Before I begin, I would like to explain myself:
I am a 5 foot 3, 8 stone graduate who once had acne and wishes she had a slightly smaller nose. On the other side of the scale, I quite like my hair (long and frizzy, but each to their own, right?) and my bum isn’t too shabby either. What I mean to say, is that when it comes to appearance, we all have our good bits and our bad. Now you know mine, we can get on with the show – and hopefully what I have to say will become clear.
I was scrolling through Facebook today and came across something posted by Popcherry, a fairly teeny-pop clothing brand that’s super affordable and good with their social media presence… normally. The other day, however, I spotted an image that made me stop. I have attached to this article.
First it jokes ‘a balanced diet is chocolate in both hands’. Now I would like to stress that, in my books, this is fine – just so long as it’s a joke. So long as no one takes it as a serious piece of medical advice. So long as no one takes it seriously. Where I see the issue is Popcherry using it as an ethos or branding tool. Not only is it a little risky for a clothing company to be joking about food consumption (full stop, let alone to impressionable teens), considering the size and shape issues that seem to come hand in hand with the fashion industry (and considering most of them use tall, slender models to promote their clothing), but placed above the pictures of these tall, slender girls, it becomes something of a disgrace. Sorry. That last sentence got a bit long. I needed all the words for all the anger!
The women pictured by this clothing company represent the ‘typical’ models who weigh a massive amount less than ‘normal’ women – a statistic supported by the following quote from abc news: “Twenty years ago, the average fashion model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23 percent less”. Now, call me crazy, but I’d argue that promoting clothes using girls who only represent a tiny proportion of real women is something we’ve been discussing for long enough to know that it really shouldn’t be an issue any more. The long and short of it is, that we should be using every body type. Not just tall, thin, tanned. Equally, not just the taller girls with ‘curves in the right places’. I personally, would like to see some short models, models with pale skin, models without the entire contents of the Kardashians’ makeup bags on their faces. I for one know how frustrating it is seeing all of those taller girls wearing clothes that would simply drown me, not to mention wearing make up that covers up the sort of complexion imperfections I have battled my whole life.
I hasten to add that a tall girl is scientifically more able to put on a few pounds without anyone noticing, so they could probably eat a little of that aforementioned chocolate without causing too much damage. We shorter girls don’t have anywhere for the weight to go!! But that’s another story, for another day and I won’t bore you with it now.
What I really took issue with in this, was the website’s blatant lack of realistic #lifegoals. By that, I mean having a ‘balanced diet’ of chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate is incredibly unlikely to leave you looking like any of the girls who represent the company’s clothing lines.
And before anyone assumes I’m body shaming these models, I am not. I am a fairly slender person myself (naturally graced with a flat chest and thus branded ‘athletic’ by society) and so fully understand what it’s like to be shamed for being smaller. Not only have I been called a ‘skinny bitch’ (something I can live with, because it’s usually just people being jealous or simply not thinking) but I’ve also been told I’m ‘so lucky’ that I’m thin. This. This is what really gets to me.
I was sat eating a salad the other day and someone said ‘Oh God, you don’t need to be eating that, look at you!’… I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it’s not luck that keeps me thin. It’s a relatively careful diet of salad, fish, chicken, tea (and lots of it!) and the occasional roast dinner that keeps me at my ideal weight. Not to mention the three or four lots of exercise I try and fit in every week. I seethed for the rest of the day, desperate to tell someone that I worked hard to maintain my shape. Of course, I also understand it isn’t always that simple. Some are more naturally inclined to be larger. Others have medical conditions that leave them constantly fighting the weight. Some just embrace being a curvy women – which is also great, as long as you’re happy and healthy! The same applies at the other end of the spectrum too, for the slender girls. As long as you’re happy, you go for it! Body shape is not something that plays by the rules, and it certainly isn’t something you can label. It is as personal to each woman as her fingerprint. Even more so emotionally.
Still, this doesn’t stop people from calling us thin, fat, lanky, shrimpy, spotty, pale, frizzy, ginger, or any other name under the sun – some much, much worse. I need not delve into that now though. We’ve all been there ladies.
I don’t want to preach – to be the one to give you permission to love your body. That’s something only you can do, but I hope I can be that little voice in the big wide world of social media that helps even just one person embrace their body. That goes for all you guys out there too. You deserve to be happy and healthy, just like we women. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
In the meantime, have a great day, enjoy a square or two of chocolate, and don’t forget to smile!