Thursday, September 4, 2014

truth in fashion

Yesterday, Modcloth co-founder Susan Koger shared an open letter to the fashion industry, asking for more truth in fashion advertising and pledging to help promote those truths herself. Modcloth asked if I would be interested in writing my own open letter to the fashion powers-that-be, and you better believe I was interested! So here it is --

Dear Fashion,

For most of my post-adolescent life I've struggled with feeling unattractive. Through blogging I've grown more confident in my appearance (in my very first outfit post I had blocked out my face because I thought I was so ugly) but I find I'm still susceptible to advertising witchcraft. I can get dressed in the morning and put on an outfit that makes me feel like a million dollars, and then walk into the mall and instantly feel like a chubby, hideous little freak compared to the beauties in the posters surrounding me.

I'm all for every and any advance that can be made in advertising. No photoshop? Fantastic. Every body shape? Wonderful. But here's what I really want to see -- regular people. I want to see advertisements with girls who don't fall into society's accepted definition of beauty. Some girls with bigger noses, like me! I want to see girls with scars, disfigurements, average features, disabilities, crooked teeth, freckles, pimples, and low cheekbones. Size 0, size 28. Pear shape, square shape. It's all well and good to say that you didn't photoshop your model, but when she still looks like most models do post-editing, it doesn't really help much. I want every girl to look at advertisements and see herself. See that her flaws can be beautiful, and she doesn't have to fit into one standard beauty mode to be considered pretty. Every girl is gorgeous, but hardly any of us believe it about ourselves. Seeing our own unique beauty reflected in the advertisements around us would do wonders for our collective self esteem.

I'd also like to see cellulite. I know, nobody actually wants to see it. But guess what? 90% of us have it. And yet I don't think I've ever seen it in an ad, catalog or online shop. Even though it's been statistically proven that almost all girls have it, I still find myself feeling insecure and gross when bathing suit season comes around. Because all of the images I've seen in my life have tricked my brain into thinking that I'm alone in my dimpled shame.

In the end, that's what fashion has done to a lot of girls -- it's made us feel alone. And it's a crying shame, because fashion is SO fun. When we were little, so many of us loved playing dress up. When we looked in the mirror, we didn't see our imperfections, we saw princesses and fairies staring back at us. The only thing that changed between then and now is exposure to advertisements that made us believe our bodies were bad and our faces were ugly or plain.

Let's finally have some truth in advertising, so we can all look in the mirror and see regal reflections once more.