April 26, 2019

Dear Monique Pillard. CEO of Elite Model Management, and Ivan Bart. CEO of IMG Models,

Did you know that society has set beauty standards that are harmful to youth? YOU have created the beauty and body expectations that so many people seem to obsess over.

Everyday, more and more people, specifically teenagers suffer because their bodies don’t seem to match the ones that are exalted. Here is how it goes, if you are skinny and tall, great, now show that body off. If you are fat and short there is stigma placed on you so you should hide yourself because nobody wants to see your disgusting body. Don’t you want to help teenagers feel confident and change their pessimistic mindset? Well you actually have the power to create change.

We are writing to you because you can change the set beauty standards and stop excluding different body types. By including different bodies, youth won’t feel like their bodies are not accepted. You are our target because you have caused many people to feel worthless when they can’t achieve your beauty expectations. Even your own models end up getting hurt because of all the pressure they are put through. Model Madeline Hill shares her experience in one agency. Hill explains, “Well, when I worked in Japan, my agency suggested that I eat rice balls and walk around the block to lose two inches from my hips. In fact, all of the agencies I was signed with constantly pressured me to lose weight, in subtle ways. I felt like there was always a set of eyes watching what I ate and how much I worked out” (Hill). Nobody should feel judged and pressured to lose weight just because they aren’t “skinny”. It’s these ideas that you have put into people’s minds that are still being followed and hurting individuals. This is why you need to promote a more diverse range of models that people can relate to. People’s overall confidence can increase when they are being celebrated. To conclude, body image expectations need to decrease or disappear in general because no one is benefiting from them. The people in power who can help change the ideal body standards are modeling corporations. They can work with models who have different body shapes, or who are people of color and who have not gotten attention in the modeling industry. By changing body image expectations the stigma on different body types will decrease. Not only that, but it will also end the ideology of the perfect body and will expose the true meaning of beauty. Help us be a step closer to reaching our goals  

Most youth have asked themselves, how do you determine beauty? Based on certain influencers, beauty is determined by looks, specifically body image. Most young people obsess about their body, merely because of what they see on magazines, social media, or on their favorite shows.

Monique Pillard and Ivan Bart, YOU are responsible for all of the eating disorders, depression, even suicides caused by dissatisfaction with oneselves body image our youth are going through. Did you know that “Over fifty percent of teen girls and thirty percent of teen boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives” (Nicollet Melrose Center). This is very unhealthy behavior for people who are barely starting their life. If youth are our future, forty percent or more of this generation will be sick or even worse dead for taking drastic measures to achieve a “magazine-worthy” body. This issue is also a form of ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized oppression. Firstly because of the fact that YOU reinforce the ideology that society set on body image. True beauty and perfection can only be achieved when one is skinny, and when one has a clear complexion with no imperfections. This is just the beginning of all of the ideologies you have incorporated into human standards.

The reason why it is implied that the topic of the perfect body image also includes institutional oppression is because Modeling Agencies, YOU have certain criteria for your models. Based on research, the ideal body image for modeling is the following, “Height is generally between 5’8″ and 5’11”…Bust 32″-35″, hips 33″-35″, and waist 22″-26″.” (Taylor & Francis). These are the requirements for most modeling agencies, so people who don’t fit these measurements may have a hard time being okay with themselves once again because of YOU. Getting to the sizes you require is hard which can put stress on individuals. Furthermore, the modeling requirements embody the ideal body image of oneself which could potentially lead to bullying if your body often doesn’t stick to these specifications.

Besides from the ideological and institutional oppression one could go through, there are more types of oppression. For example another way of oppression like mentioned before is bullying, the following quote reveals the main reason behind bullying for both children and adolescents, “Overweight and underweight children tend to be at higher risk for bullying. Targets of verbal bullying based on weight, sometimes referred to as  “weight teasing,” can experience a number of negative consequences, including a change in body perception” (Perugini). Society has embodied the ideal figure as being tall, skinny, and thick in all the right places, because of this people’s views and opinions commence to turn defective which leads to individuals verbally abusing each other. At first the victim might not be insecure about their body but because of the bullying, they start to see flaws in their image.  

All the pressure by society to appear attractive can eventually become too much to handle and can lead to emotional harm. “Adolescents report greater body image dissatisfaction than younger children. In addition, dissatisfaction with one’s body image and the desire for thinness increases as youth approach puberty” (Gilliland). As teens approach puberty the internalized oppression experienced increases, but what does this mean exactly? This is because during puberty one’s body is undergoing physical changes. If the end results are not desired, self confidence will be affected. If youth are internally oppressing themselves eventually the consequences, one being suicide would be devastating.

