Playing Dress Up
When I was a little girl, I was no different from other little girls. I would twirl around in my pink tutu and tiara and dance around on my make-believe stage. Then I grew into an awkward teenager and soon the girly garbs were replaced with baggy jeans and t-shirts. When I landed my first job and I could afford to shop for clothes, I started paying much more attention to my wardrobe and soon developed my own style. As a fashion editor back then, my work environment played a huge role in my love-hate relationship with fashion. Through those years, I also noticed what unhealthy obsessions it can fester. From unnaturally skinny models, to starving yourself so you can afford a designer handbag, from catty talk shows about what someone should or shouldn’t wear to society’s way of classifying someone’s worth by what they have on the outside rather than who they are on the inside; I soon got disenchanted by it all. Gone was that little girl who would create her fairytale-like dresses out of her mum’s scarves and in her place was a jaded, formerly-obsessed fashion enthusiast. Now that my little girl is three (about the same age I was when I was prancing around in my makeshift gowns), and I see her rummaging through her boxes of hats and handbags with glee, I can’t imagine anything that makes anyone so genuinely happy be tainted down the line. And ultimately, all these pretty clothes and makeup out there should make us feel good about ourselves, and not the opposite. However, in these past few years, we have seen a positive shift in the industry and the word “beautiful” has been redefined. I strongly believe that the wellness movement has played an instrumental part in that change. Commercials campaigns and runways are now featuring more women of different shapes, sizes and ethnicities. They look stronger, healthier and they are more relatable. In Women’s Health worldwide, we have dropped phrases like “shrink two sizes” and “bikini body” because they painted an unrealistic image of what a woman’s body should look like and manifested a desire to fit into that archaic idea. And this is why I am so thankful for magazines like us who have always featured women who broke the mould and smashed stereotypes. Strong, independent women who have struggled, who have overcome those struggles, and their stories serve as a reminder that we can too. When my daughter grows up, I hope all women’s magazines (or whatever form they transform into) will not propagate such superficial ideals. Here’s to all those little girls who grew up with that sparkle still intact or rediscovered! Never let anyone dull your shine!