I, like most people interested in fashion, flick through a number of fashion magazines every month looking forward to the fashion layouts, the shoots and the very art present in each fashion editorial that has been assembled after hours of creative work.
To my amusement, and slight shock, an American magazine by the name of V chose to celebrate plus size models, models who in the industry are oftentimes a US size 8 to represent fashion for women who wear a size 12 or 14 US.
For V’s current issue themed “The Size Issue, an editorial entitled “Curves Ahead shocked many in the fashion industry by shooting plus size models even bigger than the average plus size models. The images were intended to celebrate beauty in all shapes and forms be it big or small, mostly big. But what has the fashion editorial really managed to do by including large women? And what sort of message does it really send out?
Before hitting newsstands in the US as planned on Jan. 14, images of the fashion shoot were all over the web. Women who were to be quite frank, overweight, were posing seductively in tight jeans and corsets, or else laying down in the nude with nary but a bracelet or pair of heels on.
The images are certainly arresting but in my opinion, do little to help solve the issue of the warped image of femininity and beauty that many women aspire to thanks to the underweight models who pose in most fashion magazines the world over.
There is a happy medium that one should aspire to, and 17-year-old models should not be considered reflections of beauty but these models too should not be glorified for their supposed curves. They may have beautiful facial features but to celebrate overweight women as curvy is stretching it.
What’s the message really? Fat is beautiful?
One can argue that perhaps such an editorial is meant to exaggerate a certain point of view as a means of highlighting the severity of another polar extreme. But to glorify women with such weight on them is to do the public a great disservice. Health problems whether they are issues related to being overweight or underweight should have been the topic of discussion. Beside, who do these pictures really relate to?
Women on average are a size 10 US in both Europe, the United States and in the Middle East. Do these pictures speak to Egyptian women? Not really, as they conform to that very same statistic. In a country where femininity in the local culture has always been defined by a voluptuous full bodied figure, Egyptians might be amused by such images.
And what about fashion? Fashion is a fantasy world, and even those who follow it know that for the most part, the fashion world is that of make-believe. These images are unlikely to change the fashion industry’s habits of placing young waifs on covers, but it is also unlikely that they will alter people’s expectations of as to what they will seek in a magazine.
I for one hope that these editorials will not be repeated. They do not represent the women who care enough about fashion to care enough about themselves.