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