Body Shaming On The Catwalk | Emily Bashforth

Body Shaming On The Catwalk


I have been keeping up with all of the shows from New York Fashion Week (because I'm obsessed with clothes that I can't afford) and thoroughly enjoyed having a scroll through the Victoria Beckham collection that was recently showcased. If it's possible to fall in love with items of clothing, then I definitely did that. I also read some articles online regarding her show, however despite the collection being beautiful, I was less than pleased with what some journalists had to say, not about the clothing line itself, but about the models. 


I couldn't quite believe believe the body shaming in these articles. Well sadly, I can believe it, as the society we now live in has become increasingly more hateful towards women's bodies as time has passed, but the things I was reading were more than unnecessary. Correct me if I'm wrong, however, I think it's rather EASY to report on a show without commenting on the physical appearance of the models. NYFW is, after all, about celebrating the months' worth of hard work that designers have put into their new collections and celebrating their end products. Unfortunately though, some journalists didn't find it so easy. 

For those of you who aren't aware of what I'm referring to, to cut a long story short, the press have been slating the models who walked down the runway for the latest VB collection this week, claiming they are simply "skin and bone," that they look "emaciated," "don't eat" and are too skinny to be on the runway. Get it? Got it? Good. Well no, not good. Not good at all. 

I am a firm believer in the fact that we desperately need more diversity in body shapes in the world of modelling but that does NOT mean we result in "skinny shaming" in order to get it as being hateful towards the women currently walking the catwalk will solve nothing. The women who modelled Victoria's collection are all healthy in their OWN way and wouldn't be advertising such a big brand if they weren't. They wouldn't have the strength for the early mornings, late nights, countless fittings, rehearsals and to stand tall whilst looking wide awake and poised on the catwalk if they ate as little as the media is trying to make us believe. They work out, they have a healthy diet, they're active. Each one of us is built differently and it's unfair of people to criticise slimmer women in a way that they would not criticise larger women. If a curvaceous woman was to walk the runway and received endless "OMG SHE NEEDS TO EAT A SALAD" comments, people would be appalled. But because the media are telling "skinny" women that they need to eat more junk food, apparently it's okay? The media confuse me to no end, honestly. They indirectly tell us that "thin is best," then they hate on slim women for being TOO slim and tell them to eat more crap but at the same time they're inundating us with articles on which foods we should est in order to lose a stone in two weeks? There's no pleasing the media, so we ought to just give up trying. 

Back to models. People need to stop thinking they can judge someone's lifestyle based on photos. It happens with everyone in the public eye. A celebrity falls out of a club drunk one night and all of a sudden they're an alcoholic. A woman goes out with bags underneath her eyes and suddenly she's going through a divorce and can't sleep because of it. People concoct all sorts of lies from pictures. But it's impossible for anybody to know what sort of daily routine these models have just by seeing them on the catwalk. They all work hard to be where they are and I'm thankful that themodelling  industry is more advanced now. 
There are positive supermodel role models who eat well and exercise, as well as having fun and treating themselves occasionally. I am aware that some models do still fall victim to the "I have to starve myself" lifestyle, trust me, and it's a cruel industry to be in. I applaud anyone who chooses to go down that path. However, the models in question who walked for Mrs Beckham, in a nutshell, should not have been "skinny shamed." It's that simple. I don't think you would enjoy someone criticising you for simply doing your job, would you? Just because these models are the centre of attention for an hour or so, doesn't mean they should have to endure so much hatred being thrown their way. 
For me, body shaming is the lowest of the low. It also upsets me that the press choose to focus on the size and shape of the models, rather than the actual clothes which have been months in the making. Side note: Victoria herself is a healthy lady, its well documented, and she wouldn't be able to work as hard as she does if she wasn't.

I 100% agree that all body types are by NO means fully represented in the media in general, not just in the world of modelling. However, that doesn't mean we must start picking apart every slim woman we see online. Everyone deserves success, regardless of size. I think women with smaller bodies are fantastically represented in the media. They're on billboards, TV commercials, adverts, and it's great to see. We don't need to get RID of slim models, it's about INTRODUCING more body shapes to work alongside them. That's what we need to do. We don't always need to change how things are, sometimes, its just about adapting them so they're more inclusive. I love how slim women are everywhere these days, but it'd be great to see other girls up there too. Hopefully, one day, women of all shapes will walk for the same show. It shouldn't be something we have to wish for but hey ho. 
I'm a massive advocate for body confidence and acceptance. Everyone of every size is beautiful to me and that's just the way I've always seen it. I think it's simple. I just do really, truly want all body types to be presented in the same way, positively. It's probably naive of me to sit here and say "Oh I just want to live in a perfect world where every woman of every size is treated the same and nobody says anything bad about anyone else's appearance..." Or is it? Why can't it be that way? 

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted of the body shaming I see EVERY DAY in the press and on social media and not all of it is so obvious. Sometimes, it's just the little sly digs that does directly say "SHE'S TOO FAT/SKINNY" but they're implying something nasty. Body shaming is ruining careers it is a problem we often discuss but nothing ever seems to be done. Can we not just embrace ALL body types and accept the fact that they exist? By hating on slim women on the catwalk, you aren't going to change them or make them go away. To be honest, you probably aren't going to do curvy women any favours either. Are they really going to want to enter the world of modelling once they see the disgusting things you're saying about women who five minutes ago you said had the "ideal body type?" We're all unique and I want brands/advertisers/press to start portraying that more. Body shaming not only impacts on those you body shame, but ANYONE who reads it. 

What we're reading today isn't journalism, it's destroying people. All it takes is one article, one Tweet, one Instagram comment, one Facebook post... I think it's rather sad if, as a journalist, you struggle to make up the required word count for your article and can't think of anything to write and so feel the need to result to slamming other peoples appearances. Perhaps you're in the wrong profession if that's how you want to go about things. Just do your job properly and tell the public what they want to know, keep your trashy opinions to yourself. Maybe if you don't share them, they'll go away. 
As somebody who wants to go into journalism, I would much rather be a journalist who writes something decent and positive that nobody reads than one who gets lots of views yet puts people down. If I ever become a gossipy journalist whose articles are full of lies and bullying, you have my permission to come and bite my head off. 

Please let me know your thoughts on all of this. I'm hoping your thoughts are quite simply the fact that body shaming shouldn't exist, both in modeling and any walk of life. Have a great day and be nice. 

Love, Emily :) xx

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