Feminism Fridays: Body Image in Media has to Change
Body image in the media has been a problem for way too long. Let's just get that fact out of the way right now. Victoria's Secret decided to not help this problem at all in any way when they released their new "perfect 'body'" ad campaign. Good job on that one.
The original ad is the one at the top of this post, the words "the perfect 'body'" over 10 models who have the same body type, one that in no way, shape, or form represents women as a whole. After receiving heavy criticism from all realms of social media as well as a Change.org petition with more than 29,000 signatures, Victoria's Secret changed the wording of their ad. It now reads "a body for everybody," but the models are still the same. The problem is still there.
Fortunately, women and brands everywhere are fighting against this problem. Dear Kate, an "all-girl company making smart undies,"British plus-size fashion brand JD Williams, and Dove all came out with their own versions of the ad.
Women also took to Twitter with the hashtag #iamperfect to express what they think is the perfect body. Hint: The range of perfect bodies under this hashtag is much greater than the 10 identically shaped women in the Victoria's Secret ad.
Victoria's Secret wasn't the only one in the media for body image issues. Keira Knightley was Feminist Queen of the Week and all-around amazing women when she agreed to be photographed topless for Interview Magazine (NSFW) only if her body was not photoshopped or retouched. Hell yes, girl.
Knightley told The Times that doing the shoot without retouching was her way of protesting the serious body image problem that exists.
“I’ve had my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters,” Knightley said. “That [shoot] was one of the ones where I said: ‘OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.”
All hail Keira Knightley.
“I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame,” Knightley also said. “Our society is so photographic now, it becomes more difficult to see all of those different varieties of shape.”
Seriously, she is my hero right now.
So, let's review. The media distorts female body image. Women get angry and fight back. Things start to change. It's not an immediately noticeable change, but if we keep fighting back, eventually we won't have to fight at all. Hopefully we will one day live in a world where women of all shapes, sizes, and colors are equally represented and where we don't feel the need to look like twigs to be noticed.
It's a big goal, I know. I have to believe we can achieve it, though, because we deserve to be seen as perfect, no matter what we look like.