What I want to start by saying is that every body type is different; some of us are curvy while others of us are petite. Every body type is beautiful in its own way, and it’s important to realise that. However, there is an issue in terms of most of the ‘influencers’ that are in the media being incredibly thin. Admittedly, things are better today than they were ten years ago. Today, the amount of curvier ladies in the media is slowly increasing, but that’s not enough.
Take Calvin Klein’s first plus size model, a tall, svelte woman who is no larger than a size 10, for example. I’m not a fan of plus size models who are a size 24, etc., as being overweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight. However, size 10 is not plus size – a model who is size 14-16 would be more appropriate. The fact that it’s still acceptable to label models who are smaller than a size ten as ‘normal’ and models size ten as ‘plus size’ is crazy.
The worst thing about it is, it’s having an impact on us as women and the relationships we have with our bodies. So what’s the impact?
We dislike our bodies
On average, us girls have 13 negative thoughts about our bodies each day – that’s nearly one for every hour we’re awake. Research has shown that at some point or another, over 80 percent of women have wished that they could be thinner. Thanks to representations of what it means to have a beautiful body in the media, a lot of women and girls dislike their bodies. Studies have shown that from as young as 12, we start to have negative thoughts about ourselves.
It has lead to health problems and self-esteem issues
The negative thoughts we have about not being thin enough, have a big impact on us physically and mentally. A study of healthy sized women between the ages of 15 and 50 found that the majority of participants had gone on a diet in a bid to become thinner. Dieting is often seen as being the answer when it comes to looking and feeling more beautiful. Sometimes, this can develop into an obsession with food, leading to an eating disorder. Studies have estimated that up to 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders, with the majority of them being female. While a lot of cases of eating disorders can be treated with eating disorder therapy, many sufferers end up being hospitalised.
What can we do?
As women, we can learn how to love our bodies for what they are. We can focus on the positives of our body shapes and sizes, instead of wishing that we were thinner. We need to empower each other and share the fact that it’s okay to be curvy. While we can’t change who companies like Calvin Klein, employ as plus size models. What we can do is show that we don’t support brand’s choices to use only thin models on the catwalks. So that, hopefully, the next generation of women, won’t be affected in the same way that we have.
The fact is that showing just thin women as being beautiful is going to have an impact on us. The important thing is to realise that just because your body doesn’t conform to the ideals, that doesn’t mean that you’re not perfect. As long as your body is healthy and strong, that’s all that matters.