You’ve heard it all before, right? The debate on whether or not the fashion industry has an impact on people’s mental health. Of course you have; who hasn’t?

For years, people wanted to find out whether or not the industry has a negative effect on the way we view ourselves. Do the models in the latest designer runway shows make us want to be skinnier? Do the airbrushed photographs in magazines further point out our imperfections? Do these insecurities affect us so much that they can lead to eating disorders, depression, and severe anxiety?

I’ve uncovered countless theories, statistics, and opinions from some of the leading mental health professionals in the world. And when I say countless, I mean, countless.

As a sufferer of mental health disorders and as a mental health advocate myself, I think research is incredibly important. However, I’ve decided not to write about it; For one very simple reason – when it comes down to it, the only thing we really want to know is:

Does it Affect Me Personally and the People Around Me?

Do body image issues or eating disorders  affect you, your friends, your mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, dads, and sons? Could your child have an eating disorder because of the way the fashion industry showcases how we should look? Is your thirteen-year-old sister battling with body dysmorphic disorder and no longer leaves the house because she’s ashamed of how she looks? When you scroll through your Instagram feed and come across models, do the photos make you want to buy the clothes they’re wearing or do they make you want to be the model in the clothes? Do they make you feel good about yourself or do they trigger negative thoughts.

Showcase Diversity

For me, THESE are the reasons I want the media to showcase more diversity. Because I care about my family and friends, because on a personal level this subject is truly important to me. Dear fashion and media: keep the skinny models, but throw in some average-sized ones too, and add some ‘normal’ looking people like my mum and I in this photo who modelled for the day just because it was fun!

It Affects Those Around Us

It’s so incredibly personal to us.  The people who are analyzed and discussed about in all researches, aren’t fictional characters out of a fantasy movie and they aren’t on the other side of the world where you never have to face them; they are actually right next to you; They are your sisters and moms, your best friends, people walking through your streets and colleagues working in your office. They are going to school with you, sitting next to you in a restaurant or dancing next to you in a club. They are the people you really care about most, the people you interact with on a daily basis and the strangers you might love one day.

Accepting Ourselves

They are everybody, and every body matters. There is no one-size or look that is ideal, and the sooner we stop conditioning the next generations, the sooner we can be more accepting of ourselves.

The next generation will be that of my children, and so the depiction of bodies in fashion and media is important to me! It is time to take it personally.

Writer: Lauren Hayley   Twitter: @bylaurenhayley   Website: www.bylaurenhayley.wordpress.com

If you liked this post, please check out: Learning To Love Your Body Over The Years ,  Organic Is The New Black! and CONFIDENCE! Loving Your Body Image.

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