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The Cost of Body Positivity


What is the definition of plus? Search for it as an adjective- plus means positive. When used as a verb, plus means advantage; when utilized in the sense of a flight seat, plus may be a luxury; however, when pertaining to body size, plus becomes a stigma; it evidently often becomes not pretty enough.


Who decides the Beauty Standards?

Who gets to mention what's pretty, and who gets to line these beauty standards? ramps, labels and influencers- finance then leverage body image issues.

Barbie dolls dictated our idea of beauty once you were a toddler. once we were younger, beauty brands described ideal skin as fair and spotless, and ramps dictated that an ideal body is tall and size zero. Anyone who couldn't fit into these frames was forced to feel inferior, which resulted in the following:

Research showed that just watching a Barbie doll decreased body confidence in girls aged 5 to eight. For 69% of teenage girls, photographs in magazines influenced their concept of optimal weight. After television became common in Fiji, 11% of teenage girls recorded vomiting to reduce. Brands have built a really toxic connection between consumers and our bodies, and now equivalent brands are latching onto new trends and woke ideas to supply us with an entirely new sort of goods.


Media and Influencers Campaign on Body Positivity

The October 2020 issue of VOGUE featured singer Lizzo as the first major black woman on the cover, well Oprah was the first black woman but she was apparently persuaded to lose 20 pounds before posing on the cover and now we have a whole new representative of body positivity who has trashed it as commercialized and she's right. Body positivity is the belief that you should be happy and proud of your body regardless of its form or size; it essentially involves being happy and relaxed with your own skin.

Clothing and makeup companies love to promote this message, telling you to be yourself, love yourself, and that size doesn't matter. But are they promoting body positivity? They may be doing the reverse. At this point, I'd like to bring up some history: our culture has had several such eureka moments where we knew we had body image problems and sought to solve them.

The new body positivity campaign, which began in 2012, questioned outdated beauty ideals. Tess Holliday, a size 26 model, has been signed by a major European modelling agency. Instagram quickly became the go-to outlet for encouraging body positivity, but the trend was quickly stolen by influencers. Today, the hashtag #bodypositivity has 7.3 million posts and the hashtag #bodypositivitymovement has 356k posts, but the majority of them have little to do with the initial concept. Body positivity has emerged as a common hashtag for selfies, workout wear, holiday shots, and paying articles. The majority of them are visibly skinny ladies, and while there's nothing wrong with sharing pictures, these are completely off the mark.

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In the spring 2019 fashion shows in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, 54 plus-sized models were included, but in the fashion world, plus means 8 and the average woman in the United States is size 14. Plus size does not even begin at the age of 16. Body positivity in the beauty industry has been limited to curvy white models walking down the runway or posing for magazine covers or advertisements.

According to a Simply Be survey, 89% of women believe their body shapes are not reflected on catwalks. Research in the United Kingdom discovered that 74% of women become dissatisfied with their appearance, 50% of 13-year-old girls in America are dissatisfied with their bodies, and by the time they hit the age of 17, the figure jumps to 80%. In Switzerland, 70% of adult women want to be smaller, 60% of elderly women in Austria are uncomfortable with their bodies, and 11% of adult women in the United States fear thinking about their bodies.
[source, and for a more in-depth review, see 2021 Body Image Statistics: 2021 Body Image Statistics: 40 Shocking Body Image Facts (]

According to one study, using social media for as little as 30 minutes a day may harm how young people perceive their own bodies. So, to address all of this, our apparel companies are attempting to reach new markets to capitalise on new trends.

Let me elaborate. Florida State University carried out the analysis. Women were shown photographs of models ranging from plus to average to smaller bodies, and the result was that these women remembered plus-sized models more. This means that if a woman with a body image problem sees a commercial showcasing a curvier model, she's more likely to remember that brand and maybe add it to her shopping cart.

The Depth Of The Fashion and Clothing Market

This is what advertisers are capitalising on, which is why they feature curvier women while attempting to brush them off as body positivity. This is how commercialization appears, and that is a very large industry. We're talking about one-third of people in the United States identifying as plus-sized, and there has been an 81% decrease in the amount of U.S. youth purchasing from the junior size group. Around 2012 and 2019, the proportion of people purchasing plus-size clothes increased from 17% to 42%. In the United Kingdom, the average woman wears a EU46, which is a size 16. There is a genuine market for plus size clothes, and brands have not been coy in responding to this demand; most leading brands today have a plus-size range, but you know what?

There is a genuine market for plus size clothes, and retailers have not shied away from catering to this demand; most top brands today have a plus-size range, but you know what, brands have ensured supply but not inclusivity; plus is mostly in another area, another category, or another department, if not another shop entirely. Plus is also in a different price range; if XS, L, and XL are all the same price, why is plus different? Is there a fat tax? The worldwide plus-size demand for women is projected to be worth 180 billion dollars, while the market for men is estimated to be worth one billion dollars.

The women's plus-size industry in the United States alone is estimated to be worth 24 billion dollars; there is a lot of money being made off of plus-sized girls, but no message of body positivity is being given to them in exchange. Despite all of the ostensibly progressive advertisements and magazine covers, we still live in a world where people are greeted with, "Wow, you look amazing to have lost weight." We live in a world that once applauded Adele for her body positivity and is now obsessed with her "beauty transformation."


My Personal View

It doesn't matter whether you're plus or minus, long or short, curly or straight. None of this really counts; what matters is that you are confident in your own skin and do not let fashion labels dictate your body image.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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