By Lauren Fetherston
Body image is something that everyone – men and women alike – have struggled with for years. Do I fit today’s standards? Should I look thinner? Bigger? Younger?
The media and the fashion world have primarily been the driving force behind these thoughts by promoting a certain look, a certain body type and certain type of person. Who is to say that that one type of person is more suited to be on screen or on the cover of a magazine? Even they don’t look like that.
This type of advertising has rewired how younger people think, especially with eating disorders growing dangerously high.
In 2015 almost 12% of all admissions for under 18s to Irish psychiatric units and hospitals had a primary diagnosis of eating disorders, according to the Irish Health Research Board (HRB).
The pressure to conform to societies standards results in 400 new cases of eating disorders every year, representing 80 annual deaths.
It’s not just size that affects us, it’s a wide range of things. The concept of staying youthful is something a lot of women struggle with. The idea of growing old naturally has been completely lost all value.
Over the last few years particularly however, attempts to promote a positive body image have increased. There have been a lot of campaigns for body love with two major campaigns being released for this year’s fall.
This year’s H&M autumn 2016 collection has created a powerful video in attempt to promote different body images and to appreciate beauty in all of its forms.
The advertisement includes transgender model Hari Nef, 1970s star Lauren Hutton and Boxer Fatima Pinto. This is not the first time H&M have gone against the norm and supported body equality.
In 2015 they featured a 23-year-old Muslim model wearing a hijab along with a boxer with a Prosthetic leg and an elderly man dressed in drag.
For Lane Byrant’s fall 2016 campaign “This Body” the focus was put on self-love. Danielle Brooks and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses involved in this advertisement along with models Candice Huffine, Ashley Graham and Alessandra Garcia. All five of these women dance around in their underwear proud of their body shape.
Lane Byrant has been making stylish clothes for women sizes 14-28 for years and created this new campaign to overcome body shaming found on social media.
Over the years we have created the idea that beauty is vital, in a world where we place thin beside fat and old beside young. The message of these two campaigns is a message we should all support. Whether you fit certain “standards” or not is irrelevant, feeling happy with who you are is what you should strive for.