It is easy to get caught up in the fashion industry. Whether it is following seasonal trends, keeping up with the new releases of Paris fashion week, or following your favorite bloggers through social media, you can get lost in the glitz of it all. But, have you ever sat there to think about how it may affect your mental health? Have you ever compared yourself to models and think “I’ll never be skinny enough” or “I’ll never be enough”? Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished you could change something about yourself based on what social media deems beautiful? Here is how the fashion industry may take a toll on your mental health, and the steps you can take in keeping yourself healthy.
Standards of beauty normalized in the fashion industry
The beauty standards throughout the fashion industry have come a long way. It continues to highlight images that may not be obtainable to everyone. Although brands may showcase women of all colors, shapes and sizes now, that wasn’t always the case. Up until the last few years, the fashion industry was extremely exclusive with who they chose to work with. For example, the worldwide mega-brand Victoria’s Secret required their models to be at least 5’6, with a figure consisting of 34 in. bust, 24 in. waist and 34 in. hip measurement. Now, as you know, not everyone tends to look like that. The message behind the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show is to highlight “every man’s fantasy,” but how does that make every other woman feel who doesn’t obtain those beauty standards? According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa, “At least 30 million people of all ages and genders, suffer from an eating disorder in the United States” alone. Can this be a contributor? Fashion lingerie brands like Savage X Fenty strive in showcasing all body types and truly make every woman not only feel included but equally as beautiful as the next.
The pressure to fit a societal normal can be quite demanding on someone. Not only can this cause eating disorders, but also mental health disorders like depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
It is important in recognizing these standards and being proud of how far the industry has come. But, we can also recognize that there is a change in the industry that needs to be made. Be the change you want to see. Start shopping from brands the make you feel comfortable in YOUR size, not anyone else’s. With all the types of bodies women have now, why shouldn’t they all be represented? Have your own personal beauty standard that makes you feel beautiful.
Also, be mindful of separating the fashion industry standards from your own life. The main thing you should always focus on is your happiness and self-worth. Despite all the trends and societal norms, it is you, and your feelings that you should take into account before anything else. The media only shows the public what they want you to see. You never know what someone else may be going through behind closed doors. Be mindful of others. Be considerate of yourself and others. And, try your best to look forward to your future by creating goals and aspirations that YOU are able to achieve.
Featured picture by Armen Aydinyan.