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  • Prabhleen Kaur

It's the Breaking Conventional Beauty Standards for Me


As we begin to see more plump bellies, stretch marks and unshaved arms and legs on our feeds, it’s time we finally acknowledge how much the beauty conversation has progressed over the past years, and the massive impact it has on individuals all around the world.


For generations, beauty has been equated to a woman with a slim waist and pale skin. She has slender facial features - high cheekbones, an angular, petite nose and a sharp jawline - blueish green eyes, crystal clear skin and thick, long hair, society told us that her youthfulness, symmetry and glow outshone ours. Ingrained into the brains of youngsters from the earliest of days considered those of us who parted from this standard “exotic”, and the farther we diverged, the more we were considered unattractive, undesirable or invaluable.


For years, platforms such as the Victoria’s Secret Angels have taught us that tall, skinny, and long leggedness are characteristics that correspond to beauty. But then there was Ashey Graham who was the first plus size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in 2016, becoming the first plus-size model to walk in the Michael Kors fashion show the following year, and then in 2019, Halima Aden became the first model in history to wear a hijab and burkini in the same magazine. Winnie Harlow broke numerous standards as an American model with vitiligo, and became an icon in the fashion industry. Shaun Ross walked with his head held high, and distinguished himself as the first international male model with albinism.


Left and right, we're all bringing our distinctiveness to the table, and rather than pushing us apart, our differences and the traits that make us unique bring us together more than ever. It feels like welcoming relief to know that we’re finally breaking past this bizarre and dangerous “one size fits all” concept that has been adapted over the past generations. It’s time to celebrate our individuality, and how we as a society are able to see men and women of all sizes, ethnicities, religions, and complexions defying the odds by breaking past conventional beauty standards and making an enriching cultural experience for us all.


#Redefinepretty - EM FORD

“I use my social media platform MyPaleSkin to help empower and give those with acne a safe space and community to live their lives without the fear of being judged for their appearance. I love encouraging people to have a greater love for themselves, from their skin to every inch of their body.”

Beauty blogger Em Ford developed adult acne in 2015 and after battling with it in a society that has constantly told us blemishes on our face make us anything but beautiful, she decided enough was enough. 4 years ago, she made a Youtube video called You Look Disgusting”, in which she highlights the completely unrealistic standards that have been established by social media, which sets a very real stigma around acne. In the video, Ford is crying as she takes off her makeup to reveal her skin that is marked with acne, while hurtful comments made by the public are floating around the screen. However after putting on a full face of makeup and covering up her acne, the comments become positive, deeming her “beautiful” and “perfect”. “Redefine Pretty” is her newest video, in which she once again spreads the message that beauty is divergent. Following her video, she created a powerful campaign #redefinepretty, in which you can see thousands of other people embracing their natural skin. It combats social stigmas surrounding visible skin conditions such as acne, scarring and birthmarks. She says "Redefine Pretty" is about real women, real stories and shining a light on the harsh reality, and psychological effects beauty standards place on women.

I want to empower all women with the confidence to live their lives without the feeling of being judged for their appearance. Beyond that, it leaves one question – what effect would changing these negative standards of ‘beauty’ have on young women?

On her Instagram, Em can be seen both with and without makeup as she shows us the best of both worlds, emphasizing that she wholeheartedly believes that acne is nothing we need to hide, and that she feels equally as confident and true to herself with and without makeup on.


AARON PHILIP

Aaron Philip is the first black, transgender and disabled person to be signed to a major agency (Elite Model Management), and has reached numerous milestones since then, all while challenging previous stereotypes of what a model in the spotlight looks like. She’s modelled for ASOS and Paper Magazine, has appeared in campaigns for Outdoor Voices, Dove, and Sephora. She’s been interviewed by Naomi Campbell for a Paper cover story, and made her runway debut in 2019 at Willie Norris’ fashion show. In an Instagram post following the show, she wrote "I hope that my first show goes to show that runways and fashion collections with people like me in it can be possible, and there should be more things and opportunities like this everywhere within the fashion industry/world."

The fashion industry has only known one type of body, and one type of marketable figure for so long, Philip told CNN. Now we're entering this time, and this climate, where all types of bodies want to be pushed forward and celebrated -- not only celebrated, but be seen as desirable and marketable.

Oh yeah, and just last summer, she graduated highschool.


2019 SAVAGE x FENTY

Rihanna’s highly anticipated 2019 Savage x Fenty show was a celebration of women's bodies and sexualities, straying away from the traditional cookie cutter lineup of what we usually see on the runway, which isn’t always the most inclusive. This show consisted of women of all sizes, races, ethnicities, complexions, orientations, including both able bodied and disabled women. To viewers all around, this wasn’t just a fashion show, but rather a commemoration of women power and acceptance, body positivity and inclusivity. It presented the audience with a sense of empowerment, as they watched real bodies of women being represented on stage, transforming into attitudes that every single woman watching the show should embody; confidence, inclusiveness, and power .

“It’s a celebration of womanhood,” Rihanna said after the show. “I think it’s a shame women have to feel insecure or self-conscious about how their bodies look. They’ve been taught by society that only one thing works.”
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