It can be easy to forget that at some point in the last century nearly every body type has been deemed society’s ‘ideal’ body with men and women all over the world working towards achieving such a standard, many of which having taken dangerous steps with severe consequences. There have been various events over the last few years that hint towards another shift, one that may yet identify a new ‘ideal’ standard – for women. For instance, recently Paris, one of the most notable fashion capitals in the world, banned models with a BMI of lower than 18 from runways in an attempt to showcase women with a ‘healthier’ body composition, even going so far as to threaten jail time to agents who are caught breaking the rules.
Unfortunately, most progress appears to neglect the struggle men go through with respect to their bodies. It had appeared to be a big leap forward for women’s beauty standards when ‘plus-size’ model Ashley Graham appeared in Sports Illustrated magazine; however, many failed to identify the irony of this woman being surrounded by incredibly fit young men. As we take two steps forward in challenging society’s beauty standards, we appear to take another step back.
Even with the right diet and proper fitness program we may never achieve such standards as we mustn’t forget that our genetics play a large part in our ability to lose weight and gain muscle; in addition, many of the standards portrayed are misrepresentations of an actual person – consider special lighting, professional makeup, Photo Shop, etc. The biggest challenge we face is in our own confidence in our bodies. Remember, at some point in time your body type was very likely considered the ‘ideal’ body type. Every body is beautiful.