Beauty Comes In All Shapes and Sizes

Manhattan, New York
United States

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”- Kate Moss

Growing up, all I can recall were young girls strutting down the runway, rail thin. They were praised for their appearances and that left me always comparing myself to them. However, now we are in the time of curves. Finally, it is a time where I can relate to models going down the runway, with their curves and confidence. But with all of this curvy body empowerment, those same thin models are shamed for their stick figures. They are called sickly and unappealing. We were called chunky and fat. Explain this: What body will ever be good enough for society when the standard is constantly changing? In every time period, women have been told certain body types are encouraged and discouraged. When will all body types be accepted? 

I feel fortunate to have grown up in the body positive era of today. Models such as Ashley Graham and Iskra are stunning, curvy women and are just some of the new faces of the modeling industry. Back in the ’90s, Kate Moss was the staple for beauty in the industry, with her waif figure and large eyes. In her Calvin Klein ads, all of her bones were visible through her pale skin. Her cheekbones protruded from her young cheeks and this appearance garnered praised from photographers and fashion designers. The glamorization of this kind of body left many to feel shame for their appearances, myself included. This recognition, however, led to the change of beauty standards, bringing the beauty standards that are present today. With social media, all types of models with all kinds of bodies can be viewed by millions. Graham and Iskra both have a huge social media presence and are activists for body positivity. Patterns and colors that curvy women were told never to wear do not exist anymore, at least not to Graham and Iskra. Seeing these women and other models similar to them, gives me hope for an even more body positive future because although progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.

More than ever before, all body types have been more socially accepted and honestly, it is about time for this change. Ad campaigns such as Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty displays women of all ethnic backgrounds and body shapes together. All of the women in the ad are praised for beauty and the ad shows that all beauty comes in different colors, shapes, and sizes. I think it has something to do with the public breakdown of perfection because the truth is, perfection has never and will never exist. Women have become less afraid to be outside the box and move away from society’s expectations. However, with all of this progress being made, other models from previous decades have been ridiculed for their appearances.

One of the main issues we face in society is the popularization of one group leading to the demonization of another. In this case, it is the praise of curvy models and the shaming of skinny models. However, no one is safe from shame because all bodies, curvy or skinny, are shamed. Yes, fat-shaming exists and continues to exist but skinny-shaming exists too. Both sides are ridiculed so where does that lead us? How is every body type subject to shame? More importantly, why are all of our bodies subject to ridicule?  How do I, an 18-year-old girl know this is true? I have seen it and have fallen victim to it. My friends and I could be sitting looking through a magazine and be praising the curvy model but the second a skinny model is seen, the words unhealthy, unnatural, and anorexia are used. However, a different group could be looking at the same magazine and be trashing the curvy model and praising the skinny one. There is not one universal body type, all bodies, in all shapes and sizes, are the universal body type. One is not better than the other, all are the same because all bodies are beautiful. The second this truth is recognized; we will live in a less toxic society.  

“I am more than my measurements. The cycle of body-shaming needs to end. I’m over it… My body is MY body. I’ll call the shots.”- Ashley Graham