. I have never been. No matter how little I eat and how much I exercise, I will always have what is commonly referred to as 'child-bearing hips'. My physical bone structure will not allow me to fit anything smaller than a UK size 8. Which was extra traumatizing when I learned that even at my skinniest possible size, which took so much effort to reach, I would still be considered a plus-size model. This is a super unrealistic and unhealthy message to teach people.
"... even at my skinniest possible size... I would still be considered a plus-size model."
Along with my 'child-bearing hips', I have large breasts, making me the supposedly enviable perfect hour-glass shape.
This gets very confusing because, on the one hand, people are like OMG I wish I had an hour-glass figure. On the other hand, when you go into practically any women's clothing shop you will struggle to find something that is flattering or actually fits.
Maybe this is different if you can afford to shop at designer boutiques or live in a large city, which hopefully one day I will, but, for now, I cannot. Although, I am skeptical of this sentiment as I have, several times, tested out these type of shops, despite sporting the $300+ price tag and I didn't leave convinced that this was the solution to my problem.
But since, I have come to realize that 'normal = boring' it has helped me accept that my desire to be skinny the way society blasted all around me would not make me happy. The amount of effort I would need to put in to fit this unrealistic 'standard of beauty' is ridiculous. Frankly, I have much more interesting things to think about.
This does not mean I will ever let myself go. When my mind and body become misaligned I am unhappy. What is the primary goal then? Focus on how I feel. Do I feel healthy, happy, energized and fulfilled?
I accept myself for who I am an hourglass figure and I will rock that shape in the healthiest way possible.
One side says be skinny, another side says celebrate plus size, and yet again another side is starting to emerge saying that the plus size-model movement is bad because it encourages an unhealthy body image in the other direction.
We need to focus more on what is healthy for each individual! Too skinny is bad, but, if you go too far in the other direction, that is also bad.
Underweight, for your natural size, and overweight, for your natural size will both cause you health problems. Everyone is different! What is a healthy size for one person would be unhealthy for another person. Can we do away with the terms model and plus-size model and instead have healthy models?
I have UK size 6 friends, that are just naturally that thin. They are self-conscious about the way they look, thinking they are too skinny just as I am naturally a UK size 10-12 and am self-conscious that I am too big. Everyone is different, there is no perfect body size and shape that we should strive to reach.
I am not interested in portraying models of anyone's specific idealism. Everyone has a different idea of what is the perfect size. I want to celebrate women who are living a healthy lifestyle and are happy with themselves, regardless of what society deems to be the popular norm.
'Normality is boring, be yourself.'
Look after yourself, because you're the only one like you and you only get one chance at this life.
- Why can't we celebrate what is healthy for each body shape?
- Every one is different
- 'Normal' is boring and non-existent
- Be yourself
- Be healthy
- Find a mind-body alignment
- Celebrate your body
- Look after your body
- Excercise your body
- Pamper your body
- Nourish your body with healthy, delicious food
- Love your body, because you only get one and you never know how long you get it for
If you agree spread this message to women of all ages. Let's band together and start a new movement! Also, remember don't take fashion too seriously. Have fun with fashion. That's what it's there for.
- LQ Planet writer, designer, entrepreneur, lover of good food & life
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