I found this tonight when I was going through some old work in my portfolio. If I'm honest I think I handed in a shorter version of this in as a portfolio piece for university but I've changed it round a bit and quite liked it upon re-reading it and decided it should get an airing on my blog. It's an opinion piece so please interact with it and let me know what you think...
How thin is too thin? This is the question which seems to be habitually popping up in fashion and media circles. As pictures of shrinking celebrities and models appear in celebrity magazines and are uploaded to blogs the spotlight on the human body gets brighter and brighter. But how damaging is this? As a young girl I had a select handful of celebrities I wanted to emulate and paid a huge amount of attention to how they looked and acted. And nothing’s changed. Young girls still look up to the celebrities who appear on the cover of magazines and while some people say that advertising doesn’t have such a big affect as we think it does. Even if it’s just one person, an affect is had.
The media has a big impact on what reaches us as consumers, and what people pick up on is what is presented to them. If someone is told something enough, it becomes a fact in their mind. An easy example is the sky being blue: we’re told it is blue and it’s something we don’t question because we’re told this from a young age. So if a young girl, boy, woman or man is shown enough images of ‘beautiful’ models and celebrities who look immaculate and are so often celebrated for being thin, then brutalised for putting on weight, that standard become the ideal in their mind.
Sometimes it’s absolutely ridiculous. The UK’s national average dress size for a woman is a size 16. My size six friend genuinely thinks she’s obese and hideous. She’s beautiful and easily gets the most attention on a night out, but because she’s told to desire perfection she doesn’t think she’s good enough. The ‘perfect’ body she aspires to is one staring at her from the computer screen or a magazine and is often airbrushed to the extreme. It’s not realistic and it doesn’t celebrate our individuality.
I’ve struggled with weight for years, I’ve stepped the first steps of an eating disorder only to be dragged back by close friends and I’ve finally accepted my body for what it is. It’s imperfect. My hair can be wild, becoming tangled at a moment’s notice, my stomach isn’t flat and I have feet larger than I’d like them to be. But it’s me. And so what if those things are wrong with me? Why do we focus on the negatives? Yes my hair is frizzy but it curls beautifully and is my most complimented feature. Over the last year I have, with some set-backs and crisis moments of low confidence cropping up to haunt me again – stopped desiring to be stick thin and embraced myself in all my plus-sized wonder.