Aaaaaand this is one of many reasons I don’t even own an iron or an ironing board! I am proud of my thick strong legs! I bet you are wondering what the other 24 reasons are… 😉
Tag Archives: body acceptance
One of my student workers was kind enough to tell me that she enjoys reading this blog because she is also trying to lead a healthier way of life. She spoke about how she defines herself as “skinny fat”, a term I’ve heard a lot of lately. I can understand the frustrations of not feeling healthy in your body, so we chatted briefly about the subject.
This skinny fat phenomenon is defined as an individual who has a slender build but is not toned and has a high amount of body fat for their smaller frame. Or as my student worker describes it, “I look fine while fully clothed (with small arms, legs, and neck), but I have a muffin top and I won’t be showing my body off in a bathing suit anytime soon.” I think of it as those “before” and “after” ads where they showcase a naturally slender or athletic male or female with some extra body fat, and then the perfect super fit results after using a certain product.
I strongly dislike those infomercials with obviously staged before and after photos and find them quite misleading. I believe these ads are similar to “skinny plus sized” models. It must be quite easy to showcase a perfect “after” body when the out of shape “skinny fat” body has the socially acceptable attractive proportions and underlining potential for total fitness. Though plus sized models may not be considered “skinny fat” because of their toned bodies, it is very similar in model land. You never, or rarely, see a model above a size 12 or 14, shorter than 5’10”, without a perfectly toned and blemish free body. It’s similar to a six foot size zero model being featured in an ad instead of a popular size 8. The way (most) advertisements display both men and women is one of the many ways media feeds our body image struggles. I’m not saying make all models larger and more in line with average body type, but mix up the pot a bit!
If anyone is mixing up the pot these days, Debenhams is cooking up some socially inclusive soup! I do feel that more and more companies are using diverse and realistic models for their ads and getting the recognition they deserve. The Debenham Lookbook that includes beautiful models of all sizes, races, ages, and body types and the Sweden based H&M’s recent advertisement spread pleases me to no end. Oddly enough, they are both International companies. (Isn’t America the one who gets a bad wrap for being large and in charge??) There is an ongoing fight for body acceptance at any shape or size, one I’ve been fighting for my whole life, and one day it would be nice to see the fight end and everybody just get along!
But I digress. Back to the subject at hand.
The “skinny fat” phenomenon is important to be aware of for naturally slender individuals. It’s crucial to keep an eye on body fat and your overall health at any body size. There are plenty of unhealthy skinny people out there as well as healthy overweight individuals. This is why am a firm believer in Body Fat % versus Body Mass Index. I will always be defined as Overweight in the BMI category, even at my goal weight, but my current 32% Body Fat is actually in the high “average” range (on more detailed charts) but falls into “obese” on other charts (not taking height and age into account). I just take this discrepancy as just another reminder that I am above average in every way. : )
I love reading articles (like the one above) about how companies are using a wider range of body types, ages, and ethnicity to market their products whether in store or in print. I especially love it when it’s one of my all time favorite clothing stores, H&M!
I think what I love most about the new softer model in the above ad is she looks curvy and healthy and still has some adorable flabby flesh in her midsection. Most plus sized models are toned and probably photoshopped to be a larger version of a “perfect” model. The stomach is one of the toughest place for most women (and men!) to lose weight once they get past 30! I think most women can relate to the image of the model on the right. Seeing this woman embrace her “average” shaped body and own her sexy & healthy body in a bikini, most of the female population will hopefully learn to do the same.
The buzz with this H&M ad right now is how it’s not loudly displayed as a “plus sized” photoshoot and the company did not set out to draw attention to this choice in models. The swimwear is not labeled “plus sized” swimwear and there is no obvious label on this advertisement spread to that effect aside from the subtle + sign after the H&M. The larger model is an above average model sized woman, a size 12 standing at 5’10”, which has always been the size labeled as “plus sized” in model land. A size 12 is actually one size below the American average size of 14. The model, Jennie Runk, actually gained weight to become a model in the “plus sized” category but hopes one day that the term “plus size” doesn’t exist anymore. I love that mindset. I bet Kate Moss is rolling over in her grave…oh, she’s still alive (and actually looks much healthier these days yay!). All in all, this is one great step towards body acceptance. I’m yet again pleased with the marketing decisions being made by this trendy and affordable company.
A while back my social media feed blew up with the photos and articles about the Swedish store with plus sized mannequins.
I naturally approved of this body size variety, but realized they are not the pioneers in larger sized mannequins. Lane Bryant has been the leading fashionable option for curvy girl fashion forEVER and use appropriately sized mannequins to showcase their 14+ sizes. I think it’s not recently recognized because they have always been a “plus sized” clothing company, but they too should be applauded for traditionally showing their clothing on average body sized mannequins.