BY: KAROUN CHAHINIAN
Raised on a cookie-cutter image of beauty, whether it was your favourite movie star, super hero, or the band-poster you had taped onto your wall, the role models that are meant to inspire us often have the power to lower our self-esteem. With photoshop and unhealthy dieting hidden behind the scenes of Cosmopolitan cover-photos, children absorb the negative messages of the advertisements like a sponge and sub-consciously compare themselves. Most parents try to create self-esteem friendly households, but there is always a way for the media and the unrealistic standards of beauty to bombard their way in and completely change the way children view themselves and others.
At a young age, I remember picturing a tall, skinny, practically plastic woman whenever the concept of beauty was brought up. I’d then look in the mirror and be disgusted by my reflection. I would be frustrated that I was never able to relate to any of the models in the magazines or commercials because my frizzy curls and gapped smile stood no chance against their perfect everything. This idea of what it meant to be beautiful was engraved in my brain since elementary school. Unless you’re living under a magazine-free, television-less rock, how could it not?
Sadly, even after growing up, the issue of media-induced poor self-esteem only became worse and while it is present for both men and women, it’s more predominant and sensitive for women who have been the subject of objectification and mistreatment for centuries.
Unfortunately body type discrimination represents a lucrative staple for massive industries like fashion and media, who profit from keeping it well concealed. The objective is to make “average” women feel the need to reach the artificially crafted and impossibly high beauty standards.
San Francisco based photographer, Carey Fruth, decided to challenge the inaccurate definition of beauty by photographing 14 unique women with unique body types to highlight that beauty does not have a size. Her photo series “American Beauty” was inspired by an risqué scene from a 1999 movie with the same name. The women are lying down in romantic beds of purple flower petals, “stepping into a fantasy dream girl world and [freeing] themselves up to direct that energy they once wasted on telling themselves that they weren’t good enough elsewhere in their life,” said Fruth to Huffington Post.