what happened to average-sized? + thoughts on body positivity
Gay marriage. Women's rights. Abortion. Legalized Marijuana. A culture that's more "accepting" of people's true selves and beliefs than we've ever had. However, as forward-thinking & progressive our society has become, so has the idea of jumping to the extremes and forgetting about the basics.
As women, we're constantly staring at magazines & Instagram posts of models who exhibit the "ideal body type." You know, tall, lengthy, skinny, and completely proportional. We idealize women whose bodies were given to them, ones they cannot control, and ones we cannot obtain no matter how many juice cleanses we try. Women in society feel so much pressure to try and fit a mold that is just not realistic for them, that what you're left with is a self-conscious, shameful, and overall unhappy and dissatisfied individual who probably has a perfectly healthy body, but just doesn't see it. Because we are "progressive," industry professionals have begun to listen to women's dissatisfaction over unrealistic and unattainable body types being thrown in our faces 24/7, so to combat our concerns, they've started a new revolution: plus sized models. They have just jumped from one extreme to the next. Now, before you start thinking I don't support the plus sized movement or throw any other hostile thoughts towards me, just listen. I think the acceptance of bigger built women in the fashion industry is a tremendously amazing thing. I fully support that; all bodies rock, right? Then where are the women that aren't super skinny, aren't bigger than most, but just average? Where are the models that are 5'4 and 160 lbs, which is the average height and weight of woman in America, huh? The problem I have with the plus sized movement is the same problem I have with slender runway models today: those body types do not make up the majority of the population. They are a small percentage of women and why, if you're trying to sell clothes to the majority of us, would you not market to us with a woman whose body we can more accurately resonate with? Why and when did average bodies become less acknowledged bodies?
Another thing I wanted to touch upon is the idea of body positivity. This is something I've wanted to talk about for a while because, if you've followed my blog or my socials, you know I am all about being healthy inside and out, physically and mentally. I am a huge advocate for feeling good about yourself because you are healthy, not because you look a certain way. That means taking care of your body, being conscious of what you're putting in it and only fueling it with food that is beneficial to you, & just feeling good about yourself inwardly and outwardly. Because that, to me, is body positivity. However, the problem with the movement that I see people advocating today is that women and men are justifying their unhealthy habits with being "body positive." "I've only eaten big macs, ben & jerrys, and pizza hut this whole semester and it shows in my body, but that's okay because we should accept all body types. #bodypositivity!!!!" Wrong. If you are overweight because you struggle with binge eating disorder, or underweight because you over-exercise; If your diet consists of solely processed foods and packaged meals & you never get some physical activity, you are unhealthy and your body will show it. Please, do not tell me that's okay because #bodypositivity. Please don't turn the idea of accepting whatever shape and size people's bodies are into an excuse to keep exercising your unhealthy habits and treating your body poorly. If you are naturally wider or have bigger thighs, but eat a diet consisting of whole, fresh foods and stay just moderately active, that is when #bodypositivity is in order. Feeling good about yourself and how you look is one thing, but it starts with being good to yourself. Treating it in a positive, respectful, and loving way. Nourishing it with foods that will help it function and prosper. You were given one body, keep it healthy & keep it active, because that is being body positive.
And to the industry professionals, media, and other influential people/organizations in society, acknowledge the average, because we are not only part of the diverse few, we make up majority of the clan.