'It's exhausting to be told what beauty should look like'
The fashion industry spends millions every year on creating ads to entice us to buy their products. However using super thin models who may be anorexic is now being made illegal in France thanks to the French governments new law governing the fashion industry.
Hopefully this practice will now become a phenomena of the past and more European countries will follow suit. .
The French Government has just passed a law banning under weight fashion models. This is to act as a preventative against anorexia in the industry and models now will have to have a certificate from their doctor that the agency holds on file. If anyone is found in breech of this law it is punishable by six months in prison and or up to a 75,000 Euro fine. This also aims to stop extream dieting by the models who act as role models for the younger generation.
The French government has good reason to do so as this practice does not just affect the models but also all of society that is looking on and comparing themselves to these ideals that have also been airbrushed. Mostly vulnerable young people who don't have enough life experience to see through illusion, perhaps deception, of the edited pictures. This leads to lots of low self-esteem of which faulty self-image is a leading characteristic. This is why the French Government has also enforced as part of this law that all images that are photoshopped, now have a statement saying so.
The world is full of illusion (maya) but never so much as in the fashion industry. In Buddhist psychology the first of the five skhandas is form. In the western world we are obsessed with form especially in the fashion industry. Focusing on form gives rise to self-identification which in turn gives rise to suffering. Lets say a person identifies themselves purly through form, like a model, when that model ages, as she surly will, then the body will too. These changes will be unwelcome and cause suffering as she will resist these changes. Therefore a person needs to Discover Their Beautiful Mind of wisdom and compassion.
One thing the press has failed to mention is that this type of anorexia culture and distorted images lead many in society to have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Thousands of people have ended up being very self concious about their looks in an anxious way and have hang ups about non-existant flaws.
Dame Anita Roddick founder of The Body Shop International, my old boss, once put it very well in the 1990's when she ran a campaign against comparing yourself to ideals and a narrow view of what beauty is. At the height of the supermodel spindoctoring she placed posters in the windows of all her stores saying "'There are 3 billion women in the world who don't look like supermodels and only 8 that do.'
This comparing yourself to unrealistic people creates a lot of confusion for people which ultimately contributes to the Lifetrap of DEFECTIVENESS. If you don't have self-esteem you will have defectiveness. Let's face it there is more to a person than just their looks. In Schema Therapy this LifeTrap is sometimes called the Unloveability Lifetrap. A person feels that they are somehow flawed usually without evidence.
One of the major champions of this latest challenge to the fashion induistry is international model and actress Cara Delevingne who is also a friend of Justin Bieber. She said recently on Instagram “I am tired of society defining beauty for us. Strip away the clothes, Wipe Off the make up, cut off the hair. Remove all the material possessions. Who are we? How are we defining beauty? What do we see as beautiful?”
Since 2004 DOVE have been running a self esteem project that aims like ourselves to increase peoples levels of self esteem and be more body positive. which interviewed 10,500 females across 13 countries, found that women's confidence in their bodies is on a steady decline, with low body esteem becoming a unifying challenge shared by women and girls around the world - regardless of age or geography.
Despite this, there is still a strong desire among females to challenge existing beauty norms, with 71% of women and 67% of girls calling for the media to do a better job portraying women of diverse physical appearance, age, race, shape and size.
The report is the third and most comprehensive study Dove has undertaken on the topic, building on two previous studies published in 2004 and 2010. It reveals the impact low body esteem has on a woman's ability to realise her potential, with nearly all women (85%) and girls (79%) saying they opt out of important life activities - such as trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones - when they don't feel good about the way they look.
Additionally, 7 in 10 girls with low body-esteem say they won't be assertive in their opinion or stick to their decision if they aren't happy with the way they look, while 9 out of 10 (87%) women will stop themselves from eating or will otherwise put their health at risk.
Here are some key findings from DOVE's The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited which they published recently
New international French pop sensation Héloïse Letissier from Christine and the Queens was very annoyed with the photoshopping that took place when she did a shoot for ELLE magazine. Most people would be bribing for the graphic designers for enhancement such as this but not chanteuse Héloïse. She said it felt violent to have her imperfections erased, “For me, feminism and humanism are all about ways of owning your body and finding a way to exist without being oppressed."
Men are actually affected by this in other terrible ways. More than 40% of boys in middle school and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass. 38% of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly 6% admitted to experimenting with steroids. More than four in five men (80.7%) talk in ways that promote anxiety about their body image by referring to perceived flaws and imperfections, compared with 75% of women. Similarly, 38% of men would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body – again, a higher proportion than women.
The only way to guard against this DEFECTIVENESS is to study and practice Self-Esteem as a subject. Self-esteem is the greatest psychological resilence we could ever give the younger generations.
We run Mindful Beauty Self Esteem & Self Compassion Masterclass Days to deal directly with this. These one day events are hugely popular with rave reviews from participants and continuously being booked. If your company would like us to stage this training just get in touch.
Bestselling author Ralph Quinlan Forde BSc (Hons) is the writer and editor of the Mindful Beauty blog. His first book The Book of Tibetan Medicine went into 11 languages. His second Nutriwine has