We all come in different shapes and sizes; women especially are always in a constant battle with their size and figures. What makes it even more difficult is that these days it has become normal to people to body shame others, or even worse, women body shaming each other.
I am an avid lover of fashion, beauty, and art; I find that social media is a great platform for artistic people to share their work and I love seeing a team of people who can create such beautiful art on camera. However, as I browse some of these models images, I am somewhat disturbed by the comments I read from the public. In a recent incident, I was captivated by an image of a beautiful, petite model in lingerie, as I scrolled down to leave a comment, I noticed the negative comments others had left, especially other women saying things like ‘ eat some food’ and ‘she is too thin.’ Internet bullying is nothing new, and body shaming has become usual.
As a petite person myself, I have had my share of people judging me by the size of my body, and I often find myself justifying that I eat well but have a high metabolism. I am also an ex- full-time model and of course, while I ensured to keep my body in shape, I have never starved myself. I did get comments about my body if my hipbone was sticking out or my ribs were showing, and I feel it is unfair for people to judge someone they do not know.
It is important to understand that models whether skinny or plus size, learn to emphasize certain parts of their body to improve the image as much as possible. If models of both sizes were to suck their breath and tuck in their tummies, the effect would give a slimmer look to both, however on the skinny model, it is possible you will see the appearance of ribs a bit more than the plus size model. It does not mean the model suffers from malnutrition!
Plus size women do not have it any easier; others have picked on them for a long time now. The positive news is that there have been quite strong supporters of plus size women, and a lot of them have made their way into the fashion world. Petite or skinny models, however, are a common sight in the fashion industry, but the topic about how most of them get picked on for their size does not come up much. The majority of petite models do eat full meals and are usually on low carb diets. I admit that some do keep poor diets, but this is not always the case. The same could be said about a small number of plus size people.
However, this is not the point. The shape and size of other women should not
be open to negative public discussion. Not to mention that it is a shallow notion to focus on outer image rather than the person as a whole.
I am all for introducing women of all shapes and sizes in the fashion world; I think we need to see more of it. However, the other issue arising, as curvier models are presented in the media, we see slogans such as ‘ what normal women look like’ or ‘what real beauty looks like,’ this infuriates me! Am I less of a woman because I am skinny? Why is there a definition of what a ‘normal’ body should look like and who makes that rule?
Plus size models have made a positive impact on other women, who realize that fashion is not about one size, but rather many sizes. However, it does not mean that if someone has less fat or fewer curves, that this does not meet the definition of ‘real beauty.’ After all, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.
Campaigns like Doves ‘real beauty’ is one of the reasons why skinnier women such as myself are made to feel bad about the way we look. Although, I understand why the introduction of ‘curvier’ models was introduced, adding a title such as ‘Real beauty’ when there is no size 6 or 8 model there, does not give me a positive message. Moreover, in the same way, ‘Victoria’s Secret love my body’ campaign did not impact a positive message to someone who is bigger than a size 8.
Body shaming is not a problem just in the fashion world, but also within our everyday lives. Many people are taunted because of their particular body size, if you are too skinny, it means you starve yourself, and if you are bigger, then it means you overeat. What gives anyone the right to pick on someone’s weight and base his or her judgment of that person on this? A person’s weight can be due to many reasons; a thin person could have a high metabolism or an illness that prevents them from weight gain. A bigger person could be suffering from thyroid or other issues. My point is we should accept everyone for their size, for all we know that person could be trying hard to lose or gain weight and picking on their weight, certainly will not help.
If a person is happy with their size, that is more important. Yes, I agree that no matter what you are, you should be healthy, that means to eat well and try to add in even 15 minutes of exercise to your day, and I always emphasize on that. However, body shaming someone for their weight takes away their confidence, and you do not know how long it may have taken them to feel happy with the way they are.
I hope to see more change with how we treat other women and remember it is important to be confident with yourself no matter what size you are. If you are trying hard to reach a certain goal for your weight, don’t let anyone remove your focus. If you have or are someone that has body shamed another person, then it is important you change your ways and try to understand that another person’s weight is no one’s issue but their own. Unless their health is in trouble due to their weight, then your intervention should be sensitive and understanding.
Another important fact to remember is that size like ‘normality’ is more of a scale than a fixed point. Not only do real women fit in any point of the spectrum each woman will move back and forth along that scale or spectrum throughout her lifetime. Being bigger or smaller at various times in life. No matter if a woman is skinny or big, she is a woman and a beautiful one at that!
Real women, just like real men, do come in all shapes and sizes.
Moreover, in spite of what you may have heard, size truly does not matter.
Written by Elysha Huckfield.