Personal statement: I picked this topic because#] believe our body image is very important, and when others judge/criticise it, and don’t think before they speak, it is very offensive and unnecessary behaviour.
I want the arts industry to keep the mindset that all bodies/people are beautiful regardless. I want a more accepting audience from the world starting with how people are portrayed in the media.
Body image is a very personal matter, however in the industry of performing arts body image is one of the most spoken about topics. Both male and female performers are some of the most looked up to people in many ways and image is one of the aspects most admired by us, the public. I cannot imagine the pressure the men and women on posters are under to reach the unrealistic expectation of what ‘perfect’ is.
The social politics of “fitting in” and finding people like you is to many people very stressful especially if you don’t fit the social norms of today. It can be hard to be accepted by others and mostly yourself if you feel like an outcast from the rest of society.
Media platforms and many tv shows show what our society perceives as the perfect life. Which is often misunderstood by many young people today.
Currently around 1.6 million people are either suffering from an eating disorder, or have some insecurity towards their reflection and the statistics are only going to rise if we do not alter the way we think of ‘perfection’.
Women have been given many mixed signals of what the ‘perfect’ woman looks like. Magazines and music videos are a prime example of how the arts industry aren’t helping this either, one moment you could be looking at a recipe for the most glorious double chocolate cake, the next you’re looking at an actress or reality tv star alongside a ‘how to be like her’ type article, or you're watching young women in revealing clothing, dancing provocatively for the enjoyment of men. It seems that we are being told to be a size zero and our glass figure is what we are supposed to look like and this is the only way men can even think about looking in our direction, but that we need to make it look effortless and continue to indulge in sweet treats. It's very confusing!
It’s not just women getting scrutinised for their appearance though, men also suffer immense pressure to have the body of models with muscles bulging out left right and centre. ‘Real men have muscles’ is just the same as saying ‘real woman has curves.’ Masculinity should not be judged by how big the biceps are, really it should not be judged at all. No man should feel like they have to prove their masculinity to anyone.
The industry is like a bad influence on the mindset of everyone. Encouraging narcissism and many mental health issues as if those things are ‘normal’.
What we need to remember is that magazines, posters, social media posts, tv shows, music video and such are all photoshopped and airbrushed to minimise any blemish or imperfection. The only way we are going to be able to change how people think about body image and how they perceive themselves is to stop comparing ourselves to these airbrushed magazines and realise that we are all beautiful for being just as we are. In this industry we need to stop looking at size and instead just see the talent right in front of us.
The good things about this industry comes from people like:
Lizzo, she notoriously is affected by people criticising her body. She told an interviewer her anxiety before a concert fuels it, she uses what scares her as a weapon to perform better. She doesn’t tolerate any comments about her body and continues to fight stereotypes, she features in many magazines such as vogue, and has no shame in being who she is.
Yungblud, his stand on stereotypes labels and ‘boxes’ are very apparent. He inspires so many young people too be themselves. As he himself is gender fluid and wears both stereotypical male and female apparel. He wants everyone to wear and be whoever they choose.
The industry isn't all shaming and criticising others it also empowers and contributes to people such as Lizzo, Emma Watson and Yunglud who are fighting against labels, body image and the need to fight at all.
“I’m not beautiful like you. I’m beautiful like me” – Marilyn Monroe.
For our industry to be representative for everyone and everything that’s all we want.