One Size Does Not Fit All

Arabella Ong, 12th Grade BECHS

Watching television, a commercial of a popular clothing brand comes up. It’s of a luxury brand, promoting high fashion—haute couture per se. They are unveiling their newest collection. In this promotion video, women and men of slender figures dress in designer pieces. They also start endorsing this on Vogue magazine, Times Square, and Instagram. Everyone has heard about it, and everyone aspires to get a piece of this new collection. On the side, someone says, “How I wish I could fit and carry those pieces as well as those models.”


Magazines, posters, billboards, commercials, shows, and social media have become a significant part of today’s society. We see them everywhere, often promoting a particular brand or campaign. Even though its influence is seemingly unnoticeable, it urges us to give the endorsed items a try. However, there’s one flaw to this: people end up using what they see on media as their paradigm. Brands should start showcasing real and diverse body types in advertisements because keeping the existing standard of a “perfect” body is unattainable and damaging.

A slim, toned, hourglass figure has been a common motif for girls, and a strong, muscular, no-fat figure has been the ideal physique for boys in most advertisements for brands. Its regular occurrence subtly instills the need to conform to this beauty standard—to be flawless. It ultimately is confidence-crushing.


Common Sense Media, a nonprofit advocacy group monitoring children’s media, states that “more than one-half of girls and one-third of boys ages six to eight wish they were thinner. They further stated about one-quarter of children as young as seven have engaged in some dieting behavior” (“Body Image”). Dieting at that age puts forward the risks for eating disorders, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or body dysmorphic disorder. External pressures, such as tight-fitted clothing and weight restricting sports, along with puberty’s physical changes, play parts in prompting overwhelming feelings of shame, guilt, and self-hatred. It does not end there either.


The use of photoshop to enhance models’ features to fit the dream body has been prevalent in the advertising industry. Digitally manipulated photos create unreasonable expectations, which has convinced brands’ demographics to do the same, as seen in most social media posts today.

Our bodies are beautiful and naturally diverse. Natural physical diversity is the message that brands ought to convey.


Dove, Aerie, Savage X Fenty, and Fabletics are among the very few that have started to show support for the body positivity movement (“Body Image”). Dove has been advocating for it since 2004 with their Campaign for Real Beauty; Aerie has also pledged not to use photoshopped images of their models to endorse their products. Savage X Fenty by Rihanna made an expansive range of sizes to fit anyone, hiring models of all sizes to exhibit their lingerie in their online shop and on runways. Fabletics has started using plus-size mannequins to offer inclusivity. The brand is known to cater to size XXS-4X. However, a recent controversy was sparked upon its debut on the store’s branch in central London.


Isabel Oakeshott, British political journalist and broadcaster, posted a tweet reacting to the said mannequin, “This, in a Regent St fitness store, is what obesity looks like. Flabby curves highlighted in hideous lime green color. The so-called ‘body positivity’ movement is not ‘inclusive’, it’s dangerous” (Spina). Oakeshott’s remark received backlash transcending social media platforms. A social psychologist, Dr. Jaclyn Siegel, pointed out that there was nothing wrong with the mannequin: “This is a mannequin of an average person… Tons of people have this body shape, and that’s fine. ‘Obesity’ is a body size not a disease. And not something to be ashamed of” (Spina).


Advertisements in commercial and social media should also be more inclusive. The commercials we see on television should not pressure us to fit into unrealistic standards. These ads should make us proud to be who we are and embrace the body we are in—may it be XXS or 4X.


Works Cited

“Body Image.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2021. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, Accessed 1 Feb. 2022.

Spina, Ellie. “‘It’s Dangerous’: Woman’s Viral Tweet about ‘Inclusive’ Fabletics Mannequin Sparks Backlash.” Yahoo! News, Yahoo!, Accessed 1 Feb. 2022.