Pop-Culture | Posted by Chloe H on 07/25/2012

Celebrating Our Bodies

model Crystal Renn

Don’t you hate it when you see another girl and she looks perfect? You know, the way you want to look but can never seem to pull off. She has the perfect outfit, or the perfect face, perfect hair, perfect body. Usually, when we get this feeling we are standing in front of a billboard with the picture of an actress, or we are looking at a fashion magazine and we see a model in an ad campaign or an editorial. You get that twisty feeling in your stomach, and maybe you feel a little jealous. Maybe you think, “Why can’t I look like her?” But guess what? That girl that you’re staring at, whether she’s an image, a mirage or maybe even a real girl — she has felt the exact same way.

When we see these images, maybe we think to ourselves: I have to work out more, or I really shouldn’t eat so many carbs. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t good enough, as if we aren’t worthy because we don’t look like “them”, those perfect girls. Sometimes it spirals out of control, into illnesses like anorexia. But more often than not, it just constantly nags us. We have to examine the nutrition labels of everything, we have to exercise for a certain amount of time, eat a certain amount of food.

Model Crystal Renn was no exception. She too, felt the societal pressures of being perfect. However, she is a highly successful Ford model and has been in many ad campaigns such as Chanel and Dolce & Gabana. But before her success, she had an extreme case of anorexia and exercise bulimia. She wrote a book, Hungry, about her struggles with her body. When she finally became as successful as she always dreamed of being, she wasn’t a size zero but rather a size fourteen. She is a plus size model. She is my personal favorite model, and I think that she is one of the most beautiful women in the world, but she too struggled with what we all struggle with, our body image. It doesn’t matter if you’re Helen of Troy or Giselle, sometimes we just feel awful about ourselves. That has to change.

Hungry is one of my favorite books. My other favorite book is A Little F’d Up by Julie Zeilinger. This is the book that led me to epiphany that I am a feminist. My favorite quote from A Little F’d Up is “envision what our world would look like today if equality had always been around. Take a moment to think of the art and music that might have been created. Imagine the wars that might not have happened, and the people who might not have suffered. Of course, we’ll never know for sure what would have happened had women truly been part of the picture.” This quote is the reason why I am a feminist, because we are still not completely “part of the picture”. One reason, among others of course, is that we are still in chains, invisible chains of self-hatred and insecurity.

When we have such low self-esteem, we are stunting our growth as people, and not letting ourselves blossom into our full potential. We need the strength to utilize what women before us fought so hard to give us. In order to do that, we need self-confidence and self-acceptance. We need to celebrate our bodies, and the bodies of our gorgeous fellow women, because we are ravishing! We need to honor our bodies, treat them like a temple. We need to fill our bodies with healthy food and healthy amounts of physical exertion. But we also need to indulge, because we are worth it! We deserve the occasional ice cream or chocolate cake or whatever we want. We need to love ourselves, and love our daughters and sisters, because when we nourish each other, and ourselves we grow stronger as women — and that is what feminism is about.

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  • Emma E @ at 3:21 pm, July 25th, 2012

    I read about Crystal Renn in Teen Vogue, and I’ve been trying to get my hands on her book ever since. Since I want a career in fashion, I know a lot about that industry, and I know that it’s really, really hard to speak about eating disorders in an industry that practically relies on them. I also love how she shows that you can love fashion, while hating the flawed parts of it (because I have heard that you can’t love fashion and be a feminist, and it annoys me endlessly). Go, Crystal!

  • Alexa @ at 5:35 pm, July 25th, 2012

    Awesome piece, Chloe! I indentified with a lot of that, and I couldn’t agree more- women realizing their power (and not feeling inferior about appearance is integral to that) is what modern feminism is all about :)

  • Pat Hallinan @ at 5:46 pm, July 25th, 2012

    Well said, Chloe.

  • Chloe H. @ at 6:25 pm, July 25th, 2012

    Emma, It also really frustrates me that feminism and fashion supposedly don’t mix. I am also a Ford model like Crystal, and one of the special things about Ford, is that they are open about the issue of eating disorders in the industry. They WANT girls to be healthy. Crystal signed with Ford after being anorexic and she signed as a plus size model with lots of support from the agency. Crystal is amazing!!!!

  • LHK @ at 1:04 am, July 26th, 2012

    What gets to me these days is how Facebook is affecting girls’ self image. They see their friends, normal girls, in scantily clad clothing and constantly compare themselves and strive to post similar pictures. What’s worse, they bully each other and sabotage relationships by posting “bad photos” of their friends online. Frightens me. http://onfb.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/facebook-photos-weapons-of-petty-sabotage/

  • Sean @ at 3:56 pm, July 27th, 2012

    Its all about the money. When this type of imagery becomes non profitable it will end. Unfortunately advertisers have had many years to hone in on what drives anxiety in the human mind. When people stop paying for this it will end. But that’s likely not to happen.

  • Model Citizen | fbomb @ at 11:01 am, July 29th, 2013

    […] would like to preface this essay by saying that I am a feminist (I have written four other articles for the FBomb), I am sixteen, and I have been model with Ford Models for two years. My opinions are […]

  • Starr @ at 11:08 am, April 23rd, 2014

    Hi there. I’m really interested in the issues of body image and fat phobia and how to reduce my own self-hatred over my own body. I’ve seen the documentary Miss Representation, but does anyone know of any other documentaries about body image/fat phobia, etc? Thanks!

  • The Oracle – Archer Senior Writes for Feminist Blog @ at 12:33 pm, October 10th, 2014

    […] has written numerous articles, on topics like prostitution, positive body image, being a feminist fashion model, and Archer’s self defense […]

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