Many people might have noticed lately the #PlusIsEqual manufactured by Lane Bryant. The aim of the campaign is seemingly to get more coverage for these plus size women. The mission statement on their website reads as is:
67% of US women are size 14 to 34. But they’re underrepresented on billboards, magazines, TV…everywhere. We believe all women should be seen and celebrated equally. See what people are saying. Add your voice and join us in calling for equal representation.
So of course this is a noble cause. It just so happens that Lane Bryant specializes in selling plus size women’s clothing, and no doubt the campaign is to raise profits. If they are able to successfully make this the accepted body type, they’ll be able to raise their profits with the flood of women accepting the size and buying their clothes.
I just want to put a formal warning I’ll be treading on thin ice from here on out. The first thing we have to consider is that a body type such as the one displayed in the ads, is not healthy nor is it ideal. Having a large excess of unregulated body fat and then encouraging that lifestyle, is of course not healthy. I don’t need to go over the numerous health risks associated with obesity. So at its heart the campaign is designed to encourage an unhealthy lifestyle to raise profits of the company. This is no different than an advertisement for cigarettes or whiskey. The only slight difference is the way it is presented, being that Lane Bryant presents it as a progressive social movement.
So even if the campaign has its good and bad signs, which is the most beneficial for women? Well the obvious aim for the movement is for women to feel better about themselves, to accept who they are and be proud of it. This is a very dangerous thing. There is a difference between accepting who you are and letting yourself deteriorate. Accepting who you are would be to say that you are naturally defensive, or you are inquisitive or even if you have an annoying laugh. These things are all in your nature and it’s crucial to live at peace with these things. A person will bring themselves much more grief by worrying about something like their shoe size and trying to change it, than if they simply accepted it was unchangeable. For to accept the nature of things is to relieve yourself of anguish.
But if a person is in anguish over the type of fashion they have, if they have acne, or even if their feelings are getting too long, why not relieve themselves of the despair and fix these things? Why not find new clothes, learn how to treat the problem, or cut their nails? If it is in their power and nature to change these things, since it is beneficial to them they have an obligation to fix these things. They can be changed and will relieve the person of the suffering. The same is with body image. It is within a reasonable person’s power to change this thing, so why not do it? So many people today suffer from anxiety and low self-esteem because they do not fit the typical model body image, but it is not even desirable to fit that image. If getting to an acceptable weight will help you be happier, then you have a moral obligation to do so.
But many people will say “It’s easier said than done!” which of course is true, because every action on earth is easier said than done. If you are realistic about yourself, break up each problem into small steps, and teach yourself dedication then you will find it is much easier. It doubles as an exercise in discipline.
The #PlusIsEqual campaign is destine to fail. It’s hard to argue against that. People have been pushing for this new body image to be deemed sexy, but it simply won’t happen. Not because the mainstream media is working against you by only showing supermodels, but because men are biologically predetermined to find a specific body type desired. While yes “What is sexy” changes quite a bit, at the base they are the same and is only the image pushed by the media and not realistic expectation. Psychologically men desire women with a slim waist and wide hips, because that means they have likely not had a child before, the child is more likely to survive, and the woman is healthier to take care of the child. An excess of fat is not only unhealthy, but more will likely lead to birth defects. Notice how in the advertisement, to an extent all the woman still had that hourglass shape? It was only represented in a plus size fashion. They themselves are fitting that same standard. They are trying to get this new look as sexy as possible with consisting of the same practices as before, trying to get this look to be acceptable and further raising their profits. A plus size model is still a model.
And now for something that people often make excuses for. Trading off looks for intellectualism is no true trade. Saying to yourself “I don’t need to be healthy, at least I’m smart,” is in itself a contradictory statement. The mind and the body are not two completely separate entities, they are in relation to each other. If you truly are a smart person but are overweight and unhealthy, you are condemning yourself to an early death, effectively cutting off the use for your oh-so powerful mind. But in return if you are just healthy but have a useless brain you are condemned to be exploited and commanded. The mind and the body are not mutually exclusive.
Do not simply accept your condition fed to you by a clothing campaign. It is healthy to remember that the company does not have the best interest of the people in mind, but simply for the company. Changing yourself when allowed by nature is beneficial in this way. It is just the easy answer to accept every little bit about yourself. Relief of anguish and the trail to happiness is not far along, it is just how you choose to get there.