the a-z of body image in 2015
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this week we’re looking right at you. Kicking Size Matters Week off with a big body positive bang, we discover the drama surrounding our bodies. From Drop the Plus and #curvy, to in betweenies and...
A is for… Ashley Graham. The inspirational model who's been tirelessly campaigning for a more body positive future, having set up a collective called Alda that helps empower women by challenging their perception of beauty. We love you Ashley!
B is for… Beach Body Ready. The infamous slogan that accompanied those bright yellow adverts for a meal-replacement protein drink that nobody had ever heard of which infuriated women everywhere with the stance that only certain body types look good in a bathing suit.
C is for… #curvy. The body positive hashtag which was reinstated to Instagram after numerous people complained. (RIP #aubergineemoji - it's still banned)
D is for… Drop the Plus. The online campaign that calls for the emancipation of women's bodies from arbitrary categories like 'Plus size' and 'Sample'. Models are more than just a body type, they're individual women and should be treated as such.
E is for… Empowerment. Regaining control over your own body, presenting it in a way that doesn't conform to what society thinks is acceptable is one of the most empowering things you can do as a women. Your body, your rules.
F is for… Free the Nipple. The campaign which calls for the desexualisation of women's areolas. Why should male nips be allowed to roam wild and free when girls need to censor theirs with emojis for fear of getting their social media accounts shut down?
G is for… ain't just a G thang. As in, contrary to popular belief, it's not just girls who get hung up on body issues. Boys can feel self-conscious, have major hang-ups, and even suffer from body dysmorphia too.
H is for… Herself.com. The feminist website set up by Australian actress Caitlin Stasey which features photos of proud naked women from all around the world, accompanied by inspiring interviews. Free your mind, body and spirit.
I is for… Inbetweenie. Too thin for plus size too big for sample, inbetweenie is the ridiculous new label given to all those models who didn't fit some arbitrary mould designed to objectify and belittle their bodies.
J is for… Jordan Bone. The wheelchair-bound make-up artist and disability activist who proves that beauty goes beyond what's on the outside.
K is for… Kardashians. Love them or hate them, with their curvy bodies, they disrupt the narrative that you have to be thin to be beautiful. Yes, they've altered their looks and bodies through various procedures, but in doing so they clearly feel empowered, so do we have the right to judge?
L is for… Love yourself. Acceptance must first come from within.
M is for… Mannequins. As we learnt recently, mannequins usually come with impossible-to-achieve Barbie-like proportions, with male mannequins muscley to the max. Some variety please!
N is for… Naomi Shimada. The model who said FUCK YOU to dieting, breaking the mould and continuing to model whether the haters were down with it or not. Follow her on snapchat for a daily pick-me-up courtesy of her smile.
O is for… Objectification. From boys to brands, don't let anyone objectify you. Be in charge of how you're represented; be own kind of beautiful, stand out from the norm, and don't conform to someone else's image of you.
P is for… Plus size. A term that has divided many. While most models don't want to be reduced to just a body type, others are plus size and proud, and don't let a word define who they are.
Q is for… Queen Bey's Pretty Hurts.
R is for... Redefining beauty. The more diversity we're exposed to on the catwalk and campaigns in terms of body size and shape, the more we'll be able to challenge our perception of beauty.
S is for… Stefania Ferreira. The Australian model model and Drop the Plus campaigner.
T is for… Tess Holliday. The size 26 model and #effyourbeautystandards campaigner who is taking on the industry on her own terms.
U is for… Underwear. Forget bra burning, it's all about feminist lingerie. Tired of bras that pad, prod and push, whose bulging fillets and metal wires do nothing other than adhere to the heteronormative idea of women as sexual objects, the rise of feminist lingerie brands such as Neon Moon are designed to support and give comfort to women's bodies, empowering women and relieving them of society's pressure to look a certain way. More importantly these designs are for all body shapes and sizes, and can accommodate any natural changes within the body. They also look nice too.
V is for… Vaginas. All girls have them so why is talking about them so stigmatised?
W is for… Weight. Stop obsessing over being a certain weight. That BMI calculator that said you were overweight probably isn't that accurate afterall. Originally designed for looking at trends in the health of large groups - such as spotting an obesity epidemic - it doesn't really work for individuals who aren't of an average height. Cue the backlash surrounding the well-meaning rules on catwalk BMIs. Health and happiness > facts and figures.
X is for… X-XXL. Because beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
Y is for… Your body your rules. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Z is for… Zzzzz. As in we're so over all your body shaming bullshit, so don't even try it.
Text Francesca Dunn and Tish Weinstock
Photography Courtney Emery