“I love women. I’m trying to do beautiful things with them. I’m not trying to insult them. My life is not about that.” — Calvin Klein
“I have always believed that fashion was not only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence.” — Yves Saint Laurent
Is fashion really making us all feel beautiful or is it building on our insecurities? We wonder if what Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent dreamed up holds any true today. Because what we come across is a lot of women being told by fashion imagery that they are not good enough, and even the models in that imagery confessing about body insecurities. So who is secure?
Not the Victoria Secret Model Cameron Russel who in her TED talk stated that
“The thing that I have never said on camera is that ‘I am insecure.’ And I am insecure because I have to think about what I look like every day. Models have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes and they are the most physically insecure women, probably, on the planet.”
It is not even ‘hopepeace33’ who confesses at Experience Project.com
“I’m a fourteen-year-old girl and I feel very insecure about myself” or ‘Chichika’ on the same community saying “I look in the mirror and immediately try to cover my stomach with my arms. i just…hate my body. so much.”
So it is not the models who are secure about their looks and not the consumers. It is not the people who work in the industry and possibly not even the people who are behind all the imagery and the whole fashion dream. The imagery is constructed.
“These pictures are not pictures of me, they’re constructions” says Russell. “They’re constructions by professionals — hairstylists, make up artists, photographers stylists and all of their assistants and pre-production and post-production and they build this. That’s not me.”
Even Doutzen Kroes admits she is not the person in her pictures. “If you put me in bad light with no hair and makeup, it’s not good . . . I wake up sometimes like, this is not what I see when I look at the magazine, who is this visitor in the bathroom?” She even admits to being guilty for having a profession that makes other women insecure about their bodies and who they are. But who is then really propagating all the insecurity? We might find an answer in what Tyra Banks has to say.
Tyra Banks wrote in her ‘open letter to models’ published in The Daily Beast back in 2012 “The truth is that if I was just starting to model at age 17 in 2012, I could not have had the career that I did. I would’ve been considered too heavy”. Further she admits “In my early 20s I was a size four. But then I started to get curvy. My agency gave my mom a list of designers that didn’t want to book me in their fashion shows anymore” But oh is it the designers alone propagating it? An editor at British Vogue revealed, “I spent the first ten years of my career making girls look thinner, and the last ten making them look larger.” So yes, first it was photoshopping them to look thin and now plumper. It is the truth of our times. You would see it too if you came across Karlie Kloss’ pre-edit and post-edit images for the Número magazine’s October 2012 spread.
But when we look at it all deeply, and apply same basic economics that we learnt at school – Supply has to meet demand. As a society we must be in a way demanding a certain standard of beauty, and accepting it as well even when it means that we start to hate ourselves. If you still don’t get it a quote by Dr. Gail Dines might be just what you need to drive the point home.
So, from one view fashion does propagate body insecurity and body image issues. But on the other hand, only if we let it. Let us take up that responsibility – each one of us today. Miranda Kerr mentioned something beautiful that really answers it all “Models are constantly being told they’re not good enough. You’ve really got to practice loving yourself” So no matter what you are told by the people, the magazines or anyone else PRACTICE loving yourself consciously and everyday. Very soon hopefully the demand will tip towards the positive and the supply will have to meet it!
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