How can we erase oppression? Many people have created movements to try and change body image expectations. From hashtags to campaigns, there is a variety of people trying to improve body diversity. Firstly, one example of people trying to create change is Dove. Dove created their own campaign called “Real Beauty” that counters Victoria Secrets “Love My Body” campaign (Dove). Victoria Secret used tall, fit, and skinny models to promote their campaign while Dove used plus size models.Dove’s campaign brought awareness to the fact that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. There is not one body type you have to be to seem beautiful in the eyes of others. Dove’s campaign got a lot of media attention which helped get ideas about beauty standards spread. Even though beauty and body standards were not completely changed, the “Real Beauty” campaign continued the fight to someday change beauty standards. Additionally, another movement created to fight beauty expectations is JC Penney’s “Here I am” campaign (JCPenney). JCPenney organized and created a video to promote them expanding their sizes for plus size women. This act was very effective in trying to raise body positivity and trying to erase negativity towards plus size women. Just like Dove’s campaign, JCPenney brought attention to the fact that there is more body types that should be included in the media. Creating a video to go along with their campaign was a great way to promote their campaign because this way even more people would become educated on this important issue. Lastly, there have also been petitions created to fight body image expectations. Erin Treloar created the hashtag #LessisMore to go along with a petition she created to try and reduce the amount of photoshop used in magazines and media (McKelle). This petition was a great way to bring the community together by supporting one cause. Awareness was raised to show that what youth see in magazines is not reality. Photos that have been drastically photoshopped still negatively affect teenagers and makes them feel miserable when they look in the mirror. Youth feel worse because they don’t look like the figures that are made to seem achievable. #Lessismore and other hashtags would help change that and create a inclusive society. All these movements helped in some way to continue the body image fight.

As upstanders and organizers, we have come up with a plan that will raise awareness to body image issues. Our plan is to rely on our instagram @b0dyimage by posting photos of inclusive body types. This will help youth and people in general feel supported and feel confident in their own skin. When we post images on our instagram we will also use hashtags to bring a larger audience. For example, hashtags like #honormycurves, #celebratemysize, #effbodystandards, #goldenconfidence, and more. Additionally, we will create posters and paint symbols that promote all body features and body positivity. We will paint and add posters in the girls bathroom to encourage girls to feel beautiful when they look in the mirror. This will not only bring awareness at school, but this action will also teach students that there is no ideal body type. Students shouldn’t be embarrassed but instead confident with their body. Since the posters and paintings are forms of public art, everyone will be drawn to the appealing art and anyone who is struggling with confidence or low self esteem regarding their body image will see the posters and feel included and motivated to embrace their body just as it is. Lastly, we will DM both magazine companies and modeling agencies on instagram and demand them to promote different body types by including plus sizes to certain clothings, or hiring plus size models. Not only that, but we demand all natural models who don’t wear makeup, don’t cover their stretch marks, or aren’t forced on a diet or mandatory exercise  This will reduce the amount of people who are hurt by the messages that are advertised by magazine or modeling companies. As mentioned before, this is a serious issue because of the fact that there are many ways to oppression, it could be internalized, interpersonal, institutional, or ideological. All of these actions will hopefully raise awareness and reduce the ideologies people have about a stereotypical “perfect” body. These actions are not limited to just plus size people, but also to petite, skinny, darker complexion/people of color, or people with physical disadvantages, we want this movement to go big, and be open to everyone who gets oppressed because of their body image.

If you want to keep up with our actions and be supportive, don’t forget to follow us @b0dyimage. Also, try and use our hashtags #honormycurves, #celebratemysize, #effbodystandards, and  #goldenconfidence.

Thank you for reading all the way through.

Sincerely,

Kelly Iraheta and Ivy Delgadillo

     Annotated Bibliography

“Body Image Dissatisfaction: Gender Differences in Eating Attitudes, Self-Esteem, and Reasons for Exercise.” Taylor & Francis, 2010 www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00223980209604820.

This article is reliable because the authors have all experienced some sort of account based solely on the fact that they assisted college, on psychology. Not only that, but they are international academic publishers whose goal is to educate people with new information about certain topics. Also this source is relatable to the topic of body image because it is about a recent study conducted and published on 2010 that analyzed the difference of self esteem between male and female adolescents. Not only that but this study is based on a novel, The Study of Psychology by Taylor & Francis again

Dove. “Real Beauty Campaign .” Dove, Dove, 2014 www.dove.com/us/en/stories/campaigns.html.

