First off, let me tell you that I’m typically considered a small girl, coming in strong at five feet tall, and about 130lbs. However, I struggle with my body, my appearance – basically everything about myself on a daily basis. Especially within the past year or so, weight has been something that has seemed to define me, and I know this isn’t just confined to me either. I recognize that by definition I am not really “large” but as a 19-year-old college student, I’m constantly experiencing pressure. Pressure to conform to every social norm and look like every other girl on campus that meets the media’s posted image of having this amazing dream bod. When it comes to the subject of weight, it’s not easy by any means to stay in a positive state of mind.
A few days ago I discovered that plus size models are absolutely killing it in a photography exhibition called “Real Love,” right in time for NYC’s famous fashion week. BUST magazine did an interview with Ashley Graham and ALDA to hear their thoughts. The girls explained that the shoot consists of 26 black and white, vintage-style photos only capturing the models faces, rather than their curves. While this focus wasn’t on the models bodies, the plus size women were left feeling even more empowered. With perfect timing in New York, the ladies got some well-deserved attention.
The interview offered a breath of fresh air for me in supporting the movement to illustrate that every woman is beautiful (especially in the fashion/model industry), no matter what the size. In viewing the portraits, you are not distracted by the size of their body; rather, you appreciate deciphering a face that has it’s own unique story. The catch however, is having people think that same way when seeing the image of the model’s entire body. These women definitely have the right idea, and have brought something to the table that needs to be taken to an even greater level. It’s about time that we see clothing on someone beyond a size double zero, and I think that these women are ready to take the NYC runway – even if America isn’t.
Granted, a large majority of us aren’t runway models. Not many of us can get our faces displayed on 555 West Street in NYC during fashion week. The good news is that you don’t have to be, and you certainly don’t need a photo shoot (although, that would be pretty awesome). Every movement and every action has a voice. That voice, needs to be you. Even if that voice is making you feel confident in whatever you’re wearing that morning, that’s great! Don’t be afraid to speak up and feel good about your body and who you are! Body positivity is a real thing, I promise. While I struggle with this personally, I want you to be aware that you are not alone. Everyone is fighting a battle, and how you look or how much you weigh does not define you unless you allow it. For now though, make those women in NYC proud, and prove that you aren’t just a pant size. You have a story to tell – embrace it, and don’t be afraid to share!