Ask I look in the mirror while I get ready this morning I can’t help but admit that my eyebrows are not “on fleek.” They’re thick, but they’re not thick enough, and they will never have that perfectly arched shape that women strive for. Three years ago my eyebrow shape was something that would have never made me self-conscious, because having perfectly sculpted eyebrows was not a trend or something I was going to get shamed for in the group messages of girls who barely know me. I’m also naturally curvy with large breasts, a small waist, a butt, and thick legs. Had I spent my teen years in the nineties, there is no doubt that my body type would not be celebrated or considered “ideal’ like it is today (thanks, Kim K) in a world full of Kate Mosses and Spice Girls. In both cases, these physicalities are both examples of styles of body types that happen to be fashionable at the time. My question is, “Why as a society have we allowed body parts to become trendy?’
This mainly has to do with the commodification of women’s bodies. At its most basic definition, a commodity is “anything intended for exchange or an object of economic value.” So basically, as women by giving into these trends and “ideal” body standards in return for the sale of our bodies. Feels great right? We treat our bodies like they are something that can be discarded and replaced like pairs of distressed jeans or gaucho pants. Individual body parts are discussed as though they’re fashion accessories like bags and shoes rather than flesh and blood elements of an actual human being with feelings and emotions. We’ve made our thigh gaps and mermaid thighs as interchangeable and modifiable as they are up for public debate as signals of wealth and status. Seriously, there is a whole episode of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” that focuses on whether Kim’s famous derrière is real or not. In 2016, if you have a “fat ass” then you’re automatically desirable to not only men but to women who desire those body attributes.
With the direction that we are headed in currently, I feel that the practice of making women’s body parts fashion accessories might soon (almost) be to an end. Millennial women are not sold by brands and gimmicks like our predecessors. Retail giants like Victoria Secret who used massive branding across the butt and pushed an agenda for having large fake looking breasts to sell their overly padded and expensive bras are failing because they realized too little too late that millennials want to buy products from companies who come across as genuine (aka those that aren’t pushing an agenda or product). American Eagle has seen HUGE success among millennials since launching their Aerie “Real” campaign that features women of all body types wearing their lingerie and bathing suits sans retouching. You’d come closer to hearing women in the fashion industry today speaking out about how important it is to have body positivity regardless of your size- versus hearing models exclaim “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” For once, we are pushing an agenda we should be pushing “be happy with who you are and what God gave you.”
There are some items in fashion that never go out of style (LBD’s anyone?). If this is the case, why can’t we apply the adage that fashion trends may come and go, but style — loving the skin you’re in or the skin you’ve paid for, so long as it makes YOU feel beautiful — lasts forever? It won’t be long before thin eyebrows circa Gwen Stefani in 1998 are “in, ” and Cara Delevingne thick eyebrows are “out.” When that day comes, those who have those things — or have worked to have them — ought not to stress. If being on-trend is a primary concern, it’s best to keep in mind that fashion, and it’s trends are cyclical. Give it another 5-10 years and your beauty routine will be on trend again. In the words of the mega-makeup mogul Bobbi Brown, “the secret to beauty is simple, be who you are.” Stop turning your body into something that can be bought and sold on account of ever changing fashion cycles. There is NO reason for subjecting your beautiful and perfect body parts to trends ladies.