This image showed women from sizes 6 through 12 being accepted as beautiful. Dove was being inclusive by not just portraying skinny bodies. This campaign is relatable to topic because we are trying to figure out ways to be upstanders and this campaign inspired ideas. The campaign was very effective in bringing awareness since it caused a lot of talk in the media.  Dove is a credible source because they have created many campaign in the past and are still fighting for body inclusivity in media. They have created campaigns as far back as 2004 which means they have had experience promoting their campaigns. Dove is a well known successful brand which means they were not created out of nowhere.

Gallivan, Heather R. “Teens, Social Media And Body Image.” Park Nicollet Melrose Center, Park Nicollet Melrose Center, 2014, www.macmh.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/18_Gallivan_Teens-social-media-body-image-presentation-H-Gallivan-Spring-2014.pdf.

This source talks about what body image is, and contains statistics regarding both female and male image perception due to social media. This file also includes how social media takes a part in adolescent body image. This source is credible because the author is an expert in the field of eating disorders which is relevant to body image. Besides, the publisher of this extensive source of information is Park Nicollet a Health Services Company. The company would know how to stay healthy and what would cause damage to people’s health.

Gilliland, et al. “Body Image and Children’s Mental Health Related Behaviors: Results from the Healthy Passages Study.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 14 June 2006, doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsl008.

This article is a study based on body image and the impact that puberty has on teenagers. The article is connected to our topic because we would know what time in someone’s life they can struggle the most.  This source is reliable because two of the authors works with adolescents so she should know firsthand, what the recent struggle is. Also, because some authors have knowledge about psychology they know the behaviors that are signs of distress.

“Height, Age, and Measurement Requirements of Modeling.” How to Become a Model by Fitness Model Jonah Taylor, modelingwisdom.com/height-age-and-measurement-requirements-of-modeling.

This article shows the requirements for most modeling agencies, so people who may be insecure of their body image and aspire to become a public figure may have a hard time being okay with themselves and their body. The author is credible because Jonah Taylor is a model himself which means he has firsthand experience on what it’s like to be a model. Jonah Taylor has published many articles on the topic of modeling so this means that he is an expert in the topic.

JCPenney. YouTube, YouTube, 18 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJlvtCzJPaQ.

This video was about encouraging people to feel confident in their own bodies no matter what size they are. JC Penney was promoting body positivity by using plus size women who are successful in their careers. This source is relevant because it is a form of action since the video will bring awareness to body image. The source is credible because JC Penney is a well known clothing store and they used real life people to support their ideas.

McKelle, Erin “9 Social Media Campaigns That Are Changing Fashion.” Bustle, Bustle, 17 Dec. 2018, www.bustle.com/articles/75539-9-body-positive-social-media-campaigns-that-are-changing-how-we-perceive-beauty-both-in-and.  

This article explains the different movements people have created to fight beauty standards. The movements ranged from hashtags to campaigns. The article is relevant because we were trying to find different movements created around our topic. The author is credible because Erin McKelle she is an activist and writer who has worked with a variety of nonprofits.

Ziff, Sara. “How Eating Disorders in the Fashion Industry Are a Labor Issue.” The Model Alliance,  modelalliance.org/2017/how-eating-disorders-in-the-fashion-industry-are-a-labor-issue/how-eating-disorders-in-the-fashion-industry-are-a-labor-issue.  

This article was an interview with different models on their own personal experiences in the modeling industry. This source is relevant because it gave us real experiences from real models that actually prove our thesis.The author is credible because Sara Ziff worked as a model for nearly two decades which means she knows the modeling industry well.

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6 Comments
  1. Catherine 1 year ago

    Dear Kelly and Ivy,
    I am very excited to share with you guys that I absolutely loved the post. There were many valid points that were addressed in which companies and high-end corporations unfortunately oversee now and are less concerned of the detrimental effects that it has on every single individual. I actually commend both of you for the amount of courage and dignity that you guys have to stand up against these modeling companies because I know it is not an easy thing to do. Sticking by your truth about how these beauty standards come in all shapes, all sizes, through all types of imperfections, and regardless of skin color and etc., it will definitely reach all ears of the community who needs to hear and receive the positive message that true beauty starts within themselves. If one is not confident with himself or herself, one will never be satisfied with the effort he or she puts in except when they feel the need to gain social acceptance and validation through others.

  2. Sam Reed U School 1 year ago

    Kelly and Ivy

    Thank you for your advocacy and action to fight body image bias. The media and popular culture in general contributes a lot to this scourge to society.

