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Body image is a bigger issue than many people realise

Many women close to me have similar views; we all get frustrated with how we are portrayed. Some close to me have suffered severely with self-acceptance and body image. This post was for them, to unite us and to remind any who read it that, if they felt the same, they weren’t alone.

What concerns me most about the feedback and comments are the statements from females and parents of young girls. Some claim to dislike themselves because of the pressure they are under from society, to showcase a body shape and style promoted by the fashion industry.

The way women are portrayed in fashion and the media is constantly on my mind. I feel we have lost the voice we regained in the 1990s during the Riot Grrrl punk movement. It’s normal to have hairy legs, it’s normal to have wobbly bits, it’s normal to enjoy sex (for you to enjoy it, not just your partner), it’s normal to want to be successful in your career.

I intend to push high-street retailers to support the female body, to market their clothing to those who wear it, rather than continue to support the image of “the ideal body” (a term we are all familiar with and a term that supports a shape and size that is not always attainable). Should you have the media-hyped “perfect body”, this is not something I wish you to take offence at. Rather I hope you support those who are not that size.

As a retailer, if you stock a variety of sizes, you are inviting women of those sizes to shop in your store. Therefore why make the women of a size that differs to the “ideal” feel uncomfortable?

It’s not just about Topshop, it’s about all retailers. Body image is a bigger issue than many realise. It’s about celebrity-endorsed crash diets (which still, oddly, exist).

Topshop’s response was generic, with no promises. I would like to find out exactly what they mean by “the form is stylised to have more impact in store”. Exactly what kind of impact were they hoping for?

I’m pleased I created a platform for an open dialogue about body image. With amazing British women like Kate Nash, Emma Watson and Lucy Anne Holmes supporting the feminist cause, I hope more women remove the stigma that surrounds the title and embrace it to help make the world a more tolerant and supportive environment for younger generations.

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Body image and the portrayal of women in fashion and the media may not be the number one issue for all of society, but for many of us, it’s a pretty big deal. I hope women continue to stand up for what they believe in and promote change for the greater good. As for me, watch this space.


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