While exploring the fashion industry and of all the harm that it causes, it leads me to one major question: what can be done to change it and how can we go about it?
Although words can be strong, they aren’t always enough when making comparisons to the media.
Why don’t we believe people when they give us complements? I’ve been told just about one thousand times that I am beautiful the way I am, but when I compare myself to fashion industry superstars like Gigi Hadid or Kendall Jenner I can’t help but feel horrible about myself.
Yes, I am not 6 feet tall and I don’t have blemish free skin but I am educated, compassionate, and kind (at least I hope I am). If I know that I am a good person, why do I still have these uneasy feelings?
Luckily, there are people out there attempting to make a real difference against the fashion industry and its standards.
One example are the many organizations and non-profits that have been created to combat the media industries. One of my favorite organizations I have come across is Media Girls. This local non-profit out of Boston acknowledges that we need girls and women to speak their minds and advocate for themselves and protect their rights. According to their website, their main focus is to fight sexist messages and stereotypes in pop culture. They mainly work with middle school girls to have them challenge the media that we are all used to seeing every day through programing, speaking engagements, health workshops, and their blog.
While organizations like this are very helpful, sometimes a way strike a chord in someone is through art and images. Just within the past month I have come across many great pieces just by browsing my Facebook, Instagram, as well at websites such as Refinery29.
One of my Facebook friends shared a post from the Skai Juice account on Facebook. This page states that it’s mission is to get the word out that everyone has the ability to live a healthy and abundant life.
This image really stuck with me. As a little kid, you’re not concerned with the way you look, let alone if you have a little bit of a belly. Our society teaches us to be this way. Our society teaches us to hate our bodies
Another example of changing society through art is a Refinery29 article. The artist Alexa Meade is an artist who paints directly on her subjects to make 3D appear 2D. Meade painted this image below to create a real-life painting commenting on our obsession with weight loss and body image. I highly suggesting clicking on the link above to watch the full video.
Another way to get ideas across to people is through humor. Comedian Celeste Barber has gotten a rise in popularity after her Instagram account rose to popularity later last week. Through her images she hilariously shows us how high the standards are that we are seeing everyday. Though many are exaggerated and are obvious jokes, some truly shows the ideals women are supposed to live up to.
Although all of these examples are supporting the cause and trying to prove to get the word out that there is a problem, it isn’t actually solving the issue at hand. If we want to actually change women’s body image within the fashion industry, we need to change it at its roots.
After doing all of my research, I believe that the advertising industry is where we need to make serious changes. They are the ones that are creating these lifestyle images of perfection though marketing, that we then buy into. One root solution could be government limitations on advertising. In the fashion industry specifically there should be limitations on a model’s weight, at least to be sure that they are healthy and not on the brink of illness. There should also be rules on photoshop and editing tools. I feel like products in their true fashion are what should be on display, not a false image.
If we were to have a utopian world, I think it would be a place free of advertising. All it seems to do now is trick people into buying what they don’t need, or more importantly buying into a lifestyle that they don’t have. With the capitalistic economy we have today I think it will be a long road ahead of us to have body positivity within the fashion industry.