|Holiday excess: one too many helpings...|
The fact that Ashley's modelling agency is marketing her skills outside the plus-size market is, according to Mills, reflective of changing attitudes about body weight. Thin fascism is on its way out. God, I hope so! As the mother of a slim 10-year old who is already worrying about the size of her thighs, I am beginning to realise how pernicious magazine culture is, with its plethora of skinny models and photoshopped images.
Beauty in 'many forms'
Ashley, who has been modelling since she was 12, has set up a coalition of models, called ALDA, which aims to represent beauty in all its different sizes. The organisation goes into schools and colleges to talk to girls about body image. "I am not pro-obesity, but I think beauty comes in many forms, and it breaks my heart to see girls being anorexic and bulimic in their teens," she told Mills. "You can be fit and larger."
It's also about confidence: Ashley knows she's desirable and she's strong-minded enough to challenge an industry that has celebrated the waif for too long.
There has been talk of a sea-change about body image before, but perhaps it is finally gaining some momentum. As part of this cultural shift, the luxury fashion website, Net-a-porter, is encouraging European fashion designers to provide larger sizes. It seems that sizes 14 and 16 sell out first on the website. No surprises there as more than half of British women are a size 16.
It would be lovely if my daughter didn't have to spend half her life worrying about her figure. Significantly, Ashley's mother played crucial role in making her feel happy about her size. So I am putting my Gran Canaria binge behind me (literally) and letting my butt roll. It's time to love the curves! What's more, societal change always needs a bit of grassroots support.
FURTHER READINGBridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
Over the course of a year, Bridget records her hopes, dreams and fluctuating weight. Her mission is to find inner peace and poise... and hopefully Mr. Right.