Editorial: Clothing retailers need to represent body diversity

Even though we’re living in an era of contemporary feminism and body diversity, the fashion industry is unrelenting in spreading negative body image in the media.

Stores like Brandy Melville that advertise “one size fits most” are spreading the message that anybody who is too small or too big to fit their sizes are unattractive. These kinds of messages are especially toxic to women and girls who may base most of their self-image on the representation of themselves and their body type that is shown in fashion and the media.

When someone’s body type is under represented or misrepresented, this often makes women feel less valuable than others who fit the fashion industry standard. If we are going to live up to the millennial reputation as the second “Greatest Generation,” we need to start by fighting body inequality which is still rampant in media and fashion.

To start, retailers need to carry a larger variety of sizes in their stores, and stop advertising an unachievable, unrealistic body type.

Even in Ottawa, neither of the city’s two main modelling agencies feature plus-sized models on their website, and some ex-models of these agencies say that they experienced pressures from their peers and managers to maintain a slim, industry-standard size.

To stop the fashion industry and the media from perpetuating these negative body image messages, models and celebrities need to speak out and break the silence.