When I look in the mirror, as a woman I am pushed and pulled and fed ideas from two different angles. One side shouts “You are a beautiful and creative individual, who should take your individualism and body image in your stride, everyone is perfect as they are” and on that other side the malicious voice of the worlds media, social media, it girls, diet industry and fashion imagery which defines my size down to a number and stamps on my individualism giving it a look as if to say its something that should only be appreciated in moderation and only if it slides into the idealistic view of how a women of my age should be.
The current culture that surrounds body image and beauty seems to be one of confusion. Over the past few years feminism and empowerment of women has been on the rise, we have seen movements such as last years social media campaign and hash-tag #Imnoangel created by Lana Bryant to promote women of all sizes submitted photos of them displaying a ‘personal statement of confidence’ but on the flip side Victoria Secret, again last year released a campaign ‘The perfect body’ which was then shamed and eventually taken down because of complaints about the models unrealistic body image and size. I began to ask myself, as a woman how am I supposed to understand this?
In 2016 we should really as a population be tackling the stigma around body image, diversity and also individuality. Thankfully we’re starting to move on from hash-tags such as #thinspo and moving into a more #bodypos way of thinking. It would be easy to try and blame just one industry for what its left in its destructive path, as each have such vast communities, we are only starting to see that some supporters of a change from the fashion industry and such are slowly starting to realize and change their ideologies.
Agencies and Designers are realising now models or rather personalities are what people want to see and what they find relatable. There is finally something more than bare body image being focussed on in fashion imagery. Is this a new revolution in fashion? New sectors of modelling agencies are forming called ‘Trend agencies’. But this is only one aspect, demand isn’t being met for diversity in the industry, whether it be in beauty and not having a diverse enough range for darker skinned women to having a call for more petite sized models, or even just a less androgens look for models.
Researching into successful movements of positivity #HeforShe created by Un Women, Emma Watson a huge supporter of feminism and gender equality headed an interview for British Vogue, looking at fashion on gender equality, big names such as Stella McCartney and Jonathan Saunders and Bella Fraud spoke of issues such as the gap in pay, paternity and maternity leave allowances and also the general stigma in the fashion industry around body image and women empowerment. “Women should be allowed to feel comfortable in who they are” – Stella McCartney
But why is this, why finally are big names and companies starting to make an effort to include themselves in the positive body image movement? Social media has been a major part of this process by allowing everyone and anyone to create a platform and speak out about issues they are concerned about. Fashion brands have now caught onto this growing trend and are jumping on the band wagan, using influencers and online leverage to pump up their own campaigns and popularity.