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The New Woman: All Asses Were Not Created Equal

October 26, 2010

Levi’s ad for Fall 2010 tells us to go forth and move forward with jeans as a new democracy.  The new democracy meaning that every ass is not created equal; we must stop believing they will ever be united as one.  Not only do we all need our very own personal shopper to help us find the perfect pair, but it is high time that all of us start to accept our bodies – legs, stomach, nails, hair, every wrinkle and freckle.  Brands like Levi have even begun recruiting an army for this philosophy: “Bring us your skinny tomboys, your curvy girls and all girls in between.  We believe that hotness comes in all shapes and sizes…”

Now I have to admit it took me a while to actually believe this about my own body but I finally got there. And I am proud to say, so is the fashion industry…but slowly…very slowly.

To be clear, just because the fashion industry is beginning to embrace curvier women on the runway and in high-fashion magazines, does NOT mean that “real” is the new sexy.  Real has always been sexy; that will never change no matter what anyone tells you.  Ask the guy next to you.  My ex fell in love with me nails undone, hair greasy, one sock off, food in teeth, with the small patch of cellulite on my outer, upper thighs.   Some genuinely enjoy that painted on tan, non matching hair extensions, acrylic look, but those aren’t the guys we should be dating now…should we?  Men like that end up on reality shows that consist of going to the gym, tanning and doing their laundry.

However, mags that feature supposedly “real” women, like Scarlett Johansson or Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, are not actually the “real” that you work or go to school with or see even on the street.  The average woman today is around 5’5” and weighs 160 pounds.  Scarlett doesn’t look like a size eight to me.  So, to stand politically correct, magazine and runway models are now being featured as curvaceous, full-figured, and busty.  To be non politically correct, we are now turning the pages of our favorite fashion and beauty magazines to see what they are technically known for as plus size models with a nice set of jugs, motherly hips and – as Levi formerly stated – an array of different-looking asses.  Even though that may not be what’s average or real; that is the new sexy.

This summer, Glamour and Elle magazine dedicated their entire June issue to loving your body as is.  “Every woman of every body type, should be able to stand up and say she’s beautiful,” Jennie Runk a plus-size model at 5’10” weighing around 180 pounds said in Glamour.  This “bathing suit for every body” issue staunchly celebrated supreme self-assurance.  It made Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive actually want to go swimsuit shopping.  I don’t know about that but it was unusual (in a good way).

Their message is that no one body-type is more exquisite than another.  When Glamour interviewed Crystal Renn, author of Hungry – a memoir about her experiences with starvation to become a “straight-size” model – she said it is important to show body diversity on the runway.  “Women will accept themselves when they see more body types.  This is the new normal.”  And it’s a trend that even the most prominent brands are succumbing to.  Don’t believe me?  Check out Prada for Spring 2010.  Their models were curvy, curvy, curvy.  Even our favorite Victoria Secret Angel, Alessandra Ambrosio, was featured as “curvier” for the spring fashion shows.  “If I know I’m healthy, that’s all that matters,” Ambrosio said. (If that woman’s skin turned green, she’d still be hot; I don’t care what anyone says).

Designers even celebrated the new “curvy aesthetic” at Fashion Week this fall.   In Milan, designer Elena Miro decided to break away from the emaciated look to take on the notion that beauty should never be restrictive.  “The important thing for the designer is to be able to present a different kind of beauty, both in marketing and in the media,” said Miro on http://www.huffingtonpost.com.

As college students, we are forced to always dig deeper, to look at the bigger picture and to subject ourselves to an independent way of logistics and assessment.  Don’t be naïve.  If you don’t love the skin you’re in then do something about it, but be real.  I know I will never be a twig.  As soon as I accepted that, I started to enjoy what I’ve got.  Going to the gym and eating healthy was just as important but in a different way, a more realistic way.  As Leive says, “Be the woman you should always have been, and everything else follows.”

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