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Fashion and Women’s Body Standards

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

It is no secret that the pressure is on more than ever for the average person to achieve peak physical attractiveness, especially with the rise of fast fashion and an overall decrease in the life span of trend cycles. Social media and the magic of user-friendly photo editing apps have also played a role in drastically warping a general perception of what an ideal human looks like from an aesthetic perspective. On average, the main consumers and most advertised to audience in the fashion and beauty industry are women. All of these factors play a role in the constantly changing beauty standards.

While fashion as a whole has been a well-enjoyed hobby for some time, fast fashion has picked up the pace. A good example of this is the consistent trends within past decades. The 80s had loud geometry and even louder hair. The 90s were all about making the most out of the basics in fashion. The earlier 2000s were more experimental and influenced by celebrity party culture. Each decade had a consistent set of longer-lasting fashion trends. Within those fashion trends come different beauty and image expectations, especially for women. The 80s had a focus on a more muscular physique while the 90s and early 2000s were under the influence of the deathly thin heroin-chic body type. More recently, the BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift) has quickly become a popular full-body surgical procedure.

While there are so many reasons why it is wrong that body types can be considered trending based on fashion, that is only the beginning. we are currently in an era of extreme fast fashion. The life cycle of a trend is shorter than ever. Fast fashion has only picked up even more speed over time, especially in more recent years. The fashion industry is strongly marketed towards women. These faster fashion trends directly correlate to faster body type trends. Due to the fact that the fashion industry is so heavily pushed onto women, this means that women are more likely to feel pressured to adhere to the rapidly changing body type trends.

Social media only further pushes the increasingly less attainable beauty standards. Photo editing is possible for anyone with a smartphone. All it takes is a quick download of an app and a few taps on a screen to warp a photo. It is no wonder that even celebrities that are purely known for their image, such as the Kardashians, have had their scares with posting an unedited photo. These casual warped images have also warped the general perception of what an average human being looks like.

All of these factor into the beauty standards that the average woman is heavily pressured into. Now there are airplane flights full of women who traveled to get a BBL. The rapid switch from high-rise mom jeans to low-rise jeans has shifted the ideal body type from a curvy Kardashian back to a resemblance of heroin chic. It is physically impossible to attain a completely new body type according to trend.

Salma is a freshman at VCU. She is currently undecided, but considering majoring in journalism. She loves iced coffee and a comforting gilmore girls marathon.