Paloma Monnappa On Being Skinny-Shamed And The Unrealistic Beauty Standards Of Fashion Industry
- IWB Post
- July 12, 2018
Open any celebrity or model’s Instagram page and as you scroll through the comments you’d realise the intensity of body shaming they are exposed to on a daily basis. The fact that this nasty trolling crops from a set of impossible body standards created by the fashion industry itself doesn’t make it any better.
Fashion industry’s headless quest for the chimerical ‘perfection’ has brought about an apocalypse, to say the least. Somehow it appears impossible to resist the urge of exploiting the benefits of Photoshop, flatten a stomach here, accentuate a curve there and what not.
The impossible standards have seeped so deep into our collective psyches that we have started expecting them as a basic necessity for anyone who enters the fashion industry.
In an interaction that model Paloma Monnappa recently had with Home Grown, she shared some of the issues pertaining to the fashion industry’s beauty stereotypes that bother her and how she approaches them.
“I started modelling six years ago and was always the ‘short girl’ and I never really looked like a ‘typical model’,” says Paloma.
She explains, “The industry is basically divided into two types of models, you have the ‘commercial models’ who can be curvy and short and then you have the ‘runway models’ who have to be tall, skinny and not ‘conventionally pretty’.”
In her struggling days, Paloma would often feel out of place when she showed up at the auditions among the tall “typically” model kinds. She was constantly told that runway wasn’t her thing and that she was “an ad personality.” Paloma thus started getting a lot of advertisements.
She says, “Though I feel there’s more pressure among the runway models when it comes to the industry’s crazy beauty standards but it’s not any less when it comes to the ad industry as well.”
Paloma shares, ” I have also been skinny shamed multiple amounts of time and have been hurled comments like, ‘Gosh, do your parents feed you?! or You’re going to disappear very soon!’ Skinny-Shaming is something I strongly feel against and personally have to deal with from people who don’t know me.”
“It’s high time people realise that any kind of body shaming is bad. Skinny shaming is just as offensive as fat shaming. It has the same negative emotional impact,” she adds.
She then moves on to another major problem in the fashion industry as she says, “Another major problem plaguing the industry is Photoshop & Airbrushing, which is responsible for portraying false and unrealistic pictures of models. I have personally experienced this and am strongly against it. The media promotes an unrealistic image that people (especially women) constantly compare themselves to.”
Paloma explains that the key to being happy with oneself while being a part of the fashion industry is to always stay grounded. She explains, “As a model over the years, you will have moments when the industry will put you up on a pedestal & make you feel like you are the most beautiful and special. When you’re accustomed to constant flattery it’s easy to live in a bubble about yourself and become the stereotypical ‘vain model’ but then there will also be moments when you’re surrounded by so many other stunning models and it brings you right back to reality. ”
This is one of the reasons why she feels that “girls should not get into modelling at a younger age when they’re still naive.”
She is however happy that the industry is gradually evolving and gives social media due credit for head-starting a major change. “Social media has provided a platform for models and consumer critics to voice their opinions about these issues. Models didn’t have social networks to try to effect change. Today they do and speaking from personal experience as a social media lifestyle influencer, apps like Instagram has tremendously helped in lifting the lid on a lot of things we would not have tolerated in the past,” Paloma expresses.
The fact that fashion houses are finally addressing body issues brings her a lot of succor. She says, “I am glad that fashion houses are finally tackling the issue of anorexia in the modelling industry but I feel that there is a clear distinction between being thin and being unhealthy. Accepting that responsibility lies with cracking down on an industry in which catwalk samples are produced in sizes that require already slim women to starve themselves.”
“Honestly, I think people should just mind their own business and focus on being healthy and fit themselves,” Paloma concludes.
H/T: Home Grown