Under Pressure

As is constantly discussed in the media, and amongst the population in general, the fashion industry is undoubtedly a proponent of the ideal that skinny is beautiful. In past seasons, there must have been literally hundreds of jutting shoulder blades, collar and hip bones. These girls had bones I didn't even know existed. Thankfully, some designers have, lately, taken a solid stance. Prada's fall/winter 2010 catwalk show, for example, celebrated a woman's curves and in 2006 the Fashion Council of Madrid banned models with a BMI of less than 18 from walking in any of the shows that were scheduled for Fashion Week. Clearly, these are small steps. What Prada claims to be 'curvy models' are still pretty darn skinny in normal-people's speak.

In my opinion, the criticism lodged at the fashion industry for their use of super skinny models is somewhat overplayed. Don't get me wrong; I completely disagree with the negative imagery that being dangerously underweight should be the ideal. But I don't think the fashion industry necessarily sets the stage for these ideals. Rather, it reflects the feelings of its customers i.e society. Specific designers are so successful because they bring out clothes that we've been waiting for.

Therefore although the fashion industry should undoubtedly be criticised for supporting the unhealthy ideal it portrays, I think society needs to be examined too. Why is it that we have to be so negative about each other? Again, it's been said many times before, but you can't walk past a magazine rack without at least three magazines declaring that someone's too fat, someone's too skinny, someone's too old, or someone's just plain ugly. I don't understand this; why do people feel that they have the right to judge other people in this way? And, fundamentally, why is it important? People shouldn't be criticised or blamed for looking a certain way. People can't help the way they look, and, moreover it shouldn't matter to anyone else. I can understand the critique of personality, but the analysis of looks is just beyond me.

The pressure society inflicts on itself is ridiculous. I've definitely suffered at the hands of it. But I've tried really hard to learn from it. It seems crazy to me that we focus so much on ideal looks, but focus so little on ideal characteristics and personality, when this is what makes life what it is. It's no fun to just sit down and look pretty. I might seem hypocritical, seeing as this is primarily a fashion-orientated blog. But as cheesy as it sounds (I seem to say this in basically every post...I'm clearly really cheesy), I see fashion as an expression of personality. Larger women can be infinitely more stylish than slimmer women, and slimmer women can be more stylish than larger women. Really, again, it has nothing to do with looks, but with personality and creativity.

I'm not naive. I know that society isn't going to change. But I don't think there's any point lodging criticism at the fashion industry any more; it's society in general that needs to do a bit of self-examination. We need to actively emphasis other ideals and act on them, rather than waiting for the media and the fashion industry. They won't act until society does.

1 comment:

  1. So So So true. I loved this, made me think way more about how much we focus on aesthetics and some of the effects of that.
    Yeah, the fashion industry clearly has a lot to answer for, but you're right in that society has to change before the industry will. Anyhow, I don't think that fashion focuses on unhealthy-ly skinny women, I think that industry looks to extremes. Women like Crystal Renn, Beth Ditto and Sophie Dahl (in her day) are and were seriously loved by the industry, mostly because they portray a figure that is EXTREME, and to most women, unattainable.

    Either way, super skinny or with ridiculous botticelli curves, i think the fashion community admires extremes. Which can be unhealthy, but its society's responsibility to interpret these trends in a healthy way...
    I think.
    Anyhow. I frigging love this post.