It’s not something new that the ugly beauty standards of the fashion industry fuel the body shaming mentality of society. People, especially women, suffer from low self-esteem as the fashion industry glamourizes the toxic beauty standards and makes them feel low about their own body image. The toxic beauty standards of fashion industry manipulate society’s viewpoint of body positivity. The foremost victim of this unnatural beauty standards are the celebrities, models, and idols.
Since long, the fashion industry has focused on the slim and perfect body shape, pressurizing the women to diet and workout crazily. The thin and slim bodies have been glorified no matter how unnatural it looked. The primary requirement for women to look pretty in the fashion world is to fit in small sized dresses.
We rarely see plus-size models flaunting their big bodies in a dress which has been commercialized by the fashion industry. It is 2021, and still the body discrimination in the fashion industry affects women’s self-esteem about her body image is taking place in every nook and cranny.
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Where is the Plus-Size section?
TThe effect of the fashion industry and the way media glorify the ugly beauty standards of fashion industry, ultimately affects the commoners. Apart from the big and famous brands, small and local brands are also influenced by these unnatural beauty standards of fashion industry. While going shopping, many garment shops and malls don’t display the plus sized dresses on the mannequins. But the definition of pretty isn’t based on the sizes, healthy is new pretty. If a woman feels comfortable in her body, and if she is healthy, then the body shamers cannot make her feel awful about how she looks. Many shops don’t even keep the plus-size dresses in their latest collection. Is fashion only made for skinny women? Or plus size women aren’t worthy to dress up how they want?
Why body image shouldn’t be the main focus in fashion?
Body discrimination in the fashion industry is the main culprit to set these unnatural beauty standards. Women’s bodies are natural. Not every woman is made of the same gene. The way they look isn’t always the result of overeating and zero work out. Some women are of big sizes because of hereditary reasons and some women suffer from hormonal diseases. There isn’t always a way a woman can shed body fat because the ugly beauty standards of fashion industry told her to.
Not just plus-size women, women who are skinny also face this body discrimination set by the fashion industry. They are made to believe that if they don’t fit in these unnatural and unhealthy beauty standards; they do not belong to the world of glamours.
How does social media affect body-image?
The body discrimination in the fashion industry ultimately affects a woman of how she feels about her body. A woman’s body is her personal canvas. How she makes it beautiful and present it to the world is entirely up to her. However, the media nowadays, which are the allies of the fashion and glamour industry, portray something else as viral beauty standards.
People are nowadays immensely active on social media. According to Mindless Magazine, in this digital era, the users of social media have increased drastically. Over 500 million people scroll through Instagram regularly. These people follow some Instagram influencers as their role models. Most of these influencers are young teenagers with a primary audience, over 72% is teenagers as well. Teenagers are easily influenced. So, it’s easier to target this age group as the primary victims.
Young teenagers who aren’t experienced believe easily what they see. When they see an influencer looking perfect wearing the latest trending dress, they ask themselves, ‘why couldn’t they look that beautiful?’ Those who are enough rational can understand that these celebrities can alter their appearances by going through some beauty procedures. But most teen minds cannot make out the differences and opt for the easiest way and that is dieting, fasting, and extreme weight loss workout.
Human minds are wired to compare their self-image with others and which is normal. But when the ugly beauty standards of fashion industry made the teenagers obsessed with celebrities’ beauty standards to mold themselves into someone more desirable, like their favorite role models, then it’s a matter of concern.
Also read: Why Are Women More Depressed Than Men?
How body shaming affects women’s self-esteem?
Fashion industry’s main target was to manipulate women’s ego with their unrealistic and unhealthy beauty standards so that they would feel more confident when sporting a smaller size of dress. So that, women would spend more money on buying these clothes and making themselves more glamourous and desirable. These mind games played by the fashion industry affected women’s self-esteem who could not fit into these beauty standards and got victimized by the body shamers.
Body shaming plus size women and promoting small size women created the unjustly body discrimination in the society. These unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards not only affected the mental health of women but also made them fall into the trap of eating disorders. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa (ANAD) statistics, the number of eating disorder patients is quite huge. 28.8 million Americans suffer from eating disorders in their lifetime. Although the fashion industry does not take active part in these disorder statistics, but it is certainly a major factor. The mental struggle to fit into society and match the unrealistic beauty standards set by the fashion industry cause these critical health issues.
How to respond to body shamers?
Apart from the glamorous social media, plus size people face the body shaming cruelty, and fight the body discrimination regularly. People inconsiderately and consciously call out, ‘fat bit*h’ or ‘eat more bit*ch’ as the form of direct body shaming. Some use more indirect but still hurtful comments like, ‘you are kind of skinny bro’ or ‘are you sure you want another piece of pizza?’
There is no particular way you can respond to body shaming. But if you stand your ground and are confident in your body-image, you can still kick some a** with witty comebacks.
Here are some helpful options for you to consider.
- “I’m natural, and that makes me original.” You can always add “unlike you” in the end if you want to.
- Just like Kelly Clarkson’s response when someone called her, ‘you’re fat’, you tell them, “I’m still fu***** awesome.”
- “My body is mine. You have no say regarding anything related to that.”
- “Okay, but I’m healthy, and I love myself. Your validation is not needed.”
Here are some clapback tweets about body shaming:
Body shaming needs to stop. Today’s body positivity movement is getting louder against these unnatural and unhealthy body standards set by the fashion industry. It is very important not to let the fashion world’s beauty standards manipulate the young minds. Body image issues that make people fall victim to the ugly beauty standards of the fashion industry need to stop.
The fashion industry, along with media and social media, need to take responsibility and implement life-saving changes. The industry needs more model diversity- from small to plus size and a healthy message to promote.
Not just the fashion industry, society plays a big role in conditioning our mindset about beauty standards. As a society, we also need to accept that slim isn’t the mold of beauty. Healthy and confidant is the new beauty. Beauty is in everyone. It doesn’t depend on their shape or size. We need to be more size inclusive. When society as a whole accepts this new age beauty standards, that is when change will occur.
- Eating Disorder Statistics. General & Diversity Stats | ANAD.
- The body image discrimination in fashion. Mindless Magazine