Part 2: Media Portrayal
Again, I wonder where to begin. Perhaps with this article. You can see the pictures, an obviously very pretty young woman who is apparently "too fat." One interesting fact you can find there: 25 years ago, the average model was 8% thinner than the average woman, but that difference is now 23%.
But it doesn't end with too fat, there's also too thin. Too old. Too young. Too this, too that. It doesn't matter how old you are or what you look like, you simply can't win. We put such an emphasis on what Karl Lagerfield thinks beauty should be, we forget that most people have very different ideas of what beauty is. American Apparel's largest sizes won't even fit on the mannequins. When will the media shut up and let us hear our own thoughts and opinions about what we want to look like?
It kills me, because I love fashion. I love how different it is and how it enables me to look how I want, not how others think I'm supposed to look. I love being able to express myself through my clothes. It's fun and artistic for me. I'm not trying to look like the models, I'm trying to be an expression of who I think I am. Unsurprisingly, most of the models don't look the way I want to look. Unfortunately, for most girls, that's simply not the case. They want people to think they're pretty, to reinforce to themselves that they are pretty. They don't care what they have to look like to get the compliments as long as they get them.
For skinny girls, that's fine. They've got a clear path to success: have the money to buy the clothes. For the not-so-skinny girls. Well..
"No one wants to see curvy women. You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly." -Karl Lagerfeld
The media undeniably portrays fat women as disgusting, gross, a joke, embarrassing, lazy.. if you can think of a negative adjective, it's been applied to overweight women. This has gone beyond preference to an all out war of people morally objecting to the existence of fat people.
No wonder fat girls feel gross and everyone else is terrified to get fat.
"But not me!" I often think. "No, I'm completely accepting of women who look differently than I do! That is, of course, the rational response."
I forget how frequently I judge women. Any woman. Stranger, close friend. I can't freaking stop. I see her and almost my first reaction is, "Am I prettier than her? Is she fatter than me? Why is she wearing that."
I never act on these instincts, which in my opinion is the most important thing, but oh my god I still have the thoughts. And I'm immediately embarrassed after I realize what I'm doing. What do I gain by being skinnier than another girl? Do I think I'm going to get a freaking medal or something? Because I won't. And the satisfaction will wear off very quickly. Quickly enough that I'll need to find another girl to judge, fast.
I'm really no better than the media. Other people can tell what I'm doing. And I see others doing it too. We've become our own worst enemies, essentially. We deplore the photoshopping, but then turn right around and feel smug when we're skinnier than the next girl.
I pledge to work on this. To stop demonizing fat in my mind. My hope is that other girls will stop too. It's better and healthier for everybody.