Get Inspired: "Extra" Beauty

I don’t know about any of you, but I hate when people try to define beauty. Beauty is different for us all. In society there seems to be the view that you have to look a certain way to be beautiful. And if you aren’t that then you can only be “cute”, “pretty”, “average” – but never be labeled as beautiful.

I read an article today on Yahoo about a contest inviting European beauties to a modeling contest in Germany – only difference is all of the models are disabled. These young women are trying to show that beauty and disability don’t have to be separate categories and they too are beautiful.

The standard of what is seen as beautiful can be hard to measure up to. In America the idea of a model has always been the very tall, skinny flawless type. Other the years the modeling field has gotten a bit more diverse with girls from different ethnicities walking the runway, but there still is discrimination when it comes to modeling.

Even in plus size modeling there are certain requirements women are expected to have. Just like mainstream models they must be a certain height. Plus size models should be between 5’8 and 6’0 (some agencies have exceptions for being 5’7), according to the Tyra Banks website.

I used to think that plus size modeling meant any woman who was not skinny, but in most cases it simply means you are above “average”. Women that are larger sizes like 20, 22 are rarely used in plus size modeling. The sizes used are 12, 14, 16, and sometimes 18/20(but not common). Plus size models may be plus sized, but guess what? They are still expected to be toned, and have a certain hip, bust, and waist ratio.

While I am glad that there are more women being represented who may not be a size 0 or a 2, it still upsets me that even in plus size modeling there are strict requirements. Yes, it just might be they think society prefers seeing smaller women, and yes it is healthier to not be overweight, but some people are just more prone to being a certain size.

My opinion is if you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful and that is it. Yes, you should be presentable in any type of modeling and prepared for their standards; however I think modeling still limits people. Even with height requirements, it limits. Modeling agencies assume that it is visually more appealing to see taller women on the runway.

But that’s hard considering the average height for a woman is 5’4 or literally 5' 3.7. I completely understand requirements, but I’m not a fan of the modeling industry in general. The women especially in mainstream modeling tends to be unrealistically skinny, which is fine, were people not given the idea this is some kind of standard for beauty. I do not understand how something can be a standard for beauty when most people don’t fit that standard.

I love Tyra Banks, and both of her shows, but I get more and more disappointed every season. Yes, they decided not to have any plus size models this season on America's Next Top Model, but in the past they have. Every time there was a plus size model she never won because at first the judges claimed they wanted to be accepting, but at the end would then find the girl’s weight a problem.

My opinion was if you didn’t want to pick a plus size model ever, don’t put her on the show and exploit her as being the “bigger” girl. One plus size model who was on the show and has gotten many endorsements was one of my favorites, Tocarra (pictured left). That is the way the modeling world is, but many little girls watch that show, and basically they were seeing women who looked normal weight just their moms or older sisters, but they were labeled as plus sized. I never knew that someone who was like 139 pounds would be considered plus size!

Whether you are a skinny, plus size, or somewhere in between if you feel you are beautiful you are. As women we need to stop being so judgmental, find confidence in ourselves and not put one another down. I don’t have a problem with what people find beautiful. But I have a big problem with people trying to standardize what is NOT beautiful.

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