Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Will we ever see "real size" models?

TrésSugar has a small news feature about the possibilities of real size models making their way to the runways and magazines. A study was done that shows that women buy more readily when they relate to the model in the advertisement.

But when exceptionally thin and young women who all resemble each other model clothes, it's almost impossible for an average-sized woman to tell how the look will translate in her closet.
A year ago, and in fact over the past decade, the fashion world has been criticized for its promotion of unhealthy models. The couture houses can claim that they have standards for BMI but there's a clear message on today's runway: Thin Wins.

Then when you think about the inundation of product marketing we are faced with, like snacks and meals and even coffee drinks that supply over a day's worth of calories in one serving, it seems impossible to live in America and meet the fashion world's expectations of beauty.

At my best, 400-800 calories per day and 5 days a week pilates/cardio/kickboxing schedule from two summers ago, I got as low as 120 pounds and never was able to get below it. I had finally reached the medical community's definition of "healthy weight" and BMI. I had more compliments on my photos than ever and my super suits actually fit the way they were supposed to. Now I'm back at a zaftig 137 and struggling every time I hear an art instructor say something about not being able to see this or that muscle/bone on me; mind you they don't mean to say it abrasively but what a preoccupied mind hears is, "You're too fat to be our model."

There are countless websites dedicated to the look of Thin Beauty and skeletal models/celebrities. Granted in today's already over-photoshopped world of imagery, anyone could be fooled, but for the most part, the photos are right from the real world. We just celebrated New York's Fashion Week and now it's London's turn. Talk Show host Alexa Chung has legs thinner than pre-pubescent girls.

Can we believe Gweneth Paltrow when she claims to have just downed a cheeseburger before donning her glittery Oscar gown? Um, no. I sure don't unless it also involved her chasing it down with a bottle of laxatives or "making up for it" with a four-hour cardio workout the next day. Most celebs do have to work at it and they have the schedules, nannies, trainers and paychecks to help them get there. It's their job to be "beautiful" after all.

From a more real world perspective, I face this every day. I'm very happy for my friends in costuming that have managed to achieve what I have not in their physical fitness goals. Some have launched into competitive body building even; but most just enjoy the results as seen in thousands of cameras at any comic book convention. Yes, I'm happy for them but I'm also crazy jealous because even back then in 2009, I jiggled and rolled when not sucked into spanx.

2010 NYCC
At some point frustration wins. Five days a week and starving plus the addition of very expensive pills, was still not enough for me to look like "everyone else." I've done the shakes, the pills, the cleanses and the colonics. Underneath the skin may have achieved medical health goals but the package was still never going to fit into the mold of proper costuming or modeling. Because of this, I've been debating about giving up the "superhero" side to my costuming in order to migrate into attire where body flaws can be hidden (like steampunk, pin-up, etc.) but I can't seem to let go just yet. All of the genres simply look better on fit people, like any type of clothing on the market whether custom or off-the-rack.

When it comes to superhero costuming, there's this looming fear of ending up on a Worst Cosplay list. Even if it's a list composed by some pimply-faced virgin that has never talked to a girl, I still don't want to make those lists.


Brenda said...

I've been dieting and exercising every day, seven days a week, for over a year, and still can't get past the 150 mark. 137 is fantastic and I don't doubt you make a terrific looking superhero. I'm curious to see what the other numbers say -- I was a little depressed about not hitting my weight loss goal after a year, but when I did a six month health checkup, in the six months since my last checkup, my cholesterol had been cut in half, my triglycerides had dropped 40 points, and I was no longer in the "at risk" category for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. And I thought "I've just given myself a new lease on life -- Do I really want to spend the extra years thinking I'm still not good enough?"

Aaron said...

I understand where you're coming from, as I am currently in my own battle with 50 pounds that have crept up on my form over the last eight years, also in my own quest to get into spandex.

Even when I lose the weight, I have to face the facts that I'm never going to have the kind of body that Danny Kelly or any of the other really buff guys in the SCF have.

I will say that I've seen some of your nude modeling, and I think you're a beautiful woman - far more so than the painfully thin sticks that many models are.

So, I understand where you're coming from, and I share your fears, but I also think you should keep it up with the superhero costuming, because I know that I am far from alone in thinking you rock those outfits.

Amber Love said...

Thanks, guys.
@Brenda - I don't remember my numbers because I haven't seen a doctor since my divorce and lack of insurance but yes, my cholesterol and bp had been improved way back then in 2009.