As a young girl, I was always obsessed with the art of fashion and everything within the realm. Models, sets, clothing, music, they were all part of an intricate play for the runway telling a story with each show. As I got older and into my adolescent years, I started as all young girls do, to compare how I looked to Linda, Naomi, and Kate.
The stick thin models of the 1990’s were the bar I weighed myself against at the ripe age of 13. I was 5’8 and weighed about 155lbs. I was overweight by doctors standards, but I took dance and walked a few miles daily. I had a small stomach but I wasn’t what one would call sloppy. It still never changed the fact that I was not “Runway Thin”. Over that summer where I finally became a teenager, I reached a turning point that many young girls have, I realized that I hated the way I looked. There were so many times where the cruelest words came not from outside but from within.
I did not, however, realize that the body image I was comparing myself to was unattainable for me. This is a struggle that I have been on for what seems like an eternity. I started a cycle that summer, that still plagues me to this day. I was anorexic for a while, starving myself and binging on water and baby carrots until I got so sick my period didn’t come for a few months and my mother realized something was wrong.
So, I started eating again. This time, I started binge eating. I would eat “healthy” meals my mother would cook, and then because I was so depressed, I would binge eat in the middle of the night. Cookies, cake, whatever I could get my hands on until I felt sick. Then, I would throw up and go back to sleep as though nothing happened.
I went through different stages of this all of my life, even as an adult. Even after I started eating healthy, and working out as an adult, I still have those days where I just want to eat everything and drown the sorrow of my day. I regret it, and I beat myself up for it, take laxatives, and get ready for the next installment of healthy living.
As I write all of this down, I realize I am not the only woman who has gone through this in my life. Not everyone has gone through eating disorders, but I know many have been their own worst critics based on what society deems the appropriate body type. Naomi, Kate, and Linda have all taken a step back from the runway, but the new standards of today are the Kardashian‘s, the Hadid Sisters, and the Jenners.
All of these ladies are beautiful in their own right, but some are natural, and others are enhanced. As I watch a younger generation of girls grow up, it is frightening to see many of them hold themselves to the standard of Kim or Kylie’s enhanced bodies. Doing hundreds of squats a day to get an ass like Kim, wearing corsets to get a waist like Kylie, or using strange contraptions that can disfigure them all to get plumper lips that Kylie paid to have injected.
At the same time, there are beautiful role models like model Ashley Graham, Empire‘s Gabourey Sidibe, and Orange is The New Black‘s Dascha Blanco who are comfortable in their own skin and promoting body positivity to larger women and girls around the world. There are more designers now taking notice that women come in all shapes and sizes. Christian Siriano was the first designer to have plus size women, in addition, the straight size women on his runway in February, Michael Kors also featured Ashley Graham in his show.
However, there are still parts of the fashion community that are not realizing that dividing women up by size is not only hurting brands, but it is hurting women in general. Recently, I wrote a piece on model Ulrikke Hoyer, who is very thin and athletic, that got turned away from the Louis Vuitton Cruise show in Tokyo because allegedly, the casting director said she had a ” very bloated stomach and bloated face” as recounted by Ulrikke on her Instagram feed (below).
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I just returned from Tokyo/Japan, where Louis Vuitton held a beautiful cruise show in Kyoto, I just never made it to Kyoto cause I was canceled for the show due to being ‘too big’. (I’m a size 34-36) Ashley Brokaw’s caster Alexia had said that there had been some problems during the fitting. According to her I had “a very bloated stomach”, “bloated face”, and urged me to starve myself with this statement “Ulrikke needs to drink only water for the next 24 hours”. I was shocked when I heard it. I woke up at 2am and was extremely hungry. The breakfast started at 6:30am – I had the absolute minimum. I was afraid to meet Alexia so my luck she didn’t arrive until 8am, when my plate was taken off the table. She said good morning to me and the other girls and looked at me, then down on my non-existent plate and up at me again. She was checking if I had been eating food. At 7pm my mother agent from Denmark called my to tell the sad news that Louis Vuitton had chosen to cancel me from the show without the refitting and that I was going to be sent back home. Not only did I have a belly, my face was puffy now also my back was a problem. I am glad I’m 20 years old with an elite sports background and not a 15 year old girl, who are new to this and unsure about herself, because I have no doubt that I would then have ended up very sick and scarred long into my adult life. TO READ THE FULL STORY CLICK IN MY BIO!!!!!!! #LVCruise2018 #mistreatmentofmodels #AshleyBrokaw #thefutureisfemale #sowhyeatingdisorders #youknowitstrue #shareifyoucare #jamespscully
If an athletic beautiful woman such as Ulrikke is considered “bloated” in this state, we have a serious problem with the way we see beauty.
At the very heart of fashion, is art. Art is about expression, love, and being unique. All of the different designers out there aim to create clothing that alters the mind and make us covet a beautifully crafted piece of fabric. Those pieces should be made and represented to capture the hearts of everyone, not just the ultra-thin.
In a multi-billion dollar industry whose base is primarily female, aren’t we doing a disservice to ourselves by marginalizing the art of fashion to only those who can fit sample sizes?
All women deserve to wear beautiful clothing that makes them feel like a queen. Not representing all the different enchanting shapes and sizes of women of the world will only continue the bad habits I once had, and many girls around the world continue to have to this day.