Why Aren’t we Promoting Healthy Bodies in Female Modelling

I would like to start off this article by saying that both fat-shaming and skinny-shaming are wrong. Telling anyone that they’re not beautiful because they don’t fit in with your idea of beauty is a special kind of stupid, for we come in all different shapes and sizes, colours and bear all different kinds of scars. Everyone is beautiful – and don’t make the mistake of thinking just because someone is fat, or thin, means they can’t be beautiful as well. These terms are an adjective; they describe what your size translates to and I have been fat and skinny and then something in-between.

However, my articles hopefully resound with my readers; hopefully they tackle issues you never knew about, or the ones others would rather we forget. This article is no different, but it’s such an important one. It’s hard to type these words and pretend that this issue is one that is not sensitive. I honestly think it’s the most explosive issue and potentially opens up all sorts of abuse, from all sides of the spectrum. That doesn’t mean it’s a topic to be avoided, but one I wish to broach with you all.

I applaud confidence. Those who make decisions with their clothes and their bodies that I would never make, because I do not have that level of amazing confidence. I cannot pretend to understand high-level fashion, for it is something that doesn’t translate well with any one of my curves or bumps. I find it vaguely entertaining to watch a fashion show; like going to a beautiful aviary, where all of the birds are near-identical in shape and size. It is an art form that I only basically grasp and I do not claim to have any illusions of ever fitting into this world.

Catwalk models, or the vast majority of them, tend to be unhealthy. Their craft calls for them to be painfully thin, to be elongated and ethereal, with all sorts of cheekbones and pointy bones on show. This means a form of starvation, where they suffer; whether it is with problems with inside, or out. It is a known fact that models are the highest group to suffer with anorexia and bulimia in their quest to look just like the rails their clothes are hung on.

There are a lot of statistics surrounding models, mostly negative. It is a widely-covered area; for the press have jumped upon the effects this could be having on the younger generations etc. There are endless chat-shows, with world-renowned super-models disclaiming their fad, intense diets, showing that we too can emaciate ourselves. This is an obvious kind of unhealthy, this is the one we are most aware of.

Recently, (or fairly recently), modelling has started to change. There has been so much discussion upon this topic that the powers that be have decided to bring in ‘real-life’ models. Now, not one to judge, but it’s fairly insulting when a size 10 is being called a ‘plus-size’ model. I am a size 10, but infrequently and my thighs and bum never want to play game with that size 10. I am not ‘plus-size’.

But now we have a different sort of enemy, one that has seen millions of girls world-wide applauding them. The real ‘plus-size’ has become popular and that is the most worrying thing I have seen. For how can you replace one sort of unhealthy with another? That’s like choosing heroin over ecstasy; neither are good and neither should be applauded. This analogy may seem a little extreme, but I believe they can both be fitted in a similar category due to the relative negatives to health. Women have started to champion those who are obese and morbidly obese over those who are thin and what is that if not a kind of prejudice? Only the faces have changed, not the health problems.

Being fat is not healthy, just as being too thin is not healthy. Too often we are applauding those unhealthy habits and people. When can we start to champion ordinary woman – or better yet, fit, healthy, athletic women? Where are all those Wonder Women, the kind that have boobs and bum and decent-sized arm-muscles. The kind who want to be strong and show others to be strong. I don’t want to hear those models who are ‘plus-size’ or ‘thin’ explaining how to have confidence, when all their confidence comes from an unhealthy habit, whether it be purging or gorging, diets or giving into every craving. I want confidence to be shown by those who look strong and feel strong. When will women ever learn that championing either extreme is harming those who follow them?

I will give an example. If you believe someone is following you at night (yes, you get out your phone and call the police). If you are too thin you will give no fight; you cannot, for you have no energy to burn. If you are obese, then likewise you are more vulnerable and do not have the energy. If you are fit then you will have more strength to fight or flee.

Of course, we all naturally pre-disposed to a certain weight. Some of us are naturally thin and that’s ok, you’re beautiful and if you’re naturally a bit curvy then that too is ok, you’re beautiful. If you eat healthily and make sure to exercise every few days, then you are healthy and that is all that is needed. You are an inspiration no matter what shape you are in, as long as you maintain a healthy and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

I will not believe modelling has made any sort of progress until they start including and upholding being healthy. I want to see a girl who has muscles and some healthy fat on her body, not someone who has used food as a weapon and not sustenance. Where has all this love for obese models come from? This is not a healthy way to be, your body is not thanking you for the vast amounts of weight your poor skeleton has to pull around all day. You will suffer health-complications just the same as those who are too thin due to diet and extreme exercise.

Can we please stop condoning and supporting unhealthy models in the media and start to find those who are truly an aspiration. We have only replaced a picture of a thin woman with a vastly fat one in our daughters’ bedrooms and in no way is that acceptable.

If we no longer see the beauty in others, then let our children grow up knowing that whilst beauty is only skin-deep, we can always be strong and we can always be healthy. Let our children see role-models who we can be proud of.

When did we start replacing health with such extremes and why are we still stepping on egg-shells in relation to this topic?

Calling someone skinny can be commonplace and calling someone fat can be insulting, but they each even out to the same topic of shaming other women for the way that their trousers fit. We need to be the change we want to see and I want to see everyone aiming to be a better version of themselves.

Let us scrap these two extremes and promote fitness as a way of life. Extreme modelling should be banned, for either end of the spectrum.

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