6 ft tall
To be born in a time and an environment where my body type is the beauty standard.
I am not being arrogant.
When I turn on the TV, I see girls at model casting shows being turned down because they do not have my height or weight. In magazines, I see dark skin women being photoshopped to appear lighter. I can easily apply for a job without having to worry that they might find my choice of hair style “too extreme”, whether I decide to leave it natural or to cover it up. Women ask me if I can give them diet tips. I can travel anywhere and people will ask if I am from Hollywood and how I got such a lovely skin tone. I never worry about getting treated worse because of my appearance.
I know other tall and skinny women, but most women just don’t look like me. Still, women like me are representative of fashion world-wide.
Body types like mine run on catwalks.
Body types like mine will be shown in TV adverts for the latest anti cellulite body lotion.
Body types like mine make money just because they are lucky enough to be born in a time where the industry picks these handful of women. We are being idealised so that capitalists can make money out of a beauty standard that most women will never be able to reach.
In modern western culture, healthy and wealthy bodies must be skinny or extremely muscular in order to match a lifestyle of free time and luxury. The beauty industry endorses this paradox in order to make money out of it. Of course, it is profitable to capitalise off a standard that only a few people can reach. By buying this shampoo to tame your natural hair, you can make it more “appropriate” for society and using this bleaching creme will make your dark skin look just a little bit more like the “beautiful” skin tone all those Calvin Klein models have. If every kind of body shape and skin color were praised and if we were told that there is no need to change, would those products still be profitable?
We should start realising that we have been brain washed.
& thanks to modern plastic surgery, we are are still being brain washed:
The beauty industry is appropriating a new trend towards curvy girls and so-called “body positivity”. Women are now being shamed for not having a “big butt”, a small waist or “big boobs”. This encourages girls to buy waist trainers or have operations, for example “booty shots”. We are being tricked again, this time with different standards which are just as unrealistic. You must have thick thighs and a huge bum, but please hide your tummy with this piece of clothing and still buy that lotion against stretch marks since they are still not desirable either. If we just accepted curvy girls, how would they be able to make money?
Those upcoming trends are endorsing a body type which is often found amongst Latinx, Caribbean, African or African-American women. For hundreds of years those women and their looks have been treated horribly, so seeing them represented in main stream media is a great start. Some white women are starting to feel threatened by those trends and so they steal whatever society considers beautiful to fulfil these new beauty standards; thereby adding to their already exiting white privilege. So now you will see white women getting their lips or butts done, while completely ignoring the fact that black and Latinx women are still being assaulted for having been born with such mouths and bodies.
It should be our goal to praise every woman for what she is instead of turning certain types into desirable trends.
Therefore, representation is only key if it is diverse and all-inclusive. And, most importantly, authentic.
Words by Hannah Wolny
Photo by Amuna Wagner
6 replies on “Right Time and Place To Be A Skinny White Girl”
Thanks for sharing your opinion and perspective with world.
I don’t know how old you are but I’m going to assume that you’re about 20 ish years old. I’m also going to assume that you’ve been educated by public institutions like myself.
Beauty standards go hand in hand with who is currently in power and control the narrative within a specific geographic border.
There is no society who will truly have multiple beauty standards. That’s a reality a lot of people don’t realize. If such a thing is possible I just want to know one example where that has been the case.
You see, humans today are not much different from humans 5 and 10 thousands years ago. We have the same blood pumping through our veins and same neural makeup.
The best way to understand human behavior is to study history. And when I look through history, I don’t see anything like you just articulated ever happening for any sustainable period of time.
And this is just the fact of humanity and the fact of life.
There will always be a beauty ideal but there’s no need in changing that or fitting into it in order to feel good.
The subject of represantation is important, but for my taste you focus too much on looks and external affirmation. I think the solution doesn’t lie so much within acceptance by society and others but rather in developing acceptance for yourself regardless of the opinion of others.
Also you might like to reflect on why you wrote that article the way you did. One surely could do it without constantly stressing your own good qualities.
Kind regards and Namaste,
Thank you for reading this post and replying to it.
I know that beauty standards go as you say it “hand in hand with who is currenly in power and control (…) within specific geographic borders” and that certain beauty standards are nothing new.
But in my opinion you can not compare our modern society to the society 5 thousand years ago when it comes to this subject due to the fact that we now have a whole new system of advertising and global influecing via magazines, websites etc.
Modern influencers reach a lot more people than people were able to 10 thousand years ago (or even 50 years ago) and we should start talking about how we can be more aware of what is constantly shown to us. Also, the plastic surgery industry is becoming bigger and shaping our bodies into standards which are far away from natural might be nothing new but nonetheless something I would like to criticize.
One of the reasons which inspired me to write this piece was the fact that I know many girls who suffered from eating disorders and who would constantly compare themselves to the women shown on TV, magazine covers or adverts (phenomenons of the 20th and 21st century). I feel like if those girls were exposed to images that would remind them of themselves, they could have dealt with their body issues much better.
And if we start speaking up against it and tell big companies or the film industry that we want to see other body types as well, it might be a first step into the right direction.
I also think that it is important to remind young girls that they should accept themselves for who they are and rather than focusing on looks they should be aware of their insides but we still live in a world in which looks matter a lot so I feel like there could be done even more than just repeating the sentence “just learn to love yourself”.
Thank you for your reply and leaving constructive criticism which I always appreciate.
I understand that you would like me to foucs more on inner beauty and I agree that it is more important to accept yourself than being accepted by society.
However, eating disorders and other mental health problems caused (not only but enough to talk abou it) by soicety are very real. And it is only becoming worse since in our modern world we are constantly exposed to adverts etc.
It is important to tell women to focus on loving themselfs but I feel like there can be done even more than repeating the sentence “Just ignore other people and accept yourself” since it is something easy to say but hard to do especially for younger girls.
I am very aware of the way I wrote the articel. I started of explaining that I don’t think I am everybody’s type and that I know that not everybody thinks I am pretty but I am also realizing my privilige. If I would critisze the whole system which actually makes me profit and ignoring the fact that I am tall, white and skinny people could have gotten a very wrong impression of me. I am also actually trying to explain why they shouldn’t be considered “good qualities” or why I would like other women to say that they have other qualities than me but that they are just as good.