The notion of what a woman’s figure should look like has been raging for many years, but in the digital age, in which image is much more important than substance, thin is in, and anything bigger than a size 8 is considered fat. That’s why the current ad war between Lane Bryant and Victoria’s Secret is so interesting. On one side you have a company that sells sex in the most beautiful and slimmest form possible, and on the other, you have a company that embraces plus-size ‘real’ women. But the battle between the two isn’t just about lean women versus plus-size women, it’s really about society’s shifting notions of beauty, body-image and sexiness.
‘Body shaming’ has become the hot buzzword, as basement-dwellers on the Internet obsessively comment about women’s bodies in a negative manner. Body shaming has been elevated to an art form, as social media gives the individual the power to disparage others based on their weight. The irony is that many of the people who engage in body shaming are often out of shape themselves, but they feel no qualms in slamming someone else for their less than beach-ready body. Body shaming is prevalent in feature films and on TV, where fat characters are regarded as worthy of laughter and derision. But body shaming also occurs when women are criticized for being too skinny, so both sides of the body spectrum are well-represented.