I am delighted to see society slowly moving away from the idea that women must be deathly thin in order to be considered beautiful. I was only a child in the 90s, but I’ve seen plenty of heroin-chic advertising to know it was a very real phenomenon. Positive movements seem to have cropped up all over social media; “strong is the new skinny” is very positive (unless you’re a naturally skinny girl and are easily offended), Buzzfeed makes a conscious effort to be body positive and frequently instils the idea that bodies are beautiful in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there are a multitude of plus-sized bloggers on Instagram rocking outfits that might typically not be considered “suitable” for a larger woman.
Of course I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a pressure to remain slim, despite a slow and consistent movement toward self-acceptance. In the Western world, celebrities are idolised, and having a flat stomach, large breasts, long, slim legs and a big booty (who even looks like that?) are desired. But in general, things feel like they are changing for the better. Slowly, but surely.
Nicely done society, for once, you’ve done something right.
We human beings however, tend to have a flawed tendency to take things way further is necessary. Today, I want to talk about the rise of the obese model. Not the plus size model, who’s size ranges from a UK 12 – 16 roughly, but models who are a size 20+ and are dangerously overweight. I have no personal vendetta against these girls, and I imagine they genuinely believe they are doing something good for girls just like them, and perhaps previously unhappy overweight girls out there can wake up in the morning and feel better about themselves, and so for that, I applaud models like Tess Holliday for gaining publicity and taking a prominent and brave step into the world of fashion. But let’s not pretend for one second that being so overweight is a healthy life choice, and is anything to be desired.
I absolutely despise when people assume that simply because someone is bigger they are less healthy or fit. Girls who aren’t a size 8 can be absolutely as fit or even more so than their slimmer counterparts. But those that are obese, potentially morbidly obese, cannot live a healthy lifestyle for any length of time. Excess weight can cause strain on the heart, and problems with muscles and joints. The same is of course true for being so unnaturally thin; it’s dangerous physically and mentally – and it’s not something we should strive for.
We seem to have matched one extreme with another. It is shocking and uncomfortable to see a model with so little fat on her bones that her ribs are protruding at odd angles, and she genuinely looks as though a gust of wind might sweep her off her feet. It should be equally shocking to see a model that has so much excess fat we wonder if she can claim a flight of stairs without gasping for air. We shouldn’t be encouraging women to be content as morbidly obese in the same way as we shouldn’t encourage smoking or binge drinking. If we’re going to be body positive, let’s actually be body positive. Lets listen to our bodies needs and roll with them. We should embrace the rise of the “normal girl.” An averaged sized woman who looks great in whatever she’s wearing, as opposed to feeling the need to go to such extreme lengths to (I assume) prove a point.