Sunday, July 2, 2017

Girls Just Wanna Have Sun - How Society and the Internet Builds Confidence This Summer

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   Pools, popsicles and sunglasses are keeping us cool this summer, not to mention the different trends in confidence-boosting swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes. Stores such as Forever21 and H&M have added plus-size models of different races and realistic sizes in their online swimwear sections. This encourages young women to feel positive about their bodies during the summer months, where clothes typically show more skin. Today's average American woman stands taller and weighs more than previous decades, typically at around a size 14. Compared to models of a thinner body type who wear sizes 0-2, women with curvier body types such as Ashley Graham, are considered plus-size. In 2016, Graham modeled for Lane Bryant's new line of lingerie for full-figured women, including bras of a larger, more comfortable size than similar brands.

   "People like Kim Kardashian have a shape that we haven't seen represented so much before. The reality is that the average American woman is a size 14, and the fact that we haven't been representing her or talking about her is a huge smack in the face," Graham stated in an interview with The Daily Beast. Advertisements depicting women who are "beach body ready" often show figures so thin that Photoshop is the only possible way to achieve them. This is shown below, in an infamous ad from Protein World, a British weight loss supplement.


   Similar images have been present for centuries in various forms, beginning in the 16th century. Corsets constructed with curved whale bones achieved a voluptuous, hourglass figure that was popular in France, the fashion capital of the era. In the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, Elizabeth Swann (played by Keira Knightley) faints from the corset that restricts her breathing, plummeting towards the water below. This silhouette is still desired, as it is thought to be a symbol of strength, confidence and beauty. However, fashion companies are becoming increasingly sensitive to their customers, who reflect healthier body types that are more common in society than the models portrayed.

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