I have been working in the fashion industry for over the past 5 years and I remember the first time I saw a model in the catwalk in Paris was a John Galliano show. I was shocked on how skinny (and bonny) she was. After the 2nd show, my eye got used to it and my mind to those ‘standards’ of beauty.
Last term when I had the pleasure to take the Intro to Feminism class at the New school, I learned how it is important to empower young girls to feel happy and confortable with who they are since the early stages of their lives; otherwise it becomes very difficult and too superficial for them to reach an ideal of beauty which is unattainable and dangerous in the long run.
When I saw about this campaign, I was extremely happy and pleased to see that someone who is suffering from this discrimination (because that’s what I would call it) stands up for it and try to change the situation.
The idea behind the project is as follows:
With +3,000 followers and +2000 hashtag shares on instagram, this project has been taking more voice thanks to Australian model Stefania Ferrairo, face for Dita Von Teese’s lingerie line and who also has been working on the industry for years. She wrote on he stomach the line: “I am a model.” sharing it on her instagram and with more than 10,000 likes on it, the image continues taking importance with articles from different magazines sharing it and supporting the movement.
As she describes on her caption:
“I am a model FULL STOP. Unfortunately in the modelling industry if you’re above a US size 4 you are considered plus size… I do NOT find this empowering… I’m NOT proud to be called ‘plus’, but I AM proud to be called a ‘model’, that is my profession!”.
The purpose of this movement is to:
- The labels “plus” and “plus size” removed from the fashion industry and removed from the media reporting on it.
- Retail stores to follow suit by dropping the “plus size” label and becoming more inclusive. Clothing lines should cater to a broad size range and be made to flatter different body shapes.
- Models of all sizes to be used consistently, without misleading labels.
Most of the reaction have been very positive:
I personally believe that empowering women while trying to achieve gender equality is a task for our generation and the next one. We need to focus on what’s important here and how we can create a higher social value by re-shaping our current values. This action by Stefania reminded me of what Bell Hooks says:
“Awareness doesn’t bring change but rather take action”
It’s imperative to try to achieve change by being proactive and have a voice in the matter, otherwise we are never going to change the status quo.
Luckily there has been more room for change and the industry is listening. With new government laws and also by creating a new aesthetic on whats considered beautiful; we can find more diversity on body types in magazines and even runway shows. For example ex-editor in chief of Vogue Paris Carine Roitfeld started using model Lara Stone or Kate Upton for her different shoots and creating awareness that the female body is beautiful and photogenic in different sizes.
Magazines like ElleDaily and ID have been supporting Stefania’s cause by writing articles about the movement but there is still not much buzz around it. This is sad news, because either people don’t care enough for it or they feel confortable with the current situation and this is the real problem to tackle.