I can't believe it's been over a month with this series already! Thank you for reading along, commenting, and giving your honest input on topics very near to my heart.
Today's topic, "The Body Positive Movement" is one that I have wanted to discuss for a long time, even before I started my blog. It's been something that has frustrated me in the modeling industry for years due to the deceiving and seemingly inclusive nature of "the movement", when in reality, it tends to do what the industry did before the movement. Take body types to an extreme and welcome those that fit into either extreme, without taking into consideration those that fall into the other body types and sizes.
I think it is AMAZING and EMPOWERING that plus-sized models are getting so much attention these days and that so many are able to work as much if not more than "straight sized" models. Anytime the fashion industry starts including some alternative body types to ultra skinny is always a positive to allow more women to relate and feel included in fashion. The Movement is meant to broaden the idea of what beauty is and include women of all shapes and sizes in fashion spreads, campaigns, fashion shows, etc. This idea is awesome if designers, companies and brands would actually do this.
However, what I see over and over again is pressure to now be either the type of skinny that agents and clients feel is best for photos (i.e. 0-2, maybe 4 depening on the body type) orrrr totally plus, making it known that gaining extra weight to fit into plus wouldn't be a bad thing for your career. For instance, one agent/figure at a previous (BIG) agency told me that if I really wanted to work a lot, I could lose 10-15 pounds or I could gain 40 to really kill it in the plus market. He wasn't being mean or joking, he was perfectly sincere and serious. Thats the problem. I am a size 27 jean and am a 4-6 depending on the brand and am 5'11''. I don't look skinny but I certainly look fit, and for me to lose even 7-10 pounds, I would have to go into a very unhealthy place. The alternative is gaining 40 pounds, which is not only super unhealthy for me since I am not that curvy or big naturally, but would also be terrible for my body, mind, and emotions! What if I did that because I was desparate for his approval and still didn't get the work I wanted? This is what happens all the time in the modeling industry. Agents suggest changes to cover their ass, changes are made, and sometimes results stay the same and models are left confused, insecure, and made to feel like they just aren't pretty, skinny, cool, edgy, fill in the blank, enough.
Regarding the plus sized suggestion: even though I refused to gain the weight, he still sent me out on plus sized castings to which I was met with confusion and frustration, The plus clients asked me who sent me and if they knew it was a plus casting. I said who it was and that yes, he knew. They kept staring and told me plus sizes in fashion/modeling start at 12 but they sometimes push it to a 10 or 8 but I still didn't fit this criteria. Sighhhhhh inside. Yep, I know. I said he/ I knew that but he wanted to see if I could work the job anyways. THIS WAS SO HUMILIATING. Not because of someone sending me for a plus casting (that's just stupid and a waste of time because I don't fit the sizing) but because I seemed like I thought I might be plus. Which I did not, I was just doing what I was told. This is the problem. This man thought that in order to work in fashion, I would have to gain a bunch of weight or lose a bunch, What about modeling as I was? A fit, thin, and healthy girl? Like representing the 4-6 sizing out there? Is that sooo crazy??
Of course I work jobs and have since I started 7 years ago for my sizing, but they're always the athlete, the pro, the all american girl which is awesome because commercial jobs are where it's at. But for the castings for "normal" girls, catalogue, beauty, fashion etc. I am told too often that my body type doesn't work for those. I look too big or thick. This is in the midst of this movement where brands are trying to be more inclusive, but that isn't so because a thin fit size 4 is being told she doesn't fit either mold! That is not inclusive. If I am not being represented, certainly many others with body types similar or bigger than myself are not either.
I truly want for fashion and even the culture within our society to stop putting pressure on women to look a certain way, whether that be super curvy or super skinny. There are so many sizes and shapes out there, what right does anyone have to say which ones are beautiful? This movement needs to start including not only thin and plus girls, but girls that might be somewhere in between, or maybe shorter, or super tall, or athletic, or whateverrrr! If my plus friends are feeling pressure to gain more weight, and my straight size model friends are feeling the pressure to lose, we still have a long way to go.
Do you guys feel this way or are you feeling represented in the current market? I would love to get some outside opinions as I only know what I experience behind the scenes. I hope you all feel beautiful and know that the beauty and fashion industry show a specific type of beauty. It might not represent you but you are beautiful and uniquely you as cliche as that sounds. I hope to see more diversity (this is happening more and more which is awesome), sizing, and versions of beauty in the media and fashion. Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.
I appreciate you all!