I’ve written extensively about body shaming. However, it seems the world is still lagging behind in understanding just what body shaming is.
Lane Bryant, a plus-size lingerie retailer, recently launched the “I’m No Angel” campaign. The campaign includes pictures of gorgeous plus-sized models. Even though the campaign aimed to celebrate realistic body types, it also shames Victoria’s Secret models.
The women in the campaign are all plus-sized, which doesn’t represent all women. Not all women are plus-sized, just as not all women look like Victoria’s Secret Angels. Even though Victoria’s Secret doesn’t represent the average woman well either, it’s not fair to shame the models who work hard to maintain their healthy lifestyles and famous bodies. Although Victoria’s Secrets ads aren’t representative of their customers, if you’ve ever had your bust measured at Victoria’s Secret, you’d know their bras and products are friendly to many shapes and sizes. Ironically, Lane Bryant’s products are more geared towards plus-sized women, yet they have the nerve to shame Victoria’s Secret.
I follow several of the Angels on Instagram because, quite frankly, I’m obsessed. Many of them post photos of their healthy meals they’ve put together or photos from their exercise routine. Some even post goofy pictures of them and their BFFs, such as Karlie Kloss and her bestie Taylor Swift. They’re real people, and even though their body types may be hard to obtain, their bodies are real, too.
There have been many campaigns, such as Dove’s Real Beauty, which still seem to leave out several body types. The women in their campaign are mostly average to plus-sized. Being a girl with a fast metabolism, I was often teased for how skinny I was. Even now that I’m older and have gained some curves, I still don’t feel that my body type is represented in any of these campaigns.
Many times, women feel the need to tear other women down so that they can feel better about their own appearances. I reject this idea . I believe the best way to feel confident is not to compare yourself to others, but to love your own body and appreciate what it does for you. Blogger Maria Kang has started a website which supports fit moms. She shared a photo of herself in workout gear, her fabulous abs showing, with her three kids and the title, “what’s your excuse?” One mother posted a picture similar to Kang’s photo with her three kids, in a sports bra with the title, “My ‘excuse’ is that I’m okay with this.”
It seems to be the trend that women shame each other. Although Kang’s photo could be misinterpreted as body-shaming, taking a look at her website, you can tell she promotes a healthy lifestyle for mothers who may not typically have time to hit the gym regularly. Kang’s nonprofit, Fitness Without Borders, promotes healthy lifestyles in underprivileged neighborhoods. She not only encourages mothers to be healthy, but she also fights against childhood obesity. Fitness Without Borders has several “no excuse” support groups throughout the country which consist of several different categories including “No Excuse Mom,” “No Excuse Dad,” and “No Excuse Kid.” The overall mission of Fitness Without borders is to promote healthy eating and a love of real, healthy food in American families.
Overall, Kang’s mission isn’t to shame anyone. She supports mothers and families in their journey to live a healthier lifestyle. On her website, there’s also a clear presence of diverse body types.
Whether you have ripped abs, a flat tummy or a little more junk in the trunk, there’s no reason not to love yourself. I consider myself very fortunate to have female role models of many different body types who are the epitome of confidence and grace.
Ideally, I’d like for women of all skin colors and body types to be represented in advertisements. I want to see women with badass scars,tattoos, and piercings. Many of these campaigns fail to address the truly unique body types that women have, but those women are still very real. You simply can’t put bodies into a black-and-white format, as if there’s a right and wrong way to have a body. So long as you are healthy and care for yourself, there’s no reason you should have to feel ashamed of your body.