This week I had the opportunity to attend a documentary screening of Straight/Curve: Redefining Body Image from Bryant University’s Media Literacy Week. This documentary was put on by the Department of Communication and many other on campus groups! I attended the documentary and learned an incredible amount about the modeling industry and why our culture speaks the way we do about people who are different than us.
The documentary had many famous people from the fashion and modeling industries such as Tim Gunn, Tess Holiday, but also many students, parents, and teens sharing their stories of fat shaming and feelings of inequality in the industry compared to models who are typically shown in advertisements.
One of my favorite parts of the documentary was when they talked about the Aerie brand. This brand does not retouch their models and has branded their company using the #aeriereal hashtag. As a young female, I applaud this type of company. I believe that as a culture we need more realistic models, body positive role models, and more diversity in the marketplace of media. This company embodies these philosophies and I hope to see other companies match the ideals of the Aerie brand.
There were a few great things about this event which I would like to point out. Not only was the documentary shown, but there was a panel discussion after where faculty, staff, and students had the chance to voice their opinions. I haven’t seen an event that has had this diverse of a panel speak and I was pleased to see the discussion that occurred after. Hearing from other students that were seniors allowed me to see the types of analysis I may be doing in a few years if I take a few more communication classes. Another great thing about this event was that there were males and females there. Changing the culture that we live in is going to require males and females to unite and speak out together about the inequalities we see in media.
I sincerely hope that Bryant University puts on more events like this. This event was very well attended and I believe this was had a great impact and was thought provoking for students.