Tall, but not too tall, a medium sized torso, long legs and a flat stomach. The bodies of girls in our generation are expected to fit this mold.
For as long as I can remember, I have been told to stand up for what I believe in and do so with confidence. Though these words have echoed in the back of my mind, it is hard to find confidence growing up in a world where only one female body is advertized in teen retail and the media. I know that I am healthy, but I have found myself questioning why fashion brands have the ability to dictate what is considered beautiful.
The Italian fashion brand Brandy Melville has made a name for itself in the business of teenage retail worldwide. They cater to teenage girls and sell one size fits all clothing. Scrolling through their Instagram page, which has 3.7 million followers, it is clear that they have built their fame off of social media.
The kind of girls they have sporting their brand name all share one look. The frequency at which we see this “perfect” body reflected in the media as well as the unrealistic “one size fits all” clothing, makes many girls feel like this is what is expected of them.
But I’ve realized that an item of clothing marked “one size” is designed for a high fashion model who wears a size zero rather than the average body type. The expectation that girls should look like this is unrealistic, and denounces everything that our generation should stand for. We have the power of social media in our hands, and should be using it to empower ourselves rather than put each other down based on different body types.
Rather than celebrating different body types, Brandy Melville has found a way to deem anyone who does not match their look to be lesser than those who do. They have negative connotations about anybody whose body does not meet the requirements to wear the clothing modeled by the “beautiful”, instagram-famous girls who model for the brand.
In questioning the branding that only appeals to one body type, I began to ask myself what it meant to be a “Brandy girl.” Their media and advertising plan is meant to make young, thin girls feel like they’re a part of something, while excluding the majority of the population. If you can fit into their tiny clothing, you can be the face of their company. If not, you can shop somewhere else. These marketing wizards have manipulated young girls through social media, making them aspire to have the same unrealistic body types, artificial hair colors and porcelain skin that is characteristic of their models.
What still confuses me is why the fashion industry gets to dictate what is considered to be a universal size. Mass media shouldn’t be able to tell you that there’s only one beautiful body type. We are more than our bodies, and that is not something I am trying to deny. We are all different, that is a fact, but our differences seem to be setting us apart in a negative way. We need to love ourselves and our bodies, and welcome the fact that we are all different. A beautiful body is one that involves self love, and acceptance. One size does not fit all, it only fits small.