In the past, the word strong may have been identified as a masculine term, but with an influx of strong women appearing in the modelling world, we may have reason to reinvent.
In the heart of arguably the most accepting era in the modelling world to date, it is extremely gratifying to see even more body-types being widely recognized and accepted. When France recently decided to ban “excessively-skinny” models in an effort to encourage a healthy body standard in the industry, we’re loving the domino effect of this. Finally, the ‘strong body’ is being recognized as well.
Interestingly enough, and not just in the modelling world, men have had the tendency to idolize muscular, rugged, and athletic stature; whereas for some reason women have fallen victim to continuously striving to achieve a rail-thin and fragile physique.
As a quick disclaimer, it should be stated that there isn’t anything wrong with having a preference for thin, tall models – that’s the standard in the biz after all – but what is problematic is when we determine beauty to exclusively bind to this this category. Up until recently the pairing of the words ‘strong’ and ‘women’ had a negative connotation, alluding to the idea that strong in the sense of physically powerful was ugly and not feminine.
What we should find ugly is the mindset of finding a woman unattractive based on her body type.
Last week during Mercedes-Benz Sydney Fashion Week, a line called We Are Handsome debuted a new active swimwear range for women. For an event as momentous as fashion week, the designer’s uncharacteristically decided against selecting extremely thin women to showcase the new line.
In fact designers Jeremy and Katinka Somers didn’t even choose actual models. Instead, they had professional fitness instructors and health-inspired social media stars showcasing their new range, something completely groundbreaking for fashion week. Some of the ‘models’ for their range included Sjana Earp, Kate Kendall, Amanda Bisk, Juliet Burnett, and Lindy Klim.
This does bring up an interesting point however, such as why we haven’t had athletic models really in the past, if, for nothing else at least athletic-wear. Although revolutionary for the industry by finally showcasing different body types, it’s rather unfortunate that it hasn’t happened earlier. It’s no wonder, especially as young girls haven’t been inspired to aim for a more toned physique. Muscle has typically been seen as ‘bulky’ and ‘masculine’ – the opposite to what is usually desired. Models, who are typically seen as the ultimate beauty standard, are frail and thin even while displayed in workout clothes. There seems to be something off about that, but thankfully we are finally getting around to reinventing this grossly reckless disparity.
Having strong as the new ideal of sexy is so empowering for woman. Because so many women aspire to be more like the models they see on magazine covers and runways, this might be a turning point in the industry, changing the game substantially. It has been said by many that confidence is sexy, although we agree, washboard abs don’t hurt either.