As I was studying for a presentation on gender in the Renaissance, I found out more about men and women’s functions in that particular society in Europe. A line in my presentation actually read “women in Renaissance society were more valued for their physical features” and although I practised my presentation a thousand times, it just hit me that this is still happening.
My boyfriend said to me yesterday, that Michelle Obama looked really stunning at the inauguration. “Really,” I said, “And did she say anything good?” He didn’t know. And it hit him too.
This has never been an issue in my modelling career as I would always want to look pretty, although then I would always only feel like myself again when I removed my make-up, but it has never occurred to me in a million years that I am actually helping to promote this image.
It’s a clash in my brain. I’ve always wanted to study gender studies and figure out what’s behind ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ media images and now I’m promoting the idea that women need to be beautiful – and nothing else. I’m not saying nobody’s forcing men to look a certain way – because we are. Men don’t all look photoshopped like Ryan Gosling inCrazy, Stupid, Love and neither do all women look like Victoria’s Secret models. But would more than half of them wish they would? I think the answer is yes.
Yesterday I saw Cameron Russell’s brave interview for TEDtalks, and I loved it so much, I urge everyone to see it as she is completely right and I probably could not say it any better.
We might think that through feminist waves we’ve earned a place in society that is equal to men, and we might have, but the female image that is portrayed by the media is not nearly there yet. Try finding a cleaning commercial that does not involve a woman, or a commercial that doesn’t promote a woman in a domestic nor sexy environment. This body ideal, it started somewhere for men and women, and it is changing gradually, but somehow always seems to be something that is hard to achieve.
I wish for the day that body ideal equals natural body shape.