Photo source: Enliven Coaching
Written for Enliven Coaching
In today’s society our image of a healthy body is skewed and it’s taking a negative toll on many of us. Images of skeletal girls advertising every possible product saturate our media and create a standard of body goals that we aspire to. It creates an unattainable and potentially damaging body type that young girls strive towards and has ultimately spread a sense of body dysmorphia among today’s generation.
With social media becoming an increasingly menacing presence in our lives, it’s harder to escape the constant flux of advertisements thrust upon us by companies trying to get us to buy their products. The advertisements are increasing in volume and the models are decreasing in size.
When concerns were voiced by the Australian Governments National Body Image Advisory Group in 2010, the government reacted by developing a voluntary code of conduct in an attempt to curb the overuse of unrealistically small-sized models by the media, advertising and fashion industries.
The key word here is ‘voluntary’ and hence, the code of conduct has been left untouched by much of the industry with the exception of Dolly and Girlfriend Magazine whom thankfully are aware of the vulnerability of their younger audiences.
But for the rest of us, we’re still subjected to a standard of physique set impossibly high. So high that any female model larger than a size ten is labelled as a ‘plus sized’ model, as in the case of Brisbane-born Bree Warren.
Bree is an athletic-looking size 12 model based in New York who has modelled for the likes of Lorna Jane, and because of her larger yet in proportion frame (in comparison to the industries typically smaller framed models), has been labelled plus-sized.
Without word bashing larger women, this label is obviously and inevitably going to insult women who strive for health, are healthy and are now being told they’re not by a label produced by the overwhelmingly powerful fashion industry. It’s almost like a stab in the back to women who are perfectly healthy and of a normal body size (as size 12 very much is), to be told by the industry that is reliant on their support that they don’t fall into the ideal weight range.
Women everywhere are busting their guts (literally) in their endeavours to be fit and healthy, and succeeding greatly, only to be told that their body types are still not and probably never will be desirable, irrespective of fat, muscle and bone density.
It’s time for the media, fashion and advertising industries to take some responsibility for their contributions to an impossibly skinny image of the modern day woman. Instead of labelling women as plus sized models just simply call them a model, because size ten and under are not the only possibilities of beauty or health. The industry needs to change to reflect the people they are serving, stop enforcing a distorted body image and start promoting diverse images of health.