Wanna Be On Top? Conforming to the Conventions of Fashion Standards.

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A size 0 is not a standard, or motivation.

Cycle 10 of Australia’s Next Top Model (AusNTM) aired Tuesday night on Fox 8.

AusNTM explores the journey of 13 young girls aged 16 – 25 on their way to becoming models in the fashion industry. The show displays the ‘behind the scenes’ of the industry from hair and makeup to a judging panel of critiques.

The judging panel for season 10 consists of: designer Alex Perry, and models Jennifer Hawkins and Megan Gale. Gale is a new permanent addition to the judging panel, replacing Charlotte Dawson who passed away in early 2014.

Along with Gale’s experience into the modelling world, will hopefully come a new conversation about the industry standard of models.

On the season premier, the contestants were critiqued by the judges on their photoshoots. Producer provoked questions like “How badly do you want this?” and “You know this is a competition?” were asked, sending some contestants to tears.

It was however, contestant Jordan, 20, whose critique, brought on more of a response from judge, Gale. Standing in front of the judging panel Jordan stated, “My body is not much suited to runway.” Gesturing to hips “I have been told before I’m thicker, lower down.”

Gale’s empathetic response to the aspiring model brought on unexpected emotions from the judge.

“It took me… I couldn’t work for 5 or 6 years because everyone told me… the industry here said to me you can’t work, you’re too big” she said, welling up.

“The thing is, you really have to believe in yourself. I am living proof. Don’t starve yourself, don’t do crazy things to conform”

 

Body image depiction and proper representation of women in the media is extremely important. Gale’s success in the industry and maintaining a healthy body image is a testament to the model, herself. Talking about her own experience on the first episode of the series shows great potential for further emphasis on the issue of body standard in media.

Although body shape diversity is not properly represented on this season of AusNTM, hopefully there will be more discussion on self worth and appreciation. It is important on shows like this, especially when contestants can still be considered legally children/juvenile.

Additionally, the show is an important influencer for its target demographic of female’s aged 14 – 25. If the average dress size for Australian women in this demographic is a 10 and the average size of the contestants on the show are a 4/6 dress size, then we need to reevaluate. Having more diversity in size, shape, colour, race is important for creating a culture of diversity and self-appreciation. If producers keep casting girls of the present industry standards, our society is going to continue to create an unrealistic idea of the perfect body size.

 

Based off of Gale’s initial comments in the first episode, I look forward to more conversation about the future of fashion and a newer standard for women.

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