When you picture the perfect woman- what do you think of? Thin? Straight, pearly white teeth? Flawless, tan skin? You mean…you don’t think of gap-toothed women? Or women that are pale? What about women that are curvy, and maybe have a little bit of meat on their bones? The world of high-fashion is begging to differ, instead they think this month’s Maxim cover girl is hot, sure-but do you know who was on the cover of Vogue in the month of February? Lena Dunham- a member of the television show Girls. She has short hair, isn’t incredibly skinny, is pretty awkward and is far from what most people in society would consider a cover girl. However the world of fashion as well as the entertainment industry are starting to change, and some say for the better. Companies like Aerie are starting to not re-touch photos. Other high-fashion brands such as Marc Jacobs and Fendi are casting models such as Lily Aldridge and Georgia May Jagger (who both rock gaps in their teeth) to walk in their runway shows.
So why the change?
Because these ideas are unrealistic and screwed up that’s why. The pressure that is put on women to be perfect is ridiculous, and rather than telling all of us that we need to change, they are changing their standards and promoting “real” women– not these airbrushed, perfect women.
Take Aerie, for example. Aerie is a company that branches off from American Eagle. Aerie sells loungewear, work out attire, and lingerie. It is a brand comparable to Victoria’s Secret PINK. Aerie also features gorgeous women in their ad campaigns. But as of lately, if you notice when glancing at an Aerie ad in a magazine…not one of those girls had even the smallest wrinkle on any part of her body! Not only were there no wrinkles-I saw no scars, no indentations, not a spot of cellulite, and no rolls. That’s right, no fat rolls. HOW DOES THIS PERFECT WOMAN EXIST. Did some higher power give her a magic vitamin to take all of those things away?! (If someone did give her a vitamin-does GNC sell it?)
No but seriously, GNC does not sell one vitamin to take away all of these problems women face every day. However, places like Best Buy do sell a little program called Photoshop, along with other forms of programs to re-touch photos. And then editors spend hours editing photos to get the perfect outcome. In fact you can even download an app to your phone and re-touch your own photos or add the perfect filter to make your photos “better.”
Sometimes- even re-touching or trying to add the perfect filter still doesn’t take away our “problems.” Two people who have really experienced this throughout their careers are Caridee English (an America’s Next Top Model winner) and Kim Kardashian. Both of these stars suffer from psoriasis, a skin disease in which patches of red, itchy, and scaly skin appear. They cannot help when it flares up. So if the day of a photo shoot comes and the psoriasis is flaring up-there isn’t much any makeup artist can do. It is up to the editor to edit out the psoriasis. But what sucks is, why should they have to hide something that is so much apart of them. So that others can make money?
It’s like anything else. Georgia May Jagger should not have her gap airbrushed. It makes her HER. Same thing with model Kate Upton. She has huge breasts and a curvy stomach that (shocker) probably isn’t perfectly smooth. Why should she be re-touched? Why should Kim Kardashian’s skin rash be re-touched? It shouldn’t be. Model Cara Delevigne is extremely pale, thin, a bit awkward and has caterpillar-thick eyebrows. But that is how she is recognized on the runway-so why should she change her signature look? She shouldn’t. None of these women should change. In fact all of these flaws make up all of these people. And if you are thinking “well it’s so that men can envision these women or their own woman perfectly” you are wrong. Your woman will never look like the re-touched version of these women (clothed or naked.) Everyone has got some indents, or some cellulite, or maybe even a wrinkle or roll or two. If your woman’s imperfections bother you that much, newsflash: you’ll never find your ‘perfect woman.’
The world of fashion is truly starting to recognize that if they use real women in their campaigns- real women will buy their clothes. Marketing to women of all shapes and sizes is ideal. Why? Because you appeal to everyone. When Vogue features brand names such as The Row or Mulberry- more than just 18 year old girls with a dream to go to FIT and get a great internship someday in the fashion industry will be drooling over their designs. The busy Vogue intern helping out at fashion week will finally have something in common with a 35-year-old suburban mom wishing to be sitting front row at the Givenchy show in Paris—the clothes. You appeal to a wider market, and more will be sold. You appeal to a wider market by making your ad campaigns and company values relatable.
Making this huge change in fashion will obviously sell more designs and create a bigger name for brands that make this change. However, there is a bigger reasoning behind the change. The whole point of this “change” that is being made (and should be made)is to take fashion less seriously. The fashion industry can often give off the vibe that it’s uptight, stressful, demanding, and serious—you can ask any intern in the fashion industry. However, fashion is supposed to be fun, relatable, and something to ease our minds from other things in life.
In fact, one of my favorite pastimes is to look at magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and read online articles about fashion on websites such as College Fashionista and Refinery 29. I don’t do it because I want to feel bad about myself; I do it to become inspired. To read about real women and real stories. I read it to know that women whether 100 pounds or 300 pounds are beautiful and can be fashionable at any weight. I do it to see that real women that have “flaws.” Real women aren’t born airbrushed and perfect. We grow up, we get scars, and wrinkles form. We gain the freshman 15, have kids, and sometimes end up with some cellulite, stretch marks or a little bit of extra meat on our bones. Up until now the fashion industry portrayed that to be a bad thing, but now they are beginning to portray the right image: no matter what you look like, the non re-touched version of you is the best version of you.