I just finished reading a post by Amanda in which she wrote, “I am just wondering how our society became so enamored with the emaciated look that frequents our fashion magazines.” She was sharing how she loves the 1920’s era and thought that at that time in history, there was more of a positive body acceptance in general than there is today’s society.
Even though I don’t focus on the topics of fashion, celebrity, or media here at Fearless Fat Loss, they heavily influenced me while growing up. I used to read and re-read teen magazines, and I’d get Glamour from the library. I compared myself to the models in these magazines, and I remember thinking how “if only I looked like that, if I only had that outfit, those jeans, etc., then my life would be perfect”. Today I don’t subscribe to Vogue, Cosmo, or Glamour, but instead subscribe to Ski magazine, which is in line with my focus on weight loss for health and strength instead of only for looks. 😉
Getting back to Amanda’s post, here’s what I think is interesting about the obsession of so many young girls and women with the thinness of the fashion models: the industry of modeling came about because of a need to showcase the fashions of clothing designers. When print media and magazines became popular models were also used for print advertising, but the first focus was modeling clothing, which is still the main focus today.
The thing is, those clothes “hang” better on a model who is tall and thin; that’s all there is to it. The problem is that those tall and thin fashion models (many being unhealthily thin) are being admired as something to aspire to. Many girls and women try to emulate them, even though they don’t have the body type or height to do so! In fact, the average height of an American female is only 5’ 4” tall, while you must be at minimum 5’ 7” tall to even consider a career as a model (5’ 10” – 6’ is better). There are some body types that no matter how thin you get, you will never look like a fashion model.
Why does anyone aspire to look like the models? Because they are sales people, selling the “good life” to you. Their job is to make you think that whatever they are selling (whether that’s clothing, perfume, or a wristwatch) is going to make you happy, and what gets transferred into your brain is the thought that if only you also look like those models, then you will also be happy like they are in the photos.
It’s all just an image though, and the reality is that many of those sales people aren’t even happy in their own lives; they are however, doing their job, and part of their job is being tall and staying thin so that the designers’ clothes will look good and sell!
Am I saying that you won’t feel better if you look your best? No, if you are truly overweight you will feel better by losing weight and looking your best, as long as you are healthy and strong, but if you are trying to emulate an image in a fashion magazine to try and capture that “good life” through your looks, you’re chasing an image that is only meant to sell you a product, not help you live a healthy, fit life.
Those are my thoughts on this subject. I can’t say that I never watch TV because I do (and I love movies), so even though I’m not reading the fashion mags, I still see the images. I also cannot say that none of my motivation for weight loss comes from the desire to look good, however I do much better by focusing on how I feel by eating well and exercising, by focusing on my energy level, and on increasing my muscle strength.
What about you? Do you constantly compare yourself to the images you see in fashion magazines, and if you’re a guy, how do you relate to this subject? Do you compare yourself to Brad Pitt or George Clooney? What about the male models you see advertising cologne or underwear? Do you ever compare yourself to those images?