Hello, Gentle Readers! I apologize for my extended absence. I have so, so much to tell and show you all soon – pictures have been taken, alterations performed and documented, absolutely hilarious group photo sessions completed, and one very fun and interesting lingerie convention (CURVENV) attended, and posts about all this and more are in various stages of having been written. In the meantime, though, a great campaign has been started by Braless in Brasil to call for more diversity in lingerie. I wholeheartedly support this movement, but between being busy with the aforementioned activities and more and not feeling like I am a great example of the diversity that is needed in lingerie modeling or anything else, really (ie I’m white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, have a safe place to live with clean water, electricity and access to fresh food, am neither plus-sized nor particularly thin, etc,.), I thought it best to just state my firm support and then turn things over to my dear friend Izabela from Voluptuously Thin, who felt she had more to say. Here is what she sent me. Please give some comment love, check out all the links at the end to other great posts or look up #diversityinlingerie, and make sure to visit Izabela’s blog, too. There will be more from me shortly. :)
With undying affection,
Hello there, readers! Or as Miss Shapen refers to you lot, Gentle Readers. I’m here as a favor to my lovely friend with my post contributing to #DiversityinLingerie, a campaign started by Braless in Brasil to express the desire for more diversity!
When you think of a lingerie model, what sort of woman do you think of? Do you think tall, thin, sharp bone features, flawless skin, and legs that go on for days? Well, I obviously do, as those were the first descriptions of one that came to mind. This can be quite a terrible thing. While of course women like the one I described exist and aren’t any less beautiful for being so well-represented in lingerie advertisements and the media in general, it does bring attention to the self-hatred that can be caused for women who are not seeing themselves in that representation.
The women we are used to seeing are only a subset of the many women of shapes, sizes, and colors that are represented in daily life. I live in Arizona, where the majority of women that I pass are of darker skin pigment either due to Hispanic/Latino heritage or the burning sun we deal with. Women of all heights and weights are wearing the same things – shorts, tank tops and flip flops – and yet not all are ‘approved’ to be wearing such things. A social stigma has developed around certain things that certain women with certain body types should wear. And one place where this is greatly represented is in lingerie.
Many believe that lingerie is for a select group of women who fit into specific societal standards of beauty. Walking into lingerie stores, I’ve been hard pressed to find anything that would fit me, let alone many of the other women I see walking around. I’m nearing 5’8 at my still growing age of 18, slowly and finally nearing a good weight of 150lbs and wear a variety of sizes many wouldn’t guess. I have stretch marks over my legs, my butt and my breasts, as well as my sides and hips. I weigh my heaviest at 160, but have always remembered having stretch marks because hey, skin grows. I have cellulite over my thighs and I can’t begin to tell you about the chafing I experience between them if I don’t have material to separate them after a short while in this heat. I have an abundance of acne scars that won’t fade for many years to come. And I wear lingerie.
Here is my beautiful body, with mismatched bra and panties, with terrible background and a phone camera. There’s no make up, no posing, no sucking it in, and I never thought I would post such a photo of myself online for all to see.
I describe myself as olive toned, pale looking on most days because I have a disability that usually keeps me indoors most days of the year. I have a distended lower stomach that causes my bra to leave indents when I lean over. I have insanely large feet on the end of long, long legs that I adore.
Man, have I come to love my body. And I have been told that it’s a body many women and men desire, each for their own reasons. Yet if that’s the case, why have I not seen a single model that would represent my body type or near it? I don’t think I’ve seen a woman with cellulite or acne scars, nor have I heard of a model with a disability who has been able to persist in the industry (barring the lovely Becky Magson, as I am referring to mainstream lingerie modeling specifically).
If you want to join the #DiversityinLingerie campaign, take a picture of yourself (can be with or without your face, in lingerie or clothes- whatever you feel comfortable with!) and somehow fit in the hashtag #DiversityInLingerie. You’re welcome to either post it on twitter with the hashtag or email Braless in Brasil, who will put it up in a post on her blog.
Women of ALL walks of life and appearance are invited to join in. By participating you can show the lingerie industry that, yes, you’d buy lingerie from a diverse group of models, not just the ones currently shown. The campaign wants to be clear that this is nothing against the body types currently shown and we don’t want to get into a “real women” debate. We’re all real women. We just want a bigger pool of models so that ALL women can see someone like them and say “hey, she looks like me and that bra looks awesome on her, it could look awesome on me too!”.
For further reading on this topic, go to Braless in Brasil’s original post, which has links to some great articles and posts on this topic and related, and also a comprehensive list of bloggers who are participating in this fabulous campaign! [Note from Miss Shapen: I will update this post with all those links when I have a little more time, but this post is delayed enough as it is and Braless in Brasil has done all the hard work already!]