Fashion ads not representative of individual worth, beauty

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The fashion world is at it again.

Way back in 2009, the fashion label Ralph Lauren faced criticism when it ran an ad featuring a model who had been Photoshopped to even more freakish proportions than usual, and then allegedly fired said model for being overweight.  

Now, however, the media are applauding the label for hiring a—gasp—plus-size model. Robin Lawley is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and a size 12. Yep, she has to pick the double-digit sized jeans when she goes shopping just like me and just like a lot of girls at Dixie State College. 

Except, Lawley is also gorgeous. If I saw this chick walking around campus, I’d want to hide underneath a rock and give up on any pursuit of any man ever. So, forgive me when I say I’m not doing a high kick for Ralph Lauren, or any fashion brand, for hiring a plus-size model who still makes the average girl feel a little inferior.

Don’t get me wrong: I understand the people running the fashion labels want pretty people wearing their clothes in all the shiny ads. That’s how advertising works. I see a gorgeous model wearing a pair of jeans and, for some reason, I’m convinced I’ll look just as gorgeous in those jeans. I’m not going to jump on the fashion world-bashing bandwagon for hiring gorgeous people to hawk its merchandise.

Because, in all honesty, if the fashion world replaced all the skinny models with Lawley-like models, it would only be replacing one idea of beauty with another. Women would still feel the same pressure to meet a certain standard, and women would still have low self-confidence when they inevitably couldn’t.

All the clamoring and clanging for the fashion and advertising industry to show real women is admirable but ultimately useless. Those models are real women. They’re retouched beyond belief, but they’re still one version of what women look like. Place any other version on the pedestal created by media and fashion, and we would protest against that version.

So, rather than focusing on criticizing the fashion world for whatever vision of beauty it’s currently perpetuating, I’ve decided to not care. I’m trying to slowly shed myself of any value I’ve ever placed on looking like the women in Cosmopolitan and Vogue. Because I’m never going to look like them, just like I’m never going to look like the size-2 girls running around in short shorts or the size-14 girls rocking the wrap dress. I can only look like myself, and I’ve decided that’s the only person I’m worried about looking like.  

And believe me when I say this is easier said than done. It requires changing a mindset I’ve had since childhood of believing that, in order to be attractive, I need to look as perfect as the girls in the magazine. But, I’m calling for everyone at Dixie State College to stop worrying about looking like Lawley or Kate Moss or any other ridiculously attractive person wandering around in the world.

Instead, hone in on whatever it is that makes you a ridiculously attractive person in your own right, whether it be your freckles, your smarts, your comedic timing or your undefeatable record in “Guitar Hero.”