Words and pictures by Elana Emer
There has always been a standard made clear for how people should look. Standards for appearance, height, makeup, weight, skin colour and hair texture are upheld by so much media we consume—and the fashion industry’s role in that cannot be understated.
At some point, fashion became less about self-expression and uniqueness and devolved to focus largely on fitting the mould. That industry created a mould that so many of us will never fit into.
The media industry, however, has a role to play too. It acts as judge, jury and executioner to those who put themselves in the spotlight. They maintain a status quo of consumers who are unhappy with themselves and continue to consume the harmful content in hopes that they eventually reach their goals.
Social media and the increasing digitization of information makes all of this more accessible, but it can be counterproductive and even harmful.
It’s not like going to an art gallery or reading a magazine. In those circumstances, content is curated and purposeful, but on social media, you’re just being bombarded with images, en masse, and you have no choice but to be overwhelmed by everything you’re seeing.
While you scroll passively, these things stay with you. If you spend 10 minutes looking at a photo you like of someone who doesn’t look like the mainstream, you might think you’ve appreciated it fully, but when that’s sandwiched in between 35 minutes of skinny white people, that seeps into you just as fully.
So this photo essay speaks to that. The visuals are explorations of the theme around inequitable fashion coverage and what we take away from it, whether we like it or not.