On my desktop I keep several different file folders where I regularly deposit images I’ve taken that inspire me. I throw file after file into the drives and rarely have time to go back and actually look through all the images that are, in fact, placed there to fire up my creative juices. However, on my transatlantic flight last week I decided to have a rummage and was quite surprised by one of the images I had put in my file marked “inspiration.” In all honesty, the picture looked like it belonged in what many are calling “Thinspiration” galleries. I couldn’t believe that I had shot such an image, nor could I come to grips with why I would include such a picture in a gallery that is supposed to inspire me to do great things. That, right there, is when it hit me as to why exactly this photo had been placed in this particular file.
This skinny model was deposited in the inspiration file to remind me of a change I’d like to see in the industry. This is a change I want to see put in place so that my own nieces, daughters, goddaughters and beyond, will have a different view on what makes women beautiful.
At the moment, magazines are still working hard to carry the torch for the super skinny model. Admittedly, most clothes these days look better on a woman that has no lumps or bumps to catch the fabric of the garment. But in reality, the majority of the models I have met in this industry battle everyday to keep said lumps and bumps at bay. It’s in their best interest to do so. Just as many of us work hard to improve our skills in the workplace, their bodies are their most important assets on a job and as such they must keep them in a condition that the industry finds “employable.” The definition of employable? Well, if it’s for a leading glossy or fashion show this means skinny, and as skinny as you can possibly be in most cases. Need proof? Just look at the image above from London Fashion Week. Or open your closest fashion magazine. The proof is in the pudding, folks, and I’d like to see anyone argue any differently.
While I do appreciate that there are all sorts of body types that are beautiful in this world, the fashion industry does seem to have a very unhealthy obsession with woman that are unnaturally thin. These women are worshipped, put on a pedestal we call a catwalk and seen by many women as examples of beauty. In fact there are a growing number of teenage girls that have gone as far as creating entire pinterest boards, blogs or instagram feeds which celebrate alarmingly thin women. Again, I stress that of course I realise some women are naturally thin, but all it takes is five minutes behind the scenes at a catwalk show and you will hear trick after trick regarding how eating is kept to a minimum to achieve the slimmest figure possible. Surely hearing that women eat cotton balls to stay full, spend five hours a day on treadmills or pop laxatives like M&Ms, should be a huge indicator that there is a problem here.
But rather than acknowledging the problem, we listen to editors say they are calling for change and we all blindly continue to buy the magazines, the clothes they are advertising and the lies that we are told that these women actually look this healthy in real life. I am just as bad as the next as I too subscribe to every one of these magazines. I attend and write about each and every show that features these models. I am as much a part of the problem as the next person working or supporting this industry. But I want to see change. I want to see a future where the industry doesn’t use larger, or actual real sized women, as a special feature. They should become a regular feature. We should be talking about all shapes and sizes as if all shapes and sizes were acceptable, end of.
My promise to you, FFG reader, is to feature as many healthy images and as many healthy tips here as I can from women and girls. I cannot always promise that the images I show here are real… as we all know EVERYTHING is photoshopped these days. But I can make a point in calling out right from wrong. I can acknowledge what I’m seeing in the industry and I can try my best to keep it all “real.” For now, that’s all I can do from where I’m sitting. However, I want you to know I’m always thinking of how I can do more, more to include women in this industry regardless of size. If you want to be a player in the style arena, you should be able to do so regardless of the number in the back of your dress. And that’s where I’ll end this rant of mine… all stemming from a picture I took months ago. Strange where we find inspiration.