At a recent girls night out, I overheard one of my friends (let’s call her Faith) commenting on how another one of our friend’s (Harmony’s) body type was in style. The group started to chime in calling out individual girls they knew who’s body type was widely accepted and very much ‘in’ today.
I refrained from this conversation, busy with a different friend but listening none-the-less. I couldn’t help but feel for the girls who did not fit into the body type that was apparently on trend today. Never once did anyone say that x-body type wasn’t in or less attractive, but more that today’s y-body type is seen as a more beautiful figure. The girls commented how fashion caters more towards y-body and the general public has decided that certain assets of y-body are more desirable than other body types which, wasn’t always the case.
Can you guess what y-body type is? Would your friends agree with you?
I won’t tell you which female figure Faith was referring to or what Harmony looks like. I don’t know if I agree with Faith’s ideas about body type trends but I do know that Harmony is beautiful, not because she looks a certain way but, because she is an amazing person. She is confident and knows how to dress her body type. She makes everyone feel good, tries to look on the bright side in all situations and most importantly she is a fierce friend.
While Faith and the other girls were commenting on how her figure was the popular look of today, Harmony refrained from giving her own opinion and looked almost bashful. Noticing her discomfort someone changed the subject but the conversation stuck with me.
How can we change the way society views women if women are a part of the problem? The very idea that a specific body type could be trending, no matter if that body type is curvy, skinny, athletic, or everything in between, is not right and honestly, I think it’s wrong! Body types do not trend, especially today. Sure, everyone wants to be fit and healthy but I feel like the general message out there today is to love your figure no matter what. We’re never going to look like the person sitting next to us and I don’t think we really want that.
Even the idea that the fashion industry is still catering to one single body type is not accurate. I know there are plenty of stores that still only sell up to US size 10 (or even just 6!), but there are more that sell clothes for larger women and stores that don’t separate everything into “normal” and “plus”. Though this wasn’t always the case, lately I think people are making an effort to make every figure feel beautiful and comfortable in clothing. I think the media is trying to promote healthy body types over skinny or curvy ones. Social media is rife with love your body messages and standing up to body-shaming bullies. Of course it’s not everyone and we still have a long way to go, but the bricks are being laid for a more figure flattering as apposed to figure shaming, society.
The recent Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition cover featuring plus size model Ashley Graham received a lot of comments, some negative and some positive. I don’t know if it was the right decision or not to put her on the cover or to frame the issue around a “plus size” model, but I do know that the general public loved it while some figure conscious women did not. They claimed the cover promoted obesity and unhealthy habits while attacking skinny girls (Ashley Graham has a vigorous workout routine and maintains a healthy diet. For all those who think otherwise just google her). I truly do not believe this was the intention of SI but I will say that if the magazine had chosen to feature Ms. Graham on the cover but not turn it into a “curvy girl” special there may have been a different reaction.
Why do we need to point out that we’re promoting full figured women instead of a thinner frame? Why couldn’t it just be, “Look at this beautiful, confident, woman who loves the way she looks,” and right next to her is a picture of a size two, equally as confident, equally as beautiful woman who also loves the way she looks? I think both deserve the spotlight because I guarantee you, each of those women works hard for the body they have and probably always embraced their figure.
People gain weight, people lose weight. Eating right is hard today with the cost of organic, healthy foods (but that’s a story for another article). As long as you love the way you look, you are making an effort to be healthy and you find a way to be confident in your own body, then it shouldn’t matter which figure is currently on the cover of XYZ Magazine or who your friends think has the best body.
I recently overheard some girls telling their friend she was a total 10 and any guy who didn’t fall in love with her was blind. Well what about what’s in her head? I know it’s cheesy, but what’s on the inside makes what’s on the outside even more beautiful. I doubt we’ll ever be rid of categorising women’s figures but one doesn’t have to be more beautiful than the other. They’re just different and that’s that.
I think the most troubling part of Faith’s comment, and maybe it’s because I count myself among the Harmony body types of the world, is that to be on trend means at some point I’ll be out of style. Even writing it makes me giggle because that’s the silliest idea. I’m a person; I don’t go out of style because all of the sudden society decides it wants to promote something else. I can’t trade my body in for a different one like I did my ’90’s platform flip-flops for my trendy Moroccan sandals.
So, my figure might appeal to you today and not so much tomorrow, but, at the end of the day, taking care of my body and being happy with the way I look because I say so is the only trend that matters to me.