Adolescent girls often suffer from low-self esteem because they are critical of themselves and their figures, especially when they compare themselves to the air brushed, perfectly edited, fashion models.
Even a plus size model is typically a size 8, which is not actually plus size; they are just healthier looking than waif models who are a size 0. (Plus sizes don’t usually begin until size 14 or 16.)
While designers argue that they need rail thin models so the clothes hang right from the model’s frame, perhaps what we actually need are designers who make clothes that fit real women with real curves. That hasn’t happened yet, but there are signs that the industry is changing.
1. Dove campaigns. Dove recently launched a campaign to show real women with real curves and a little extra on their frames. This is a good start to acceptance. Kudos for Dove for being brave enough to run this campaign.
2. YouTube’s Real Women Have Curves campaign. Look up “real women have curves” on YouTube and you will find several different clips showing curvy women such as America Ferrara of Ugly Betty fame and a model who appeared on Marie Claire’s magazine cover. While these women would not be classified as overweight, they do represent a definite change from waif models.
3. Gabourey Sidibe’s success. Gabourey Sidibe is the main actress in the movie, Precious, and if you haven’t seen it, she is morbidly obese. The fact that she could have a career as a leading lady says that the industry standards are starting to change.
4. Designers creating plus size clothing. Some designers, such as those behind the Baby Phat line, are branching out and creating plus size clothing as well as their line of standard size clothing.
5. The Industry is focusing on other beauty trends. There’s been an uptrend in magazines and advertisers focusing on hair, makeup, and clothing that works for all women. For example, one of the huge trends is hair extensions from places like KapelloHair.co.uk. It’s something that can make women everywhere feel good about themselves, no matter their weight.
Healthy weight role models are few and far between, but we are starting to see improvements in recent years. The best role model a young girl can see is a healthy, active woman, not a waif.