Let’s stop celebrating unrealistic beauty standards - GulfToday

Let’s stop celebrating unrealistic beauty standards


Image used for illustrative purpose only.

Kiran Sidhu, The Independent

Recently someone told me I was “in vogue”. It seems that my body shape has a name, the “slim thick”. It’s been a popular body aspiration for women for a couple of years, partly thanks to the Kardashians, who sport a similar look. But my body shape shouldn’t be deemed as “fashionable” — my body is here to stay.

I pay very little attention to fashion, or anything that tells me how I should think or feel about myself. But a quick Google search for “slim thick” defined the body shape as: “a woman with a small waist, flat stomach and larger hips… and thighs, who is toned or considered physically fit.”

It’s pretty obvious to me that the notion of being “in” means that you will soon be “out”. Will my celebratory body soon be hung up like a piece of meat in a scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and killed in the name of fashion?

Why do people applaud this body shape, or any body “trend”? Perhaps it’s because they’re pleased to fulfil a temporary mould of what’s “in”? Either way, that applause will soon ring hollow. The tall and skinny, that the fashion industry loves, will be back — as it always is — and they’ll be deemed fools for believing things could ever change.

But it is much, much worse than that. Our body shapes are being used as vacuous tools for fashion. While you may take your hat off to the fashion industry for its inclusivity this time, some body types will likely be back on the casting couch, hearing the word “NEXT”.

A while ago, fast-food chain McDonald’s introduced a kale salad to its menu. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be unhealthier than a Double Big Mac. Like the McDonald’s salad, body trends are not as virtuous as they seem. This is wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing stuff. It’s like the boyfriend who dumps you whenever it suits him. It’s a vicious circle of picking you up only to put you down.

To me, it’s obvious that the fashion and beauty industry relies on and perpetuates a partially self-loathing society. Is the “slim thick” look really that achievable? It is for me – it’s my natural shape. But it’s not easily achievable for the waif-thin size 6.

In fashion, someone always has to lose. In recent years there have been so many reports of how women have nearly died to meet a beauty standard, from taking illegal drugs to getting abscess and sepsis after opting for fillers. This is completely insane to me.

I object to being told that I am “in” and that something that couldn’t be more natural to me can be reduced to being “so last year.” As far as I’m concerned, I am always “in”.

In this whitewashed world that we live in, to accept yourself as you are seems to be a revolutionary act. It’s far more freeing to work with what you have than hanker for what you don’t. Following a trend just doesn’t have any substance or authenticity, and of course, no staying power. If we actually think about it, are we happy being made so dispensable?

Fashion reminds me of the Charlie Chaplin film The Kid. Chaplin and an orphan work a business together, the Kid smashes people’s windows and then Chaplin turns up as the man who can fix them — they create their own need. As far as the fashion industry is concerned, we all live in glass houses.

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