By Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director
Happy Love Your Body Day to everyone, and I mean everyone! This is NOW Foundation’s 12th annual Love Your Body Day and actions are taking place all over the country. The campaign was started to counter the negative, unrealistic and sometimes hazardous-to-our-health images foisted upon us by the fashion, beauty and advertising industries. Love Your Body Day is a time to celebrate just how fabulous you are in your natural state and to talk back to designers, cosmetic companies and others who promote narrow and stereotyped beauty standards.
In that spirit, people have been objecting to the plummeting weight of fashion models for several years now. When Love Your Body first started, Kate Moss was the epitome of the “waif” model, but she looks positively voluptuous compared to some of the models walking the runway now.
Leave it to The Washington Post’s fashion writer, Robin Givhan, to come to the defense of the fashion industry this past Sunday with a column that blames the use of ultra-thin models on — guess who — “fat” people!
This premise makes no sense. If we as a nation are getting heavier, then models don’t need to be all that thin to embody the “rarefied world of perfection” that designers want to portray. Only if we were a super-fit, slim country would our models need to be anorexic-looking to seem more blessed or disciplined than the rest of us. Besides, why must the appearance of models be so fantasy-based that they have to be Photoshopped into looking like cartoons? Why can’t we see models of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages? It might even be good for business if all women saw themselves in magazines and on the runway.
There’s nothing wrong with speaking out against narrow, unattainable beauty standards. Girls grow up being bombarded with images that encourage them to focus on their appearance, images that undermine their self-esteem. From a very early age girls absorb the message that they are always on display and that their worth will be judged largely on their looks and sexual appeal. This message is dangerous for many reasons, and I find it outrageous that Givhan warns us in her piece that until we shape up, we should shut up. Instead, NOW will continue celebrating Love Your Body Day, and we encourage people to mark this event not just on the third Wednesday of every October, but every day.