Nazia Erum, a fashion entrepreneur and author, explains how problematic traditional ideas surrounding the human aesthetic can be in her talk on beauty standards.
She starts out by determining the benchmark of modern attractiveness, which she says began to form during the industrial revolution, when there was a standardization of dress sizes when clothes started being produced in factories. Afterwards, thinner and thinner models began to star on runways and in fashion campaigns, which conditioned people to believe that this is the norm. As media representations have continued to become even less achievable, people are shown that a wraith-like figure that is still somehow hourglass-shaped in the benchmark of modern attractiveness.
As people have come to believe that photoshopped images of underweight models are achievable expectations for themselves, it's become a part of their pursuit for success. In addition to affecting people's self-perception, it impacts how one is thought of professionally and socially. In order to overcome these harmful expectations, Erum says that both men and women need to understand how manipulative the fashion industry can be. She concludes her talk on beauty standards by reminding her audience that clothing is meant to fit them, and not the other way around. If one takes the time to question their conditioning, they will be able to break free from it.
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