Thigh-slimming, butt-lifting, tummy-tucking, body contouring… A seemingly instant fix to all of your body woes, at less than $15 a pop! For some, this might seem a sure fire way to secure that modelesque figure of your dreams (with little effort). For others, it might just be more b&llsh!t to sift through, an unwelcome reminder of all that you aren’t, and too much damn pressure to present as society sees ‘fit’!
Yesterday I found myself exploring the aisles of a fast-fashion retailer (yes, shame on me for supporting a global landfill phenomenon) in the hunt for a new pair of stockings as a warmer alternative to my beloved jeans that have simply run their course and torn in 3 places of recent, whilst travelling.
And so, thousands of kilometres away from my trusted Janome and accepting that said jeans are destined to become cut-offs when the weather warms, I caught myself staring blankly at a wall adorned with an incredible variance of what is possibly the world’s most boring yet highest turned-over garment. Which, I may add, should be none other than a 5-minute, less-involved purchase. But no… This shade, that denier, this texture, that design, and so on.
The choice was overwhelming. And as I paid more attention to what was really in front of me, as well became increasingly p!ssed off that I couldn’t locate the most basic of items amongst the masses of nylon on offer, I felt a pinch of sadness.
‘It seemed that ‘regular’ had become obsolete, yet the many alternatives armed to fix my body, and correct any flaws were in abundance.’
In this store, which is a global fashion giant, it seemed that ‘regular’ had become obsolete, yet the many alternatives armed to fix my (and other women’s) body(s) and correct any apparent flaws were in abundance. And it is this, that was upsetting.
For years, I chased unrealistic body ideals. Disordered eating and distorted body image were my everyday. It was torment (I’m certain not only for myself) and I wouldn’t for a moment wish it upon anyone. I’m not seeking pity by any means because this is not what this is about (as well, I am more than fine, thank you). But for the purpose of this story, it’s that journey, that creates a feeling of sadness when I see others trying to ‘perfect’ their bodies, to conform to the many unhealthy and unrealistic ideals that the fashion industry pushes upon us; for whichever flavour of the month that may be.
‘We cant escape it. All around us, the world cycles a constant of dangerous body goals.’
Don’t get me wrong, the fashion industry can be a wonderful place. For over ten years, its paved way for an incredible career, exciting learnings and new experiences, travel and life-long friends. And for that I am grateful. To its detriment however, we know it (still) has an unwavering ability to consistently sell a ‘thin is beautiful’ mentality. Which is supported for example, from the pre-pubescent children posing as adults on the runway to the the many ridiculous claims that readily deliver ‘perfection’, as seen illustrated on the packaging of the most basic and uninspiring of women’s undergarments – nylon stockings.
We can’t escape it. All around us, the world cycles a constant of dangerous body goals –‘box gap’, ‘v-cut abs’, ‘toblerone tunnels’ – WTF! How did society arrive at this all-time-low? – That being, that it might seem the slightest of good ideas to measure our ‘beauty’ by being able to fit a chocolate bar between our thighs and bikini bottom?? Say no more…
I’m not sure I need to further reiterate the point here, because the above is the epitome of ‘fad’ gone horribly wrong. Yet for some of us, we’re so consumed by these misconstrued messages of what is ‘beautiful’, that we actually believe them in part and get to work. Hell, I did.
And in this crazy world of busy, where a million tabs are open in our minds, every damn day, it’s sometimes nice to catch a break. For some, retail therapy goes a long way. I mean, how can you not feel better about yourself when you see the thousands of stores pushing masses of materialism (at a discount) beneath our noses, created by tiny hands?… (this, – I’ll save for another day). Point being, shopping should be fun and anything but intrusive. I’ve no doubt as women, that we’re each in tune with the workings of our bodies that we needn’t need major retailers (or anybody for that matter), prodding at our already niggling insecurities (because truth be told, – we’re our harshest critics and likely too aware that our butt ain’t no Beyonce’s). Particularly retailers such as the one that I regrettably stepped into, that cater for young customers (from 10 years) until they know better. At the very least, this girl at the raw age of pre-teen, shouldn’t be provoked to better understand why her thighs seemingly need slimming, her butt lifting or her tummy tucking. Her innocence only knows that she is cold, and that she’s chasing a bit of added warmth from the winter’s chill. More often than not, like the most of us.
But no. As we seek to make a meaningless quick purchase, retail remembered that we skipped the gym to meet our girlfriends for dinner, drank a bottle of wine and ate dessert too. Shame! And whilst that minuscule moment of guilt fleeted; fear not, because the industry pops right back up to remind us that we do in fact have dimples on our thighs and our tummies are looking a little bit full. Alas! – Body contouring stockings for all, and a queue to the negative thoughts that shall ruin your next meal.
And so, until this global giant (and others alike), which clearly have more money than a social conscience begin to make positive change, we’ll continue to ride the wave of viscous body insecurities. We don’t need shitty branding to sell a band-aid solution to what is perceived beauty, neither untimely reminders of all that we’re not. Rather, just some regular ‘ol black ave/tall 40 denier spanks, please. And perhaps a celebration of all that we are, the goodness that runs deep, – because that’s what matters. Oh, and cake too. It’s there to be enjoyed!