All body types are important

There has been a lot of unnecessary buzz recently about plus sized models, a term that in the fashion industry pertains to women dress sizes eight and up. In actuality though, the Center for Disease Control says the average American woman is a size 14 and most plus sized clothing lines start at a size 16. These numbers are a far cry from anything being displayed by the fashion industry.
To be considered ‘model material’ one must be between 5 foot 9 and 5 foot 11 and, preferably, weigh no more than 130 pounds. Even the small fraction of women that meet this outlandish requirement are turned away for other reasons. Some of these include age, skin color, hair or eye color, acne-prone skin and other aspects of their appearance that just don’t give them the right ‘look’ that an agency wants.
The fashion industry sickens me. Not because bone-thin models are paraded around and praised for their thigh gaps or skeletal physiques. Not because I’m jealous of all the models who are taller and thinner than I will ever be, but because in fashion, if you are an average sized woman, you are portrayed as being unhealthy. If anything is unhealthy it’s the warped body image so many people have because they compare themselves to models with unattainable beauty traits.
Just because a woman is not a stick figure fit for the fashion industry doesn’t mean she isn’t beautiful. Beauty is completely subjective. Having long legs or full lips might be nice, but if that is the only thing people strive for, then that makes me sad. When did the little girls that were told they could be anything they wanted when they grew up, stopped dreaming and started dieting?
The fashion industry, however, isn’t the only place this idea comes from. We see this in music videos and movies when women with good figures and long hair are cast as the love interest, the women all the guys like. Images like these plant ideas in the minds of little girls that they should emulate these women, even if it means extreme dieting, working out and plastic surgery to get there. If more normal or average women were put in these roles, I think it would eliminate a lot of the issues girls have with their bodies.
As women, we should be devoting our time to empowering each other and bettering ourselves, not wasting it trying to look like Kate Moss or Kendall Jenner, because it is simply not worth it. If we really feel the need to try and be like other people, why not pick someone more substantive to model ourselves after? There are so many incredible women in this world who have so much more to offer than just a pretty face.
Today it is no longer appropriate for women to simply smile and nod because we are so much more than just our looks. My mom always told me that I was beautiful growing up, but she also told me to get an education and that I could be whatever I wanted to be. Young girls need positive role models at home, in school, and in the media.
All women, no matter what they look like, are important. We are the future. We can make changes in this world for the better, so we need to stop acting like the only thing we should aspire to be is pretty. One day I hope that everyone can get past having such superficial and shallow expectations for women and start expecting more from them.