“Beauty is not defined by the size of your jeans” is a phrase we’re starting to hear more and more. And while we all know this to be the honest truth, if you’re someone who’s ever struggled with your weight, it’s been a hard concept to fully accept – until recently.
We’ve been led to believe, from a very young age, that how we look is the most important representation of who we are. For a long time, the term “beauty” was attached to an image of a fashion model’s size-2 shape and size. Through the decades, models and movies stars who fit into this box were glorified in magazines and the media due to their fit frames, glamorous fashion sense, and impeccable style. In turn, we’ve had the marketing of this image entrenched in our culture. It specified that if we didn’t fit within the “size-2 model” body type, we needed to achieve it in order to gain peer acceptance, career success, and overall happiness.
Entire industries have been based on the premise that smaller is better, and that improvement in this area would achieve ultimate happiness. These industries have thrived upon limiting our options and concealing the secret that we’ll never really be happy with our looks until we’re happy with ourselves just as we are. Until we actually believe and feel that, we’ll keep going back and buying their products, pills, and procedures.
However, since the start of the 2000s era of the technological shift in our society, women of all shapes and sizes have had social media access to building platforms outside of the 1950s model-sized manufacturing box. Millions of women have shared their lives and sense of beauty outside of the size-2 models, celebrating their bodies through the hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards. More and more movie stars such as Gabourey Sidibe and Rebel Wilson have been cast in lead actress roles, and models like Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday have graced magazine covers in their plus-size bathing suits, proving beauty has no boundaries worldwide.
Our platforms of beauty have evolved so fast over the last two years that American commerce is finally realizing they’ve been ignoring a $21 billion plus-size industry. CNN reported that retailers are rushing to expand plus-size in-store brands. Companies like Nordstrom, Walmart, Old Navy, Target, and Kohl’s have added plus-size collections in recent years.
We now have options and are able to evolve our mindset that it isn’t about the size we wear, but how we wear our size. New generations are finally emulating inspiring women who actually look like them, and are now able to walk into a store and celebrate their individual style that’s not defined by the size of their jeans.
Beauty has truly always been defined by confidence, charisma, and character. As we head into summer, I hope you accept your shape and celebrate your style. I encourage you to take more pictures on Girls’ Night Out and include yourself in pictures with your kids at the beach. After all, beautiful isn’t a size, and happiness never goes out of style!
Shawna Sabedra is a freelance writer and Anthropologie plus-size model