    I appreciate that you forcibly call out Monique Pillard and Ivan Bart. As leaders and executives that play a role in promoting body image bias. I even appreciate more that you are developing a @b0dyimage social media response to promote diverse positive body images. You should check out the poem “Fat Girl” (https://www.youthvoices.live/2019/04/17/fat-girl/ ) one of my students composed to address the exact issue you are tackling.

    Did you consider using your @b0dyimage social media campaign to get consumer to boycott magazines and media executives who promotes body image bias? Hitting dispassionate executives like Monique Pillard and Ivan Bart in their wallets could be more effective than them calling out.

  3. Amber 1 year ago

    Dear Kelly and Ivy,

    I really enjoyed your topic and reading about all of your ideas and I think that a topic such as body image and body positivity is so important especially at this time in society where issues with body image are so prevalent. because of the huge increase in social media use and the many platforms that the youth have to compare themselves with images of others that just aren’t realistic such as models and celebrities, I think that bringing awareness to this topic could help the younger audience understand that not everything they see in magazines or on social media is realistic to every day people and that it is okay to look exactly the way you are and that they should feel accepted by society in their own skin. I really liked the point you made where you stated “This is why you need to promote a more diverse range of models that people can relate to. People’s overall confidence can increase when they are being celebrated”. I really like this point because when all that young people have to look at on their social media sites or in magazines is unrealistic body types and nothing that they can truly relate to, then they begin to ask themselves “why don’t I look like that”? or “am I suppose to look like that”? which are two very dangerous questions because that is social comparison and that can ultimately lead to negative rumination of ones own body. If the media and society learns to celebrate all body types as equal and beautiful then the idea of the “perfect” body type because extinct and everyone can then learn to love themselves just as they are. I think that your proposal of the instagram page to support all body types and self-love is such a great way to start a movement towards positive body image and getting the youth to see that there are people out there who look just like them and that they can be celebrated or be models and be themselves at the same time. I am curious as to your idea of reaching out to the magazine companies and modeling agencies and what they may reply to you, and what you could do with those responses afterwards. I admire your persistence and I hope that your instagram page brings you both success in following through with this proposal! Your post was very well-written and thoughtful, I think your ideas and words will help to bring awareness to this issue and shed light on its importance for the youth.

  4. Mikaela 1 year ago

    Dear Kelly and Ivy,

    I really enjoyed your post, “Fighting Body Standards.” I actually have done a paper recently discussing the effects of social media and how it can cause adolescents, specifically females, to feel like their body is not good enough which causes insecurity. It certainly correlates to your post. I feel like this has been a reoccurring issue and typically targets young women. One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is “True beauty and perfection can only be achieved when one is skinny, and when one has a clear complexion with no imperfections.” It seems like in today’s world, thinner women are idolized. This is why a lot of people feel the need to compare themselves, it’s because they’re in front of a magazine or they’re the Victoria’s Secret angels. True beauty should not have a specific shape or form. It’s really sad that these are the expectations of society. Most of the time, we see these images on Instagram, for instance, and it just really looks unrealistic. Another sentence that stood out to me is, “These actions are not limited to just plus size people, but also to petite, skinny, darker complexion/people of color, or people with physical disadvantages, we want this movement to go big, and be open to everyone who gets oppressed because of their body image.” It’s great to see that you guys are taking action and constantly reminding women that they are beautiful no matter what color, shape, or size they are. I certainly have learned more about movements and ways to help out regarding this topic. It’s important because feeling insecure about your body can lead to harmful and depressive behaviors which is not something I would want to see in these beautiful women.

  5. Michelle 1 year ago

    Hi Kelly and Ivy,
    This is such a great topic because it is so relevant in today’s society. The image of beauty, as you mentioned, is being tall and skinny. This specific body type is deemed desirable and attractive, and appears most frequently in media such as magazines, television, movies, social media,etc. I agree with you that these media outlets are responsible for the negative impact they have on their audience because they are reproducing the same damaging societal expectation that there is only one right body type. Media needs to incorporate more body representation and more Nonwhite models/actresses to better represent their diverse audience. I think it is a great idea to write to these corporations and agencies demanding more body positivity, more ethnically diverse models, and less editing. In Europe it is now legally required to say under the photo that the image has been photoshopped, and I think this is such an important law that should be required in the United States as well to bring more awareness and understanding that people do not naturally look that way, and what they are looking at is not realistic. This piece is brilliantly thought-out and well-written.

  6. Lizette Diaz 1 year ago

    The appearance of many girls is one of the most paid attention, from all types of genders. Many follow social media and put standards up to what to look like and what not to look like, it it great to see students that speak up about because it has become one big issue. Social media has been a big factor to this epidemic we have in this society.

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