Ok, so I’m sure some of you will be thinking this is a strange post title and a strange topic buttttt bear with me whilst I make sense of my thoughts and explain my opinion, you may think totally different and that’s of course fine…….
I grew up in the Kate Moss/ Victoria Beckham era, size zero had just become a ‘thing’ ,Paris and Nicole were splashed all over MTV and the magazines filled with tiny Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, a scary time for teenage girls! Waif wasn’t my body type or the girls around me however, we were brainwashed to believe this was normal and desirable. Fast forward into my twenties and I feel like the dynamic is slightly shifting. Love them or hate them the Kardashians allowed a new body type to be accepted and appreciated, programmes such as ‘Coleen’s real women’ ‘Trinny and Susanna’ and ‘Loose Women’ helped to fill our screens with normal women; women with all different shapes and sizes who all looked great and didn’t conform to one stereotype.
One of my favourite examples of TV and the body image change is our own reality TV programmes such as TOWIE…. Enter the likes of Sam Faiers, Lydia Bright, Danielle Armstrong, Gemma Collins and Fearne McCann to name a few of the extensive cast list and suddenly we have variety, some healthy, athletic, womanly and more realistic body shapes.
Since TOWIE exploded onto our screens back in 2010, this glamorous world has firmly been propelled into our households and splashed all over the media. Like it or not, the majority of us know what a vajazzle is, what ‘totes’ and ‘reem’ mean therefore its etched in your brain somewhere along the way (If I’ve lost you already then no worries, this may not be your favourite post!)
Yes you can say that since TOWIE we’ve all become more aware of our appearance, apparently the sales of fake tan hit the roof once season 1 was aired and I think the culture of male grooming has risen thanks to the likes of Mark Wright and Joey Essex; As with anything you can make something like this into a negative (and a lot of people have) In reality the world is a very image conscious place, shallow as it may sound! I actually believe there is something quite positive I have taken from TOWIE, laugh or disagree as you will but I will try and explain….
TOWIE is a reality TV show, an exaggerated, glossed and edited show but still reality in the sense that the people are really who they say they are, they really look how they appear on TV and this is what I like about it…Being female my thoughts are focused on the female cast members. Take away the sheen and you have yourself a great variety of females, all with different body shapes, hair colour, style, different opinions, age and life experience and this is what I want to see on my screen, the normal and yes to make good TV, it does have to be glammed up but I’m cool with that!
These girls appear to dress exactly how they want, following their own sense of style and most importantly seem to really exude confidence no matter what shape or size they are, I really love that! I enjoy watching TOWIE to see who’s wearing what, how they styled it and I treat it like a little reminder to myself saying look at these confident girls doing what they want, not conforming to one size fits all, It helps me to remember that we all are different and that’s great.
If I thought I couldn’t wear something because I wasn’t stick thin, you can almost guarantee one of the Essex girls is wearing similar with pride and looking great in the next episode, so yes actually you can wear it and should take a leaf out of their book!
I hope the generation that is exposed to TV like TOWIE takes the positives elements such as diverse body image and projection of confidence. Some may says its not all about appearance and that this is all very shallow but however unfortunate-a-fact it may be, the world is very image driven place and I cant see that slowing down! There is no harm in taking a positive out of a reality show, I’m not stupid I know what is real and what is exaggerated but for me personally I like having more realistic ladies on my screen, a variety of body shape role models, who make me feel great about myself rather than beating myself up!
Some other shows celebrating the diverse society we live in include, Hollyoaks, Eastenders and the other British soaps and this is because people are realising we want reflection on real life! I hope that explains my thoughts a bit better…
Love Harriet x