Wow! What an incredible, exhilarating, eye-opening, jaw-dropping, crazy, spectacular week it has been. Nobody could have imagined that when I shared a photo-shop vs. non-photo-shop image to my instagram page last week that the story would be picked up by so many different newspapers and magazines from around the world. I am so humbled by the overwhelming amount of support I have received. Thank you to everyone out there who has reached out to me and offered support or told me his or her story. But most of all I want to say thank you to my Dad, who is an unbelievable, inspiring man who taught me to love the skin I am in.
Image credit: Pip Summerville
It's not everyday that a 23-year-old fashion student from Melbourne, Australia is given such a powerful platform to share her thoughts with millions of people from around the world. And what an important issue to discuss!
When I first saw that the swimwear company had taken mine and Pip's photo without any permission and drastically altered it, I was a little shocked. The shoot was a collaboration, meaning there was no payment or contract involved. The photo was therefore the property of Pip (photographer) and me. I wasn't offended or upset that they didn't like my body in particular, rather I was upset for all the women out there that society has been telling are not good enough if they are not extremely thin.
This led me to the question of "how did we get here?" It wasn't so long ago that Marilyn Monroe was celebrated for her beautiful curvy body. Fast forward in time and we are here, where beauty is equated to being thin. How have we as a society deemed it socially acceptable to drastically alter a woman's (or man's) figure in order to sell a product? This to me just doesn't seem okay. As a fashion student, I fully understand the benefits of Adobe Photoshop; it allows you to enhance an image, the colours, the contrast and the mood. However, what is not acceptable is portraying an image of a woman or man as something to aspire to, which is completely unattainable and in fact, does not exist. It's a tough world out there! The media and some members of society unfortunately perpetuate the belief that "thinner is better". But that's just not true! Luckily, things are definitely shifting away from the stereotypical woman/man that society deems as "beautiful". It is absolutely incredible to see how many like-minded people are out there ready to fight for what they believe in.
If there were one message that I would love my readers to take away from all this, would be to understand that not everything you see is real. As my Dad said on the Today Show, one day it would be terrific if photos in magazines had an asterisk at the bottom saying, "this photo has been altered". But until then, remember that we all come in different shapes and sizes, and no matter what, we are all beautiful in our own unique and individual way. That's what makes the human population so spectacular. There is no one quite alike.
In this body shape obsessed society, we have forgotten how much more there is to being human. A change is definitely coming, and I am honoured to be a part of the revolution.