Not only are over 62% of American women larger than a size 10, but the trend of fuller figures seems to be reaching global magnitudes. According to Body +Soul (Conville, 2012), the average Australian woman wears a size 16. Upon further research, it seems that, contrary to popular belief, the United States does not take the lead in this anomaly. According to OECD’s (Development, 2008) latest available figures for several countries, in 2008, the measured percentage of overweight women in the United Kingdom, Slovak Republic and Canada surpassed that of women in the United States. Though not by much, it certainly shows that the prevailing tendency for the average woman in many countries does not fit the existing conditions set forth by the fashion world.
What about the other 38% of the women in the United States? According to ANAD (ANAD, 1991-2003), approximately 24 million people suffer from eating disorders in the United States. Of those 24 million, 20% of those suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder. Not only does this not signify a healthier lifestyle, but studies also show that eating disorders among female athletes is 9% higher than other individuals. Female athletes in aesthetic sports, such as gymnastics, figure skating and ballet are at the highest risk. The drive for perfection, acceptance and so-called normalcy is rapidly dwindling the 38% of women the fashion industry caters to at the present time.
More frightening, than the percentage of adults with eating disorder and obesity issues, are youth; struggling with the same self-image adversities propagandized by media and fashion. Of all women in the United States, only 5% naturally have the “ideal body type” depicted in advertisements. With 69% of girls in 5th – 12th grade say that magazine pictures influence what they think the perfect body is; and, 81% of ten year olds that are afraid of being fat, the adverse effects of pigeonholing people by their appearance follows people throughout their lives.
The impact of acceptable and unacceptable body images bounced around television, magazines, advertisement and, consequently, society’s values, is detrimental to 100% of the population. Women and men of all ages, social levels and financial statuses are affected by the stress put on weight and shape. Though people who fit the mold of perfect body have access to a bevy of beautiful clothing, health statistics show that an alarming percentage suffer from eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia. Considering the rates of obesity and eating disorders closing in on 100%, change has to be imminent.
Says Laura Profant Smith, President and Designer Representative of Passion Plus Fashion,” I started this company on the ideal that the changes necessary, to change the definition of beauty, will not come from media or the mainstream fashion industry. It starts with each person or business contributing to the conversion of the acceptable image being the vision of the person as an object to focusing on the health of the person, no matter what shape or size.” Laura goes on to say that Passion Plus Fashion is just getting started in offering trendy fashion apparel for all women.
In keeping with the spirit, on which Passion Plus Fashion was found, they promote the efforts and advocacy of National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and National Organization for Women Foundation’s (NOW), Love Your Body Campaign.
Passion Plus Fashion
ANAD. (1991-2003, Unknown Unknown). Eating Disorders Statistics. Retrieved Unknown Unknown, 2005, from National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: http://www.anad.org/
Conville, N. (2012, June 3). This Is The Average Australian Woman. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from Body + Soul: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/
Development, O. f.-O. (2008). Non-Medical Determinants of Health : Body weight . Unknown: OCED.