"Straight/Curve"--Redefining What Beauty Is..
Writing about body positivity was always on the list of topics I really wanted to write about, but until I attended the red carpet premiere of the Epix movie "Straight/Curve" on Monday night directed and produced by Jenny McQuaile as well as produced with Jessica Lewis and Yael Melamede, I didn't realize just how important it is that I really start to use my voice as a writer to share my thoughts on the subject.
Being an insider in the fashion industry, you notice these little buzz moments and sometimes they fizzle out and sometimes they really turn into a thing! After noticing some of these little tremors in last few years in the fashion industry with social media and advertising actually starting to give curvy women a voice, this time it feels like we've reached a turning point and there's no going back.
In the era of Instagram, Facebook, bloggers, social influencers, etc.--everyone has a voice and people are finding like minded others who can help build networks of body positivity and retail experiences catering to the curvy woman who wants high level, on trend fashion too. Why would this confident woman want anything different than her counterpart "straight size" friends want? Why should there be a difference. Sure--advertisers can choose to portray the images they want, but be wary the growing following of women who will choose to do things their own empowering way--not your way!
My first moments of clarity on this movement began in 2014 when I was a becoming a fan of the Aerie brand. They decided to put out an ad campaign never heard of--totally un-Photoshopped!! If you didn't hear the conversations after this movement, you had to have been hiding under a rock. The conversations were polarizing--there was the camp saying "what are these extra rolls and layers of skin on these women?" and then there was the "you go girl!!" camp. I loved these images because no matter what size you are, even if you are a size 00, that's what the human body does when you twist it and bend it like a healthy human being, it creates folds and real muscle movement. How brainwashed are we as a society to not want to accept that in our daily onslaught of fashion imagery--the actual REALITY!
Then a little over a year ago when I was looking through magazines, I came across this fabulous Ebony, March 2016 "Body Brigade" cover speaking for the curvy woman, the "thick" woman as many of these cover models referred to themselves. Proud of their curves but also with their own set of insecurities. I loved how these women really opened up about their body issues all the while looking stunning in their photo shoot.
And probably the mega event heard 'round the world was Ashley Graham being on the cover of the Sports Illustrated 2016 swimsuit issue. Surprise--Surprise fashion industry!
From here moments like these are happening more often but still nowhere near the rate that they should be to teach our young women that diversity and inclusivity are what real beauty is all about. It should reflect the masses in age, shape, color--not the minority of the population that is currently what is used in the fashion industry's choices for models for fashion shows and ad campaigns. The movie Straight/Curve hi-lights the fact that ninety percent of women and young girls say they do not feel represented in the fashion industry or in media, and that the imagery they consume on a daily basis makes them feel “disgusting” and “less than”.
McQuaile also shares her thoughts on the ways in which a primarily-white thin obsessed fashion world doesn’t accurately reflect the real-life loveliness of many women:
“Women over a size 4, older women and often times black or Latina women are not shot with a high end aesthetic in high fashion clothes, amazing lighting or through the same lens we are so accustomed to seeing straight size models.”
The exciting new documentary Straight/Curve examines the industries and obstacles responsible for this body image crisis and showcases the dynamic leaders fighting for more diversity of size, race and age. At a time when our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than words Straight/Curve sets out to change the imagery we are seeing and to bolster a movement that is redefining society’s unrealistic and dangerous standards of beauty to impact society at large.
Photographer, Anastasia Garcia and Stylist, Jenessee Utley create a beautiful setting for a photoshoot with a diverse group of models including the first ever plus size supermodel, Emme to Sabina Karlsson, Iskra Lawrence, Sasha Exeter, Nicola Griffin, Jennie Runk, Nathalia Novaes, Madison Schill, and so many other gorgeous diverse women. We get to hear their behind the scenes conversations about their own personal stories dealing with body shaming, weight issues, and eating disorders.
I think we are just at the beginning of a new era where women are in control of their own vision of how they are seen in the media--it's time to own it and make your voice known. It's about you, your sisters, mothers, aunts, daughters, girlfriends. It's about making sure that every woman you can reach out to and sometimes that means yourself knows that you are not a second class citizen. You deserve more. You deserve to be heard and you are BEAUTIFUL!! I urge you to watch the movie Straight/Curve and share it with all the women you know. It is a game changer! Girl-Up!!