For decades past, the perfect female body type has been the typical skinny girl. You know who she is. She’s the one with a thigh gap and a stomach that’s as flat as a board. Society has unfortunately established this image as a standard for young women, some of which could never attain this so-called ‘ideal’ image no matter how hard they tried. The pressure is on for girls in our culture. We’ve been taught our worth comes in size only, so what if we’re far from ideal?
However, thin is no longer in. We have finally grasped that it’s absurd to hold girls to the standard of a supermodel-type figure that only a minuscule percentage of the female population have. We’ve kissed the ideal long-and-lean girl goodbye. Isn’t that great that we’re all moving forward?
It could be great, only we haven’t actually solved anything. Instead of moving forward to meet in the middle, reminding every girl that she is accepted no matter her size, we’ve overcorrected the issue. The discrimination didn’t end; it reversed. The curvy girl is now in the spotlight, and it’s not only her time to shine, but it’s apparently her turn to shame the skinny girls all the while.
Megan Trainor’s song “All About That Bass” has been notably praised since it came out in the summer, as the curvy girl’s anthem features uplifting lyrics like “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” But, in the exact song, she sings some otherwise offensive lyrics that are anything but inspiring. It’s basically the musical version of a backhanded compliment. Trainor suggests that she gains the attraction of men due to being larger than a size two and being able to “shake it like she’s supposed to do.” If this song is fostering body positivity and aims to suggest girls love their bodies, why is the song suggesting that a certain physique is more desirable to men? What would be so wrong about being a size two anyway?
These supposedly encouraging lyrics are surprisingly degrading once you look below the surface. We’re told not to worry about our weight and the size of our skinny jeans. But if we’re thin, then we’re fake Barbie dolls and we should put some meat on our bones. And that’s the epitome of this curvy girl movement: It all sounds virtuous and right, but when you dig more deeply, this trendy so-called ‘empowerment’ can get very hurtful really quickly.
Comments such as “Real women have curves” and “Only dogs like bones” intend to reassure curvier women that they too are attractive, even when put next to a 5’8″, 115 pound model. But why do we feel the necessity to slam the slender girls in the process? Frustrated with the criteria set by the fashion industry and media, women choose to condemn the size twos instead of taking their irritations out on the media itself.
Society is always changing their standards, as we’ve gone back and forth on what’s truly beautiful since the beginning of time. Starting in the sixteenth century, women began wearing corsets to flatten their stomachs and enhance their chests. Fast forward to the 1950s, the time of the glorious Marilyn Monroe. Newspaper advertisements endorsing weight gain featured headlines saying, “Don’t let them call you skinny ever again! I gained fifteen pounds with [insert weight gain program] and now I’ve got the body men really love!” Then starting in the 1990s, the Kate Moss-type skinny chick took the spotlight and crash diets escalated in popularity. This time period has been the most influential in the world of beauty standards, as these were the kinds of girls we saw on the television and the magazines and the runways. Now we’re once again revisiting the 1950s era that connected curves with sex appeal.
Criticism is still completely and evidently taking place. For so long society has convinced women we must to be slender or we’re not attractive, and now we need to have curves or we’re not real. And it’s not just the magazines and the reality television shows that unfortunately tell us so. It’s your female Facebook friends and the strangers standing in line at the grocery store that emphasize these fictitious standards. The conclusion should be both ends of body-shaming spectrum gathering in the middle, realizing maybe we don’t need to be anything at all.
It’s true: I am a size two. I’ll probably never be the girl that has “all the right junk in all the right places.” But even if I were size 20, my worth would be equal to those of all the other sizes. It’s tremendously critical that we learn not only to love our own bodies, but that we also remind every other woman to do the same. We’re all on the same team here, ladies.