Style

Body Positivity now having a long overdue movement

In fashion editorials, magazines and advertising, skinny models represent the standard of beauty. This has pressured women and girls for decades to come to fit a particular silhouette that is, in reality, unachievable.

Although it is widely known that Photoshop is used to make models look slimmer, blemish-free and “perfect,” the dream clothing size of zero or two is still desired. This negatively impacts self-esteem, leading women to dislike their bodies. Some even turn to extreme dieting or liposuction in order to obtain the shape seen in the media.

But the body type that is most often praised doesn’t reflect the true body diversity in the world, and women who don’t fit the ideal size or shape are often underrepresented in traditional media.

In recent attempts, media organizations and fashion designers from all over the world are revolutionizing how the public views women’s bodies.

Last month, Refinery29 partnered with clothing stores Lane Bryant and Aerie to launch The 67 Percent Project, an initiative made to highlight fuller body sizes. According to the digital media platform, 67 percent of women are considered “plus size,” currently defined as size 14 and up, but they are shown in less than 2 percent of the images consumed by women. This creates a bias for thinner women and leaves fuller models excluded and out of the picture.

Christene Barberich, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Refinery29, was quoted on its website, saying, “Plus-size women are not niche, but the norm; not just a lone column in a magazine, website, or community — they are the community itself.”

Refinery29 doesn’t want the move for body positivity to end here. It also challenges other publications, including independent bloggers, to feature women of all shapes, sizes, races and cultural backgrounds to give equal representation to all. The company partnered with Getty Images, and has openly licensed a collection of women part of the 67 percent for publishers to share on their platform as well.

Additionally, curvy models Clementine Desseaux and Charli Howard created the All Woman Project, a photo and video project meant to empower women of all types. Their most recent swimsuit campaign has garnered over 2.7 million Facebook views.

The project explained on its website that women are often segregated and stereotyped in fashion and in the media. They said that body shape should not have to define a woman’s femininity and ability.

This movement is also spilling beyond the borders of the U.S. Internationally, designers and editors are focusing on body positivity. On Oct. 5, Lonely, a New Zealand-based swimwear, lingerie and clothing retailer, released a new instillation for its Lonely Girls Project.

In this portrait series, full-figured women of different shapes, races, and ages were dressed in the company’s lingerie and photographed by June Canedo.

Canedo worked alongside stylist Zara Mirkin to create soft, dreamy shots of women posing. From all angles, the pictures celebrate the undeniable beauty of these women.

As a demographic, it is crucial for women to band together and empower one another. We shouldn’t let bias and difference of appearance hold as much weight as it does in the media. Rather, it’s more important to exchange ideas and inspiration to continue being agents of positive change.

The trend to promote healthy ideas of body image is impeccable, and fortunately, it does not seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Finally, the microphone has been given back to the 67 percent of invisible plus size women, and this action is long overdue. Fashion and style go hand in hand with body identity and self-esteem. Everyone deserves to be comfortable in their own skin. Love your curves and embrace personal style, no matter how you choose to express yourself.

Darriea Clark is a junior magazine journalism major. You can reach her at dbclark@syr.edu and follow her on Twitter @babefromthesun.

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