All Sizes OK
Teenagers today are exposed to a prolific and stereotypical proposition of beauty, in terms of body sizes and shapes. Though often said to be aspirational, this premise of beauty, widely disseminated through media, may be distorting the perspectives of young women and men from an extremely impressionable age.
"I would like to see more variety in the sizes of models in the media. Not in a special Plus Size Issue type of way, but just being right there sitting alongside the other models. So much so that eventually it becomes normal and no one bats an eyelid.
There have been a lot of Body Love and Plus Size magazine issues but it’s only promoting the mentality that this is a novelty, not the reality. It’s like if someone repeatedly said to you - ‘don’t freak out, don’t freak out’ - you’re going to freak out. It’s the way they say 'this is OK’, ‘this is beautiful’. It’s like, well obviously it’s not because of the way you’re talking about it and because the very next issue will be back to using skinny models but it’s not like they’ll call it the Skinny Issue, because it's just taken as the norm.
It would have helped me back then, as a teenager, to see every size being OK. I actually used to struggle quite a lot with an eating disorder and it would have helped me a lot back then seeing more variety in the media. Who knows, I might have still been skinny or I might have been a bit bigger but it wouldn't have mattered. And that’s why it’s so important, because as teenagers you’re figuring out your value and what you want to be and who you want to be. And you can easily, especially as a young female, place that all on looks. You can forget that the reason you want to look good is just a means to an end which is to be loved, or feel successful, or be recognised and seen. And as a teenager, I think I got lost in thinking that the end goal itself was about your looks."
Conversation with artist Em Wafer.