Do fashion brands and magazines think about the impact of using the same size models? Do they consider the effect this has upon teenagers and young adults? Why is Photoshop used to remove natural imperfections that make us who we are? In almost all magazines there is some sort of diet recommendations for those wishing to lose weight, however, do you see many about gaining weight?
Social media and photoshopping ‘imperfections’
There are many teenagers/young adults who aspire to look like Victoria’s Secret models, the models for fashion brands or more commonly nowadays social media influencers. Not all are aware models bodies undergo Photoshop to be made as the ‘perfect’ body with acne and stretch marks removed. This is one of the most mentally damaging experiences that teenagers/young adults can experience. To make an individual think they are not perfect because they have acne which is natural for teenagers when their bodies are changing, is disgusting.
Social media is popular amongst teenagers and young adults. Spending hours scrolling through Instagram looking at posts from influencers and celebrities, giving a false reality and unrealistic beauty standards. Many of these photos go through Photoshop to once again remove imperfections. Social media is becoming more popular with younger children, making them more exposed to the false reality of social media. From younger ages they are believing that acne and stretch marks, including many more natural body occurrences especially in teenagers as they are growing in to be young adults are not normal. Resulting in them going to extreme measures to be viewed as ‘perfect’ by society and going on fad diets which ultimately causes long term damage.
I was around 12 years old, first year of secondary school, one of my friends was infatuated with losing weight. Her desire was to “look like the models in magazines and to have the body of a catwalk model”. She was always a healthy weight. However, her obsession with wanting to be thinner was damaging to not only her body but also her mental health. She did not think she was ‘normal’ because her body was not the same as models and those on Instagram.
Each week there was a new extreme diet that was on her list that she wanted to try out. Magazines or social media would be the place to find the new diets. They would have a celebrity such as Victoria Beckham stating this is the diet they follow. After trying out many diets and exercise routines she became lethargic. She was not eating the correct foods and reduced the number of calories she was eating. The harsh reality was these extreme diets was never going to work.
Natural slim figure
There are several people I know, including myself who have a naturally slim figure. This may seem like the dream for many; being able to eat what you like without gaining weight, assuming they can wear what they like or being happy with how they look. Yes, being able to eat what you like is great, however, many including a cousin of mine have experienced name-calling. I will always remember her saying that it’s easier said than done to not listen to other people’s opinions or to wonder what people are thinking but having a naturally slim frame you wonder if people think you are anorexic or have an eating disorder.
Celebrating all sizes
There are many celebrities such as Lizzo, Alicia Keys and Rhianna who celebrate body image and are strong advocates for the movement; body positivity. Rhianna uses models for her fashion range, Fenty, who are all sizes, heights and races, promoting inclusivity for all. A couple of years ago Alicia Keys started a makeup-free movement where she stopped wearing makeup for her public appearances. These are just some of the celebrities who are trying to break the stigma of what beautiful looks like and instead create a world where everybody is comfortable in their own skin which is realistic.
More and more fashion brands are incorporating a broader size range into their collections. ASOS for example, promote size 2 to size 34 this demonstrates they are aware there are different body shapes and sizes and are celebrating this in the various sizes they accompany for.
Will our lives ever be not filtered?
Even though ASOS have a vast size range for all, they were however under scrutiny in 2019. It was noticed they had used clips to make a larger dress fit a smaller model. BBC wrote an article about this and included some popular discussions amongst social media users. One said, “why not clearly show how the dress fits, instead of changing it to fit in a different way than it clearly wouldn’t without the clip”. Surely ASOS should use the correct size models for each particular clothing item, considering they have sizes ranging from 2 – 34? This once again is showing a false reality.
There are millions of young children who have grown up thinking filtered photos are normal. This leads them to believe natural body changes including acne are not normal. Is this the reality and life we want our future generations to believe is ‘normal’? Will social media ever have untouched photos? Will fashion brands ditch Photoshop and keep models stretch marks and acne?