The Female Body Image

Thursday, 17 August 2017

THE FEMALE BODY IMAGE

On a day to day to basis, I for one, am critiqued on my body image. I'm in an industry where unfortunately, most of the time, looks are everything.

Being an actor/model, I struggle with confidence and my image at the best of times. I get nervous before castings and auditions, I sweat profusely, I change my outfit a dozen times in the morning, I worry that the directors will take one look at me and laugh and I question my diet all of the time...

Unless I'm walking around in Spanx, with a tub of Ben & Jerry's and declaring that I am to be the next Bridget Jones... I really don't stand a chance. 

The industry is and forever will be, based on body image.

I'll never forget the time that I was invited to attend a high profile modelling agency in London when I was 15, to be turned away because they "weren't too sure about my face." Now what's sad about this, is that at 15, your body changes. I was asked to attend as they saw my images posted online and they called me in for potential representation. Safe to say that my face wasn't up to the standard of their agency. I was even asked if the pictures were in fact of me?

Ridiculous right? Perhaps I should have worn a mask just to test them to see whether the rest of my body was good enough...

Not everyone has a chiselled jawline. I for one am lucky to even see my jawline on the best of days. I'm that person that laughs and all I have is a neck...

Saying that, modelling is and always will be a huge part of my life. It's something I will continue to do. However, acting is my main priority. Plus I find acting so much easier and less degrading when it comes to body image.

Then again, I haven't been in Hollywood movies, pictured in the press or followed by paparazzi, so perhaps my opinion will change when I see my "neck" on the front of a magazine... 

Don't get me wrong, acting it isn't the easiest of careers, actors seem to be everywhere; but we all come in different shapes and sizes and the ones that I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with, stay true to themselves. Also, I know that modelling agencies have curve divisions and those women come in different shapes and sizes too, but when you're a size 10-12, like me, you just seem to flutter in and out of the scene because you're not "skinny or curvy enough."

It's like a never-ending, never-winning game...

I had another casting that was just as enjoyable as the last. It was for a high fashion brand and they wanted to see me for their fit model role. Now bearing in mind that I sent off all of my statistics and portfolio prior to attending, I still got told no. Want to know why? Because the jeans FITTED me. They wanted them to be baggy enough to wear a belt... I even got called a "large size 10."

Now, if I knew that what they meant by fit model was in fact the complete opposite, and that they would just completely ignore my statistics, I wouldn't have bothered wasting my time. They ask for a fit model. The clothes fit me. Yet I am turned away. 

Honestly, hats off to models that do this for a living... It's unbearable. I thought receiving tonnes of no's from auditions was bad enough, but this is on another level!

With acting, I have been extremely lucky so far. I was cast as Maleficent for Disneyland Paris, which I'm pretty sure was thanks to my awesome (if I may say so myself) resting-bitch-face. Also, I recently worked with Panasonic appliances as their featured model; got that role thanks to my awesome smile...

Now I probably sound vain, but I've learned to love myself and how I look. Yes I make improvements, but that's because I want to make them. Not because society makes me feel the need to change how I look.

But enough about me, let's talk facts. 

So... Back in 2014, The Guardian revealed that 10 million women in the U.K. felt 'depressed' because of the way that they looked. 

Now, I'm almost certain that a high percentage of these women only feel depressed about the way that they look, due to what they see on social media and in the newspapers.

Even though we see women’s bodies everywhere, it’s only really one body that we’re seeing, and it happens to be a young, thin, toned, perfectly-proportioned, long-legged, non-disabled body.

Disgusting.

Not every woman has this body shape, nor will every woman be able to achieve such a shape, should they wish to. 

But because we are on social media most of the time, we come across photoshopped and airbrushed images. Those of which, that once we see these, our minds tend to go into overdrive and we find ourselves comparing our own bodies to what the industry want us to see.

We're inundated with images of women who work out everyday, who eat the healthiest of foods, who are blessed with "flawless" skin and who are just generally pictured as goddesses.

There's a constant flow of dietary products on offer, waist trainers, celebrity work-out DVDs and so on... I'm all for living a healthy and balanced diet/lifestyle, however it's excessive and on every corner that you turn.

Plus, let's think about it seriously for one moment... If every woman woke up tomorrow morning, looked in the mirror and decided that they were happy with their bodies, a lot of industries would go out of business! That's the harsh truth. Which goes to show that the industry create such a look, that harnesses the mind and makes you want something. In this sense, a "better body."

Women should be happy with how they look. We're all beautiful in our own ways. Yes it's corny, buts it's true! Whether we are curvaceous, skinny, pale, tanned, large-breasted, no breasts, bald, white, black, little, large... it shouldn't matter. It shouldn't be seen as a bad thing.

Body confidence isn't about trying to achieve the "perfect" body, it's about embracing and loving the one you've got. That's what I have learned to do and yes, I've learned it the hard way and will probably forever go on learning, however it's the path and the industry that I've chosen. 

Don't let your mind, bully your body.

Be happy. Be yourself. Be free. 

...oh and eat that slice of cake.

Rebecca Mae
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2 comments

  1. Well written post, and some good points.

    I'd like to add, these days, there appears to be as much emphasis placed on males "look", whether that be unrealistic expectations of supposed masculinity, buff, slim, or unhealthily low levels of body fat and unnatural levels of muscle mass. It's just as damaging in many cases, and the results can be seen with the increasing numbers of young males diagnosed with eating disorders.

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  2. I totally agree and have recently written about this this week too. It is a massive issue for both genders and I want to open it up and people to talk about it. Stigma is not need here we must talk about it to change it.

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