Unless you’re a size zero-two like the mannequins in the windows, shopping for clothes can be really depressing. This is even truer if you are considered “Plus Size.” Did you know that in runway fashion anything over a size six is considered plus size? Size six! Do not let the fashion industry dictate your own self-esteem! There is a bias in the fashion industry that only thin is beautiful and it simply isn’t true. As women, our true beauty is in our confidence and how powerful and beautiful we feel in our own skin, not the size of our jeans. The following are some confidence boosting tips for plus size people to feel confident and love their body, no matter what our size!
Old School Rules
In a Today Show interview, host Savannah Guthrie spoke with original supermodels Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell about today’s fashion standards where size is concerned vs the days when these first generation supermodels were strutting down the runway. All three women immediately had some very interesting things to say. First, all three tall, slender women by today’s runway standards would be considered plus size! Secondly, these fashion model veterans were quick to point out that eating disorders like anorexia and drug abuse among supermodels have skyrocketed since the 80’s and 90’s when these three were at the top of their games.
Cindy Crawford has been quoted as saying, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford,” because of all the makeup, lighting tricks and photo-shopping she admits even she doesn’t look like her real self when she appears in photos and advertising. It’s no wonder that women of all sizes feel a lack of confidence when we’re always surrounded by computerized and falsely “perfected” images. Kate Winslet, a Hollywood actress known for her timeless curves and beauty has come forward many times, speaking out against magazines that alter images of her to make her look thinner. She says “not only do I not look like that, I do not desire to look like that.” We should applaud these women for standing up for the truth, that idealized and computer-generated perfection is damaging the self-images and self-esteem of young girls everywhere. These same young girls grow up into women that often hate themselves for not being “perfect,” when the truth is that no one on earth looks that perfect. No one.
Unachievable Perfection: Tragedy
In 2006 supermodel Ana Carolina Reston of Brazil died from complications associated with anorexia. She was still actively modeling, weighing only 88 pounds when she died, which goes to prove the industry’s endorsement and even rewarding of anorexic models. So how thin is thin enough? Death? Ana Carolina is not the only model to die of anorexia. Luisel Ramos, a 22 year old model from Uruguay died of a heart attack directly related to her eating disorder. When we constantly compare ourselves to others, particularly in the fashion industry, we are bound to feel worse about ourselves. Don’t fall into this trap.
Positive Role Models
More and more well-known actors and performers are speaking out against the Hollywood standards of perfection. Many new starts are emerging onto the Hollywood scene that are not rail thin; they are actually closer to the size of the average American woman which is a 14-16, not a double 00. And they look beautiful! And sexy! And powerful! Here are just a few of these amazing women:
- Sara Ramirez – Hollywood actress that played sexy Latina Dr. Callie Torres on the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, nude scenes and all. Hero status.
- Renn – a French model who actually overcame anorexia and remains one of Paris’ top models today
- Jill Scott – Hollywood actress and platinum recording artist, R&B, jazz and soul singer
- Dana Elaine aka Queen Latifah – saving the best for last. Latifah is a blockbuster Hollywood movie star, a multi-platinum selling Hip-Hop singer, songwriter and performer, one of the first female artists to break into the rap industry and even has her own talk show. This Lady has never apologized for her size – she doesn’t have to. Girl, don’t change a thing!
Slowly but surely the advertising and marketing industries are beginning to get the message: nobody’s perfect. As consumers, particularly young women, are becoming more aware of advertiser’s gross manipulation and falsely-perfected female images, we are learning to see these images as lies and are less likely to compare ourselves to ridiculously unattainable perfection. Perfect, flawless, naked bodies may sell perfume, but as educated and self-confident women we must see through these advertising myths and realize that true beauty comes from within. If we are aiming to improve ourselves, let’s do it right. Get an education. Eat healthy foods. Exercise for your health. Become self-aware of the things about ourselves that we like, and dare we say love! Let’s show the next generation of young women that there is beauty in every single one of us, and the moment we see it in ourselves is when our true beauty shows on the outside.