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Exposure to mass media images can act as a prominent sociocultural pressure for women to conform to certain ideologies of society. It can be suggested that throughout recent years, especially within 2018, fashion ideologies on women’s body image and societal norms are shifting, and the models who are frequently featured in advertisements become contemporary society’s standard of beauty.

Pretty Little Thing and body acceptance

It has been brought forward that the twentieth century has ushered in a new era of size-acceptance and a perhaps more politically charged and inclusive era for plus-size fashion. The concept of body appreciation is becoming much more normalised within contemporary society, allowing women to feel more accepting with their bodies. Web based brand ‘Pretty Little Thing’ are using their influence to create a more inclusive definition of beauty, which is constructed through their model representation within advertising campaigns. In order for fashion brands to increase their popularity with consumers, they must stay in trend with contemporary demanded perceptions of fashion and beauty.

Ashley Graham and Pretty Little Thing

Consumers may see that Ashley Graham a globally well-known model appreciated for her ‘plus size’ beauty image, has her own clothing line with web based brand ‘Pretty Little Thing’ (2018). Here, clothes have been catered specifically for curvier women, and the advertising of it across a range of media platforms, enables women who have a similar body type to feel beautiful, sexy and stylish. The advert displays Ashley doing various sexy poses at the camera, which illustrates that curves and confidence is perceived as sexy and glamorous in a contemporary society. As this collection has one focus; empowering the females who aren’t afraid to own the skin they’re in. Fall in love with yourself with the pieces that work for all powerful women – and every body type. 

Ashley’s clothing line ranges from a size 4 to a size 28, which means that not only are her clothes aimed at curvier women, but also those who have a smaller petite body type, and other women in between can wear and appreciate the clothes and feel amazing, no body type is singled out. The campaign uses the hashtag #EveryBODYinPLT, highlighting how a fashionable figure consists of many different body types, and women should feel empowered and confident in owning the figure they have.

Ashley’s campaign highlights the positive impact fashion websites have on body positivity. Along with how societies perceptions of women and fashion has changed in recent years, and the ideologies that a curvier body type is portrayed as sexy and worthy within the fashion industry, thus taking a positive step towards body appreciation.

Missguided and ASOS

Other web based brand Missguided’s campaign #MakeYourMark  introduces models who have stretch marks, are of different races, and has different body types. The campaign inspires women to love themselves for who they are and embrace their stretch marks, because in reality no women naturally possesses airbrushed perfect skin. It displays women laughing and looking comfortable in their own skin, which highlights contemporary ideologies about women and self-confidence. The campaign reaches out to younger generations, enabling them to understand that women don’t have to be seen as sexual objects to be perceived as sexy.

ASOS, another web based brand, has recently bought out a clothing range aimed specifically at women with larger breasts, with clothes designed specifically for women with cup sizes DD to G. Not only with web based brands is there the appreciation for women with a curvier body type, but they are understanding women’s struggles in finding the perfect outfit, whether you’re petite with large breasts, tall with large breasts, and also one who wears maternity clothes.

It can be suggested that ASOS is becoming more inclusive in terms of the models they’re using to advertise the brand. As earlier this year (2018) the brand debuted a model in a wheelchair on its website for the first time.This attracted a lot of positive attention from audiences on Twitter  who praised the company for its decision to be more inclusive with its choice of models.

Glamorisation of obesity?

Though, the wider acceptance of different body types and the acceptance of it in the media can be seen as a positive, there are also issues raised about the lines blurred between plus size women and unhealthy cases of obesity. With the wider acceptance of different body types and the advertisement and promoting of it in fashion, it can be argued that perhaps women are abusing this idea of acceptance, as unhealthy images of women are glamorised in the media. Cosmopolitan’s recent front cover of Tess Holliday, is an example of this promotion of an unhealthy obese body type, something which would not have been advertised a decade ago. It can be suggested that if Cosmopolitan were to feature a woman who suffered with anorexia on the front cover of their magazine, this would spark much controversy amongst audiences too. This may forward other women to look up to Tess and see this particular body type as acceptance in society as she is featured on a globally successful magazine, and encourage them to look the same, which may lead to unhealthy habits and lifestyles. There were many controversial debates on social media highlighting societies opinions on the matter, and perhaps popularising the front cover.

In conclusion, in a contemporary society the ideologies of women in fashion have significantly become much more diverse and inclusive, through different media platforms, illustrating body positivity, enabling women to feel more confident in their own skin. Web based brands Pretty Little Thing, Missguided and ASOS have constructed their sites to display a more inclusive definition of beauty, such as through their model representation, therefore highlighting the digital impact these brands have on celebrating body positivity.