October 25, 2009

Effortless Perfection

    Once upon a time, at my very prestigious undergraduate university, the term "effortless perfection" was used to describe the pressures women at the university felt.  In essence "effortless perfection" means having the best grades, the best boyfriend, belonging to the best clubs, being involved in extracurricular activities AND having an amazing body all while not breaking a sweat.  
    It's been a while since I thought of this term, but reading this article about Filippa Hamilton made me think about it once more.  In case you didn't know or don't feel like clicking on the link above, Hamilton is the model that was photoshopped in a Ralph Lauren ad that was recently mistakenly released.  The ad depicts a tall beautiful woman whose waist is smaller than her head.  Clearly, the model was photoshopped.  Unfortunately, the apologies that ensued from Ralph Lauren the label and Ralph Lauren the man are not the end of this Public Relations debacle.  It turns out that Hamilton has been fired for being overweight.  She is 5'10 and weighs 120 lbs.  That's a BMI of 17.2 which signals her as underweight on the BMI scale.  "Normal" is between 18.5 and 24.9.  Hamilton would have to gain 9 lbs and weigh 129 lbs in order to reach the minimum for normal on a BMI scale.
  In comparison, I have a BMI of 29.6, right on the cusp of being obese and most definitely in the overweight section of the BMI scale.  Luckily for me, I don't need to be below a BMI of 17.2 to keep my job (yay!).  But seriously, what does it say for our society when a beautiful young woman who is most definitely underweight is seen as too big to model?  Unfortunately, its not surprising.  It makes me angry on a basic level.  Its incredibly unhealthy to hold young women to these ridiculous standards.  But we do.  Or at least we used to.  
    Thinking about it, all of the fashion blogs I read are full of beautiful courageous women who are willing to show the world how they look day in and day out.  However, none of them would probably make the cover of Elle or Vogue or star in a Ralph Lauren ad and most importantly I LIKE THIS.  I began blogging because I was inspired by the many beautiful women online that share their style perspectives and imperfections online.  I know I'm not perfect and I sure as hell don't make it look effortless.  I guess the conversation that took place at my Undergrad University did really affect me.  It made me aware of this crazy image and the dangers associated with attempting to be this effortlessly perfect woman.  
    Most of the time I like the way I look, but more importantly, I like the person that I am.  And I'm going to work hard to keep it this way, whether that means losing 20 lbs or figuring out which shade of lipstick works best for me.  This is who I am, and I won't let a fashion ad, a designer label, a law school, a law firm, a man or a woman for that matter let me believe that I should change that.              

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