How do we measure beauty? Perfect complexion? Bouncy hair? Being thin? Out of all them, weight issue seems to be the most sensitive and the most talked about one.
I will take you back_—way back—_to art history eras. Raphael was probably the first painter who came up with his type of “ideal” woman. Raphael loved pale-skinned redheaded women on his paintings. Think about the model Karen Elson —she is Raphael’s idea of beauty.
A Flemish Baroque painter, Peter Paul Rubens, also had his prototype of an ideal woman. Rubens’ women were full-figured. Rubenesque women are basically considered “fat women” in today’s society.
One of my most favorite eras of fashion is the twenties. In the twenties, women did not give a damn! They just got their rights to vote and they just started being considered equal to men. They smoked, they drank, they dressed provocatively, but all for them selves. They did not care if guys could see them without corsets!
Twiggy is often considered as the villain who started the skinny movement. Twiggy was famous in the sixties for her boyish figure and unhealthy look. However, let’s not blame Twiggy for being different. After Twiggy’s era, models were back to ‘normal’ size. That was when the supermodels emerged. (Just for the record, the only true supermodels are Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell.) They were more respected than today’s models. They didn’t wake up for less than 10,000 dollars a day (imagine how much taxes they had to pay), whereas today’s models have to do silly editorials for little-to-no money.
There is a vivid disconnection between the real world and the fashion world. The society gets bigger as we move forward, whereas the fashion world (or shall I say, the models) is getting skinnier.
Who can forget the fiasco Ali Michael had to go through seasons ago? She got kicked out of Paris Fashion Week for gaining five pounds. I don’t know about you guys, but I gain and lose five pounds everyday, depending on what I ate the day before.
Codie Young is the latest model to be brought up to the mainstream media regarding her weight issue. Her Topshop ad was apparently too rexy for the UK Anorexia Charity Beat and an anorexia support group in Norfolk.
The protest for Topshop and Codie felt more like a personal attack than an inspirational movement. Why only Topshop? Why only Codie? It is safe to say that Codie Young is about the same size as 85% of the models in working in NYC, Milan, Paris, today. Can you imagine being a teen girl and have to live with headline “[Insert your name is] is Ill-lookingly Too Skinny?” That to me is just the same as bullying, but in a greater scale than just bullying in high school. Just read what Codie has to say about this here.
The other day I was watching a Glee episode. Rachel and Quinn were making a cover of TLC’s famous “Unpretty.” There is a deeper meaning to the lyrics. It is talking about how you can do everything in the world (like fix your nose, buy makeups, live with someone else’s hair on top of your head) but ultimately happiness comes from within. So what is the standard of beauty? Well, it’s different for everyone!
Here is a comparison: what is considered beautiful for fashion world is totally different than how the pageant industry thinks. Right now, the fashion industry is crazy about skeletally thin young girls. The pageant world, on the other hand, loves fakely nice girls with a Barbie-esque figure, fake tan and extremely bright teeth. People just seem to neglect the fact that there are a lot of unrealistic standards of beauty other than skinny models.
To answer the one million dollar question, what is the standard of beauty? Well, no one knows! Beauty is not scientific, like math or physics.
What about the whole weight issue? I think every “little girls” have to be equipped with a handful of self esteem to be able to sort what is realistic and what is not. As cliché as it may sound, beauty comes from within—literally! It’s in your brain.
Do what you want and be what you think is beautiful! Be the size that you want—as long as it’s healthy.