Saturday 1 November 2014


The topic of 'Body Image' seems to be a main focus in today's society throughout the realm of digital media, but has there been as much of an increase in self-esteem and body confidence as we thought?

The rise of social media allows each individual to put their views across the internet, encouraging females and males that there is no such thing as “perfection” and that we should all be comfortable in our own skin however when we have brands who thrive on only allowing for example, very slim mannequins in their stores to represent only a portion of the sizes they sell, for example, Topshop (see article here), and campaigns which contain the wrong wording, suggesting that an image of slim, toned and attractive models is the only representation of “The Perfect Body” we can't help but be baffled by these contradicting and conflicting messages. If you didn't know, that campaign is run by Victoria's Secret where they're talking about an item of clothing that will make you have “the perfect body”, however, their photo is extremely misleading, making some jump to conclusions of what their message is. I think there is nothing wrong with them showing slim, toned figures but have some variety to incorporate all body shapes. Not all of us are slim and toned. I mean, if they're going to show a photo like this and have large font across it saying “The Perfect Body” generally, that is what people are going to assume they mean. Here is a link to an article on the matter.

Here's the actual campaign image:

There is such a huge and complex situation going on right now in the digital world surrounding body image and self-esteem that you can't possibly begin to wrap your head around it as there's just too much going on. Firstly there's celebrities campaigning that whatever you look like, you should accept and not try to be something you're not which is great but what about when they go against this general message? For example, Beyonce's latest “photoshop scandal” where it thought that her Instagram photo has been edited to make her legs appear more slender. How is this portraying the message that you should be happy in your own skin? 

Then there's some magazines claiming to be pro-female and pro-feminists but then airbrushing their natural looks within an inch of their life!? To me, that is pure hypocrisy and it is absolutely ludicrous that these magazines are praised for sending out these positive messages and then get away with altering the images they show just to fit in with their “requirements”.

Another issue I have with brands are their employee requirements and target audience. An article from The Daily Mail outed the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch on the policies of his ideal customers. Here's a little snippet from that article:

Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, told Business Insider the retailer's CEO, Mike Jeffries, 'doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people...People who wear his clothing should feel like they're one of the "cool kids."'

This is a whole other issue in itself which can go from self-esteem and body image to "kids" trying to fit in and be cool which could then lead to a whole host of problems such as bullying, isolation, and again not feeling "cool" enough which could then lead to depression and other issues of a similar nature. This proves that a brand ideal like Jeffries proposes has a knock on effect and opens a huge can of worms and not just in body image issues.

Bringing digital media into this, retailer's like A&F have models standing outside their stores in order for customers to have their photos taken with them. This is then undoubtedly uploaded to their social media accounts which, just like a vicious circle, sends the unwanted message of how an individual is supposed to look.

There's so much on this A&F background that if I start now, I'll be here for a month of Sundays. All you have to do is type in "Abercrombie & Fitch - Attractive" into Google or any other search engine and you'll find a massive list of articles on the outrageous polices they have. It's actually quite unbelievable... For example, they don't cater to audiences over a certain size, they admit to only hiring "attractive people". Here's another snippet of an interview conducted with Jeffries in 2006:

'That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.'

What strikes me is that this whole issue can be avoided if people like Mike Jeffries, brands like VS, Topshop and magazines cared a little less about the money they're making (as they've already built a nice sum of money through making people feel low about themselves) and put a little more effort into making people feel good and positive about their bodies. You never know, that could actually solve some serious problems we're facing in today's society. It could also help eradicate the fact that 32% of people asked, agree with the statement ‘your value as a person depends on how you look’ according to questions commissioned by Government Equalities Office in the 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey. The study then went on to reveal that 'around one-third (32%) of those in the youngest cohort (group) agreed with the statement ‘your value as a person depends on how you look’. The fact that it is the youngest cohort (ages 18-34) agreeing with this question is complete proof that we need to act now instead of letting these brands, magazines and other forms of media as well, impact the success we've had so far in restoring positivism and that your value as a person DOES NOT depend on how you look.

If things don't begin to change for the better and soon, this is what's going to become the norm:

Are you okay with this?

We need to permanently stop these brands and forms of media from trying to make us conform to their unrealistic ideal of perfection, not just confront them and then they make a public apology and all is forgotten. Whether you're naturally slim or not, we all need to unite and ensure these people that we won't stand for it any longer. Any size or shape should be accepted in today's society to reflect realism and that in itself should be a brand's encouragement and selling point.

If you'd like to join me on my 'Take Back What's Yours' campaign, please do get in touch. If you want to read a bit more about what it's all about, here's some posts!

Thank you for reading!

Get in touch! 

Twitter: @ChloesConcept


Chloe x

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  1. I agree with a lot that you've said, but I honestly don't see brands putting the emotions etc of the consumers ahead of making money any time soon. Maybe that's just me being pessimistic though. Abercrombie and Fitch have been renowned for being degrading in every way for a long time, and I think they're probably the most extreme example of it. It'd be interesting to see the reasons behind openly feminist celebs photoshopping their images (whether it's their choice etc). Such an interesting and well written post by the way :) xx Sophie/

    1. Thank you for your comment, Sophie!

      I agree with the fact that it is unlikely brands will put this ahead of them making money but it's not just emotions they'd be putting ahead, it's reality rather than their twisted ideal of a "perfect body". It's so disgraceful. The thing is, Abercrombie also owns other brands as well, in which they are spreading their policies through and we don't want this to become the "norm" or else it'll be considered as okay to do as other brands are doing it and that will be a scapegoat for all! What I've spoken about is a general idea of the brands putting these policies into practice, however there are so many more examples!

      Thank you for your comment and I hope you enjoyed! xx