Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Weight And Discrimination

Seasons come and go, but unfortunately certain things are harder to change. Fashions evolve and trends race on, but an underlying aesthetic of body image, beauty and size continues to prevail. We have grown so accustomed to associating a woman's beauty with the slenderness of her waistline and the length of her thin legs that we hardly even realize... We have fallen victim to a terrible form of discrimination: SIZISM.

For at least the past four decades a culmination of factors and events have whetted our visual taste buds towards a decisively thin beauty aesthetic. Society has drilled into our heads for decades we need to be thin, thin, thin! Do you remember seeing many itty bitty pioneer women? And the nudes in the paintings and sculptures years ago? No way!

Through the 70's, silhouettes began loosing their curvy lusciousness and were literally stripped down to a bare minimum of skin and bones. The 'objects of desire' being portrayed in the images ceased to be the clothes or accessories but became the models themselves. Since then, it is needless to describe the media's role in infiltrating, shaping and molding our visual aesthetic. Our poor little eyes are now constantly being bombarded with image upon image of stick-thin, airbrushed glossy super-models. Our eyes are constantly being fed the same generic image of beauty and glamour over and over again and we have normalized it and accepted it as natural.

Technological developments have certainly aided this trend, images of supermodels are airbrushed to perfection, as well as aiding supermodels themselves to botox away any signs of ageing. Liposuction, plastic surgery, elaborate dieting, severe eating disorders and body dysmorphia have all been the nasty by-products of society's unquenched desire to conform to a certain SIZIST image of the beautiful.

It is quite obvious that the fashion industry and the media that surrounds it have participated hugely in cultivating our existing aesthetic stereotypes. But perhaps we must stop and question whether we as consumers are not at least partly to blame.

Have we been so blinded by the glitz and glamour surrounding the essence of super-model chic, that we have forgotten the importance of embracing beauty diversity? Have we ourselves become stubbornly addicted to accepting a limited and sizist aesthetic? Are we so insecure with our own looks and appearances that we seek guidance and approval from images on catwalks and pages of magazines? And above all, is it not perhaps time to challenge the aesthetic which prevails, in the sake of health and well-being?

Next time you look in the mirror, embrace what you see. Be glad for every aspect of your feminine physique. You are beautiful and worthy just the way you are.