How 2014 Challenged Beauty Stereotypes: A Recap
It all started when Dove released a shortfilm called Evolution in 2006 to expose the unrealistic expectations of beauty perpetuated in media all around us – they took an everyday woman, did her hair, make up and photoshopped her, showing us that what we see in media is not reality.
2014 was a significant year with companies taking note, the power of social media standing up to companies like Victoria Secret for promoting unhealthy body images and some gorgeous unconventional beauties taking the world by storm.
In Spring 2014, American Eagle launched an ad campaign featuring unairbrushed models in their latest lingerie line with the attempt to challenge supermodel standards and promote more realistic body images for their target market – teens.
Unfortunately, Victoria Secret didn’t take note and released a campaign with the tag line, The Perfect Body, displaying a row of Victoria Secret models in their latest bra and underwear line. Watching the Victoria Secret fashion show is painful enough, do you really need to tell me that what you see below is the perfect body? I mean, I’m a size 2 and these women below make me feel like a cow!
Thanks to the power of social media, there was a huge outcry from positive-body campaigners saying that it sends out a damaging message by positioning the words ‘The Perfect Body’ across models who have exactly the same, very slim body type. Frances Black, a 22-year-old student launched a Change.org petition garnering over 30,000 signatures. This then prompted the company to apologize and change the slogan.
Progress…I suppose, but if you’re really trying to promote your bra and say it fits all kinds of bodies, shouldn’t you show more variety in body types? Some shorter, some curvier, some with more athletic builds? Hey Victoria Secret…take some notes from American Eagle, thanks!
The outrage also sparked an #IamPerfect campaign on Twitter, with women posting pictures of themselves posing next to the VS ad with their own signs. The hashtag also serves a way to tag all positive body image messages – be it a photo, tweet or article.
Toronto native, Chantelle Brown-Young was hand picked by Tyra Banks to compete in the 21st cycle of America’s Next Top Model. She was diagnosed with vitiligo at age 4, a disease that results in depigmented, or white, patches of skin in any location on the body. Despite being bullied all throughout her teenage years, she took this condition in stride and made it work for her. She shows the world that there is more than stereotypical beauty, especially in modelling where they’re looking for the next fresh face.
Although she has yet to be signed by a modelling agency, she has landed a major ad campaign with the Spanish label Desigual. Hey Victoria Secret…looking for a new model?
I think my favorite beauty this past year is pop star, Viktoria Modesta. She was born with a dislocated hip and leg, greatly affecting her ability to feel completely comfortable in her skin. After over dozens of ineffective surgeries, she finally convinced her doctors to amputate her leg, which eventually freed her of her complexes and boosted her self-confidence. She made her pop debut in December 2014 on UK’s X Factor finale. Her music video, Prototype has gone viral with over 5 million views to date.
She’s seen wearing sexy prosthetics – some spiked (featured above), some adorned with crystals, some futuristic – all beautiful works of art. This woman is fierce and struts her stuff in a way that would give Beyoncé a run for her money.
Last year proved to be an incredibly redefining year in the beauty-sphere and I’m looking forward to see what 2015 brings.