In just the past year, we've seen some big strides towards a better body culture.
unabashedly showed us her stretch marks, Ashley Graham made a Barbie sans thigh gap, and Khloe Kardashian gave us a line of denim suited for women of all sizes.
All of these things makes me happy, and I think we're definitely on our way towards a much more inclusive society (despite the many setbacks that occurred as a direct result of this year's presidential election).
But, there is still work to be done; because there remains a jarring problem that has yet to be resolved when it comes to body diversity.
Yes, we are seeing more and more women above a size two earning deserved success and being given a platform, but these women are still held to a very specific standard. The existence these standards, and any standards at all, is the true crux of the diversity issue in fashion.
For example, Ashley Graham recently became the first plus size model to grace the cover of Vogue UK. This is an incredible success for her, one that is completely deserved. Not only is Graham a likable, and stunning, human being, she also uses her visibility to speak out about important issues she believes in.
But while Ashley Graham is a plus size model, she is an absolutely gorgeous, perfectly proportioned plus size model. She has high cheekbones and flowing hair and radiant skin. And while some of that is certainly the result of a hair and makeup team, I have to question whether she would still have secured that cover if she were a plus size woman without these features.
There are plenty of other plus size models in the same boat. Full figured women, yes, but full figured women who otherwise align with society's pre-determined standards for what makes a woman beautiful.
What this says to me is: "yes, you're allowed to be a size 12, but only if your face is stunning, based on what we have deemed 'stunning' to be."
It's not an ideal standard by any means. Nonetheless, it is a start. We are starting to break the mold, but only just starting. I want to see more—much more.
I want to get to a place where it doesn't matter if a model's face (or any person's face) is beautiful or not, because we no longer have a singular definition of what that even is.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say; and I fully believe that to be true.
And hopefully, in due time, the fashion industry will as well.