We love that body positivity has become a powerful movement within fashion, beauty and advertising. The trickle-down effect of the revolution happening in those industries alone is going to be powerful. We will only truly see just how powerful by the time the younger generation comes of age and witness the types of discourse happening around body image and identity.
But right now, there are a number of women and men whose names are becoming more synonymous with change, diversity and inclusion. One of those women is Barbie Ferreira, the model who you might recognize from her work in Aerie Lingerie’s campaigns as well as being part of fellow models Charli Howard and Clementine Desseaux’s All Woman Project advocacy organization aimed at ending body segregation in fashion.
Barbie has recently teamed up with Teen Vogue for a new 6-part web series called ‘Body Party’ where she invites viewers to virtually take part in discussions she has about body image with a few different groups of people. The idea for this series was to raise more awareness of what body positivity is and what it hopes to achieve in the industry.
“Body positivity has become trendy, but it’s important to remember that it’s a work in progress for the fashion industry. There may be more diversity and visibility of curvier bodies than ever before — thanks in part to the Ashley Grahams of the world — but for the new crop of young curve models, the framework for how ‘plus-size’ bodies are approached in fashion is still being constructed,” Teen Vogue fashion writer Nicolette Mason explained in the September Issue of the mag.
They chose Barbie because she keeps it real, she has amassed a large social media following due to her numerous appearances in campaigns for Lane Bryant, Aerie, and Target as well as various fashion magazine editorial spreads. Her role model status for many young women has put her in a prime position to impart positive messages that will hopefully make an impact on the way they view body image.
Among the 6 videos, we see Barbie chatting with a group of plus size models about what they are sick of hearing in their line of work, cooking a traditional Brazilian meal with her mom, talking to boys about the body insecurities they face (an important aspect of the body positive conversation we need to see more of in society) and taking a yoga class with badass teacher and social media fitness queen Jessamyn Stanley – a body positive activist herself who is breaking down myths about health and size.
In the first episode, Barbie explains her own journey becoming frustrated with the messages she was bombarded with and not feeling like her own identity fit in within the parameters set by fashion and beauty.
“Looking at magazines and being someone who wanted to act as a kid, I was very much influenced by things I saw. So, I think due to the lack of representation I was insecure, definitely. I had a lot of difficulty growing up in a society where everything is very closed-minded, especially with beauty,” she said.
“There’s so much more to life than how you look,” she also says. And while that is very true and needs to be said more to young women, it’s also a great time to focus on the politics of body identity and what place they have in the public sphere.
The beauty and fashion industries are needed and have a powerful opportunity, coupled with the advertising world, to shape public consciousness in a positive way. Unfortunately we have seen the industries make money off the back of (mainly) women’s insecurities for far too long. Thankfully it is changing, due to the infiltration of women like Barbie Ferreira and many others.
This web series serves as a great resource for parents to watch with their daughters and sons and is an indicator of what can happen when people are encouraged to raise their voice and challenge the status quo. Needless to say, this is one party we definitely want to be invited to!