The Great Body Image Debate

The Great Body Image Debate

 

Once upon a time, every single catwalk, magazine shoot, and window display featured models who could only ever be described as skinny. Size zero was the ‘in’ thing, and anyone who was in possession of even a slight curve felt they were alienated from the fashion world.

 

Thankfully, things have changed. But, have they changed enough?

 

We now have something called ‘plus-sized fashion’. My argument to this is – why do we need to call it ‘plus-sized fashion’? Why can’t we simply have the same fashion but in a larger range of sizes? Why do we need to point to the fact that the dress or piece of clothing is from a plus-sized line? Surely this is further alienation? In addition, the plus-sized range usually starts from a size which is generally considered average! Who could ever call a size 14 plus sized? Surely that’s the average size?

 

All of this does nothing for general body image, and this is something we need to work on globally.

 

Body image affects men and women, of course, but from a female point of view, having someone refer to your clothes as ‘plus-sized’ does nothing for confidence levels. This basically implies that you are larger than average when the reality is that you’re not, you’re simply average! Nobody knows what ‘average’ is, our body shapes and sizes are constantly shifting and changing globally, and then you have genes and hormones to take into account. Surely we should just say “this is a dress in a size …’ and leave it at that. Cut out the plus-sized comment!

 

We Still Have a Long Way to go

 

The good news is that we’re heading in the right direction, but we certainly still have a long way to go. More catwalks are featuring models who are slightly curvier than your average supermodel size of the past, and window displays are following suit. Magazine fashion spreads now have curvier models showcasing their clothes, but it’s often the case that the items being displayed are different for sizes from 14 upwards. There is no reason for this. A floral playsuit looks great on a size 6 up to a size whatever, it’s how you wear it and the confidence you exude, not how many curves you have or how skinny you are!

 

The fact is that we still place segregation on sizes, and it shouldn’t be this way. Fashion is fashion, regardless of size. Skinny is beautiful, athletic is beautiful, curvy is beautiful, everything is beautiful. Placing extra pressure on someone who may already be having body image problems is not the way to go about things, and could actually exacerbate the issue to serious lengths.

 

Remember, in the words of Christina Aguilera, “I am beautiful, no matter what they say”. Damn, right you are!

 

 

 

 

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Nicola Curtis

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