It appears that a new trend is taking shape among celebrities and the fashion world that has me cautiously optimistic: a sharp rise in pop culture icons embracing their curves and publicly denouncing their body critiques. Notables openly discussing their weight-gain include Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and, of course, Lady Gaga, all of whom at one point in their careers were seen as the poster child for the very slim, nearly emaciated look around the early 2000's.
I can only image the amount of insane pressure placed on celebrities to look the part and at the end of the day, they're people with real lives, strengths, and insecurities just like the rest of us. But regarding the recent rise in curvaceousness as a flag in the sand for being an "individual," well, I'm not sure I totally want Hollywood setting the tone on body-image for another whole generation of women.
Here's what I am excited about when it comes to this growing trend of plus-sized appreciation:
- An honest, hard look at how women's bodies have been portrayed in media, which influences not just young girls coming into their own, but women who often look to these mediums as trends to watch and follow
- More scrutiny for the fashion designers, largely pushed by plus-sized fashion bloggers and body-positive leaders, has certainly helped change the tone of body image discussions in our nation, as well as clothing made available for different body types
- Greater access to positive role models, inspiration, connections and awareness for the messages within the body diversity movement
- While obesity is on the rise, people dealing with this issue do not need to be viewed as having a crisis of character, but instead, have the opportunity to reevaluate lifestyle choices in a healthy, supportive, and sustainable way
- Greater interest in this area helps people in professions like mine reach a broader audience like never before
And here's what I'm cautious about:
- Celebs declaring "I'm plus-sized" diminishes the actual impact the body-positive movement has, because when something becomes a trend, it has a fairly short lifespan unless a strong, innovative, and binding cultural shift occurs with it
- Do we really need another label for women's bodies? I'm working towards the day where "plus-sized" can be dropped totally, and instead it's common to just say "I'm a woman and I love my body"
- Women's bodies will still be viewed as objects. If you've ever followed a body-positive Tumblr, you'll notice another interesting trend: the over-sexualization of women's bodies that are just larger than the ones we're used to seeing in traditional media
- That young women will define body image as something purely superficial, and lines from Lady Gaga that simply repeat "LOVE WHO YOU ARE" do not, and cannot, adequately help a women appreciate and navigate her body image territory
- That we as a society might miss a critical opportunity to counter between rising obesity rates (which is a huge economic and health factor) while simultaneously develop a lasting health/wellness culture that nurtures and supports a bodies overall health, not just its image
These are the types of issues I'm thinking a lot about as a coach in the body-love movement because I owe it to myself as a plus-sized woman, and to my clients, to have an understanding of what's taking shape. It's one thing to say that you're plus-sized as a means to increase popularity and sales, it's another thing to honor and respect the issues which, in reality, have very little to do with actual weight at all, and more about how a person understands, internalizes, and expresses their sense of self-worth.
I've love to hear your thoughts on the issue to please take the time to comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, sharing is caring - this is a discussion for the masses, not just a few.
Curvy with confidence,