Body positivity is a dialogue that the world needs to engage in, especially in the face of extreme shaming and ridiculous body standards that are set for women. Designer Becca McCharen-Tran addresses this in her Ted talk. She speaks about her love for fashion, for the need to celebrate women of different sizes, races and sexual orientation, and her own struggles growing up.
“As fashion designers, our decisions have the power to change our culture,” she begins her speech. “We choose who is cast in our runway shows and campaigns, and ultimately, who is celebrated and considered beautiful, and who is not. Having this platform is a responsibility. One that can be utilised to exclude people or to empower others,” she says.
“Growing up, I was obsessed with fashion. I pored over all different types of fashion magazines… To be fashionable was to be tall, skinny, with long shiny hair. That’s what I saw as the ideal, and it was reinforced everywhere I looked. I wanted to be like the models, so I stopped eating. It was a dark time in my life; my eating disorder consumed me. All I could think about was counting every single calorie, and waking up early before school every day, so I could run a few miles,” McCharen-Tran says.
She goes on to say that it took her many years to finally release herself from the grip of her eating disorder. “It freed up so much brain space to think about what I was truly passionate about. For so long, the fashion industry has worked hard to set an ideal of beauty that celebrates thin, young, white, cisgender, able-bodied models as the ideal… This definition of beauty is damaging, dangerous and destructive, and we need to explode it immediately,” she says.
The designer, while concluding her speech, says that fashion designers are tasked with utilising the platform to explode narrow and restrictive definition of beauty. “I hope that our work contributes to the fashion industry’s opening up to celebrate many different identities.”
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