Let’s Talk Body Image

The ‘perfect body’ is everywhere. Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, hell even walking down the street it’s there in front of you. Buy this perfume, wear these jeans, eat this yogurt, and you’ll look just like a celebrity! There’s no getting away from the fact that the common view of the ideal body is thin; both figuratively and literally.

What if you’re not ‘thin’? What then? Well don’t worry because all the magazines have the latest diet to make you lose 10 pounds! Then you can be like the models we so desperately want to emulate.

What if you’re too thin? And the newest trend is for ‘thick’ girls with a big bum and small waist, well here’s some exercises for you to achieve a trend that’ll change in six months time.

Men don’t get off easy either, next to the girl on the billboard is a male model with a perfect six pack, advertising the same brand of jeans. A few scrolls down Instagram and there is he is again, six pack gleaming on a football field with dozens of women at his feet; the ‘perfect man’.

I’m not trying to shame the people in these adverts, they worked hard for their bodies to look the way they do and they look amazing, but that’s their job. To look amazing! They’re not the problem; the standards enforced upon them, and in turn everyone else is.

As a society we have become obsessed with ‘perfection’, an ideal that can only be achieved through photo editing and extreme diets. An ideal that at the end of the day is just that, an ideal; only becoming a reality for a very few.

The average size of a women in the UK is a size 16, yet the average sample size on a runway is a UK size 6-8; how does that work?

Don’t get me wrong, over the past few years the fashion industry has been addressing its lack of diversity; at New York Fashion Week last February, there were significantly more ‘plus size’ models featured on the runways, meaning more and more women saw themselves represented in high fashion. This is a good start, but more can be done.

A models job is to make an outfit look good, we all know this; but how would these clothes look on a typical person plucked from the high street? These are the people who are really wearing these clothes. Let’s be real, supermodels are not shopping at H&M, but Sally from down the street is. A high street fashion brand’s priority should be making Sally look, and more importantly FEEL good in these clothes, rather than the models advertising them.

We need a shift in mindset. Of course it’s important to be healthy i’m not disputing that, but you can be healthy at size 14, as well as size 6. We need more inclusive advertising of clothing, advertising that reflects the people wearing the clothes daily. And at the end of the day, our clothing should help us love our bodies, not hate them.

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