By Jhanvi Shah
Society has always seen women as pliable bodies that can be framed according to circumstances and social norms. The “perfect” female body has greatly changed over the years and is the result of a cultural construct that needs to be challenged if society is to accept diverse body types.
Evolution of Fashion
For instance, in the early ages, women tended to lean a bit on the heavier side as the body equaled one that could carry many children. Hence, she was a symbol of fertility and strength as one needed to fend for themselves for survival.
Similarly, the Gibson Girl introduced in the 1890s set the tone for an ideal body type that was soft and round but also leaned towards a slim physique.
Now, in current times the society assumes a slim archetype with long legs with symmetrical features as one of superiority.
However, the problem arises when the ideal body type becomes rigid and doesn’t allow room for change.
According to a study, 40 males and 40 females just above the age of 19 years were presented with a computerized, 3D body shape which they could adjust according to their preference of a body type. The conclusion that both the genders arrived at was that of a slimmer, and a taller figure than what women usually possess.
Media’s Role in Cementing Body Types
Media correlates such a figure with a healthy lifestyle and fitness, however, the reality is that to attain such a figure, one not only needs to dedicate copious amounts of time, and put restrictions on certain types of food, but they also require a certain genetic makeup.
Hence, all over the world only slim, model-like women have graced the covers of magazines, walked the ramp, and starred in prominent productions. The result is apparent with low self-esteem issues and women all over being told that they are not good enough
As a result, it is time for yet another change. This slim archetype needs to be done away with. Beauty standards once again need to evolve. For this very purpose, women all over have started a trend of their own.
Body Positivity Movements
Vidya Balan (actress) recently in her interview with Filmfare quoted: “There was a period when the more I’d work out, the more I’d put on due to hormonal problems”.
This was in response to the backlash she suffered over the years due to her healthy body type. The actress also expressed her struggle to accept the figure she has, especially in an industry as strict as the entertainment business where the slightest deviation is scrutinized and criticized relentlessly.
Now, Balan is at the frontier of the movement for body positivity and isn’t ashamed of calling out people who try to objectify her.
Similarly, Ileana D’cruz, the brand ambassador for Levi’s has launched a platform #IShapeMyWorld to encourage women to challenge social and cultural constructs.
Neha Parulkar (the first plus-size model to get through Lakme’s fashion week) is a huge proponent of body positivity and through her Instagram page seeks to encourage women to wear what they want, and accept their body as it is.
In addition, many trends indicating a specific body type have been banned, such as “bikini body”. Such a phrase insinuates that only a certain size is fit to wear a bikini.
Moreover, fitness influencers are continuously propagating “strong” over “skinny”. As a result, women all over the world have stood up in solidarity and continued to make leaps and bounds in their fields, including entertainment and fashion to inspire women to be unapologetic and create their own ideal body types.
Image Credits: Google Images