Feminism has been buried in fashion for as long as we can remember seeing 6′, size 0 women. But is it finding it’s way into the industry (finally)? The general consensus seems to believe it is- and who isn’t happy about this! Fashion used to be only for the tall, thin, and beautiful women with unhealthy and harmful lifestyles. However, all races, sizes, and ages are being brought into the standard for beauty now.
A less than subtle hint to the change in beauty standards was Aerie’s un-retouched ad campaign. Their campaign put normal women’s bodies in the spotlight, showing that not even models are as “perfect” as they Photoshop them to be. Aerie’s store windows display their stunning, yet human, women looking great in lingerie just the way they are. Before this, when was the last time you were in the mall and saw an advertisement with a model who has a scar? You haven’t, or at least you thought you haven’t. Photoshop is so easy to use and has endless possibilities, and at times it almost seems like they photograph one woman and create another. Plenty of the models have scars, birthmarks, or stretchmarks- but they are nearly always erased in Photoshop. So, when was the last time you actually met a person with an absolutely impeccable body? Every person is different in a million unique ways, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Thankfully you can see the real people in some ads, and women are finally being shown it’s great to love your body, just the way it is.
Aerie wasn’t the only brand to protest against beauty standards. American Apparel showed the world that aging is okay, and “older” is not synonymous with “ugly”. The brand posted their lingerie ad titled “Sexy has no expiration date.”, featuring a beautiful 62 year old woman. Vogue had reported that the model, Jacky O’Shaughnessy, was a perfect fit because of her natural elegance. While audience opinions ranged from disgusted to thrilled, the overall conclusion was that beauty has no age limit.
Advertisements are not where feminism ends in fashion, either. Last fall on the runway, Rick Owens shocked nearly everyone at Paris Fashion Week. He had 40 black, muscular women come stomping and dancing onto the runway in basketball style outfits. This was a huge change from the stereotypical white woman, floating down the catwalk in a delicate chiffon gown. Owens’ statement showed the world that there are many more desirable forms of femininity than that 6′, size 0. And along with diversity in femininity comes choices.
Women’s fashion is also evolving to focus on dressing the way you want to be viewed, rather than trying to get every man’s attention. Whether you want to look classy, intelligent, or casual there are tons of brands and styles out there waiting for you. And when you dress for yourself, you will attract the people you want to be around- rather than walking around everywhere like a sex bomb because you’re “supposed to” and getting all the wrong attention. Women are becoming less and less of “sex objects” as feminism is emerging in fashion, supported by the #1 selling item in women’s dresses being the maxi dress. The maxi dress cover the entire body, except the arms in short sleeve varieties. Beauty is not about how much skin you show or how sexy you can look anymore, but about looking more elegant and simple than before.
Not to mention that the world is not all about women. Dressing to attract every man you see doesn’t make much sense in this day and age, considering homosexuals are more comfortable than ever to reveal their sexuality. Not every man is interested in women, regardless of how they dress, and not every woman is interested in men either. Like I said before, focusing on dressing the way you want to be viewed as a person is respectable now, and attracts more of the people you wish to have around you.
Luckily healthy, human standards making their way into the industry will teach kids in a positive way, and help create a better future for them. Surrounded by real people, kids will aspire to be greater things than “tall, thin, and beautiful”. And hopefully this means the next generations will grow up with better self esteem than and wish to be nothing but the best they can be as their own unique self.