Modeling a Positive Body Image
My thermometer dial has been stubbornly stuck in the 90’s for a couple days now, which is proof enough for me that summer has started. It’s hot, hot, hot, and all around the layers are coming off, off, off. And we know what inevitably coincides with this seasonal shedding of sweatshirts and jeans in favor of tank tops and shorts: body image issues.
In a recent article in Bust Magazine, former plus-size model Katie Halchishick discussed how difficult the modeling world can be for anyone who doesn’t fall squarely into the rail-thin (or, as the industry calls it, “straight”) or plus-size category. Halchishick mentions how sizes ranging from 4 to 8 are considered “no man’s land” in the modeling industry. That means that if you are a size six, you would be hard pressed to open a catalogue and find a pair of jeans being modeled in your size. It’s no wonder, then, that when we make it to the changing room, clothing sometimes just doesn’t fit us the way we think it should. We have in our heads this unhealthy and often unattainable ideal of how we are supposed to look. Even when it’s 98 degrees outside, we spend so much time stressing about being “too fat” or lacking the right curves that we simply ignore the swimming pool beckoning us to come in.
That’s exactly what Halchishick believes is wrong with our mentality. We’re well accustomed to the words “skinny” and “fat,” but how often do you think to yourself, “I look healthy?” Halchishick was not content to let the modeling industry dictate models’ sizes at the expense of their health, so she began her own modeling agency that puts health before the status quo. She also started a campaign called Perfectly Unperfected, which preaches the importance of a healthy body image to American youth who still think the ideal body type is that of a model.
What I love most about Halchishick’s emphasis on health is that “healthy” doesn’t have just one look. I, for one would be thrilled to see a wider range of sizes gracing the covers of magazines. It’s time to start acknowledging that our bodies are meant to do so much more than provide a perfect mold for a t-shirt. So do your hard-working body a favor and take off that swimsuit cover-up and jump in the pool.