Fashion’s curve ball

I’m sure I’m not alone in flipping through this month’s issue of Vogue with a feeling of excitement and relief at the article “Va Va Boom,” which explores the increasing number of runway shows that are using curvier models instead of teenage waifs.

I skimmed through the pages of perfect models, with their perfect faces, perfect hair and perfect bodies, unable to focus on the stories as I was so ready to see healthier models that look like me.

And then—after 600 pages—I reached the story, about how “bodacious Victoria’s Secret models are bringing their sexy curves to the catwalk.”

Wait. Victoria’s Secret models are supposed to be the new image of healthy women? Arguably they are curvier than most models, but they are far from your average woman. These women strut down the runway in sparkly lingerie with massive angel wings on their backs—clearly something most of the world can’t relate to.

I know this argument has been raised again and again, but how hard is it to get some models that look like the rest of the world? Modeling should emphasize what the rest of the population looks like, not what we dream of looking like.

The movement of designers like Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton to use curvier models is a step in the right direction, but it is also a reflection that the fashion world and society as a whole are still not accepting of truly curvy women.

Take Christina Hendricks, the gorgeous star of Mad Men. She’s undoubtedly the definition of bodacious curves, but her size draws fire every time she goes out in public.

The worst occurred at this year’s Golden Globes when fashion critic for the New York Times, Cathy Horyn wrote “You don’t put a big girl in a big dress.”

To essentially call a woman with curves fat is only further causing women—and especially young women—to lose self-esteem as we fail to look like the skinny models on magazine covers.

My favourite recent fashion move is by Victoria Beckham, who on The View said “I just want to celebrate a woman’s curves. Although, you’re right, I don’t have that many myself.”

Victoria: you don’t have any curves at all. There is something extremely off-putting about having a tiny fashion designer tell us she is celebrating curves. The implication is that she’s in a position of superiority and must help us lowly curvy women feel like we are beautiful.

Why can’t we all just practice what we preach? If fashion designers say that they want to celebrate curves and healthy women, maybe they should actually get models with real curves that look like real women. I doubt my fairytale world of real models will come true anytime soon, but at least Victoria’s Secret models are a small, albeit sparkly, step in the right direction.

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