If what was considered desirable, in regards to physical appearance, was what was balanced and moderate, how different might our culture be? While the media tends to spotlight either the extremely slender or the rather curvaceous “goddesses”, be it Gisele or Cristina Hendricks, anyone considerably “average” tends to go unnoticed. It’s always one extreme or another that grabs our eyes, our praise and the cover of Vogue magazine. Though beauty is “a many splendid things,” nowadays, truth be told, we hold a very narrow view of what is physically appealing. Yet, there is one woman who’s career could be redefining fashion’s view and inevitably, our view. Crystal Renn, a model who has been the extremely thin, the plus-sized now has arrived somewhere in the middle (if your concern is numbers, you’re at the wrong blog. Google it.) To cut to the short of it, Crystal became anorexic initially when modeling and went into rehab. Afterwards, when she began eating and ceased her compulsive exercising habit, she became a world-famous plus-size model and wrote a book called “Hungry.” The years following, Crystal reintroduced a healthy diet and workout routine that has brought her somewhere in between two extremes; placing her as one of the world’s only “average-sized” models.
Obviously healthier than ever, Crystal is in high demand and returns with a clear voice and message. On the Today Show, a few years ago, Crystal Renn was interviewed about her revived career in modeling and stated:
“What I think would end the confusion is if we just called each other, all the models, just models. No more straight-size. No more plus-size… I want to get rid of titles, because they bemean women. And there’s no need for that.”
Her return will surely have a high impact on the modeling industry. Renn actually may be paving the way for, not only a new demand of “average-sized” models, new faces on the cover of Vogue, but a new desirable trait; a revived allure of what is currently considered moderate, fair or average. It very well could negate the picture of beauty and the idea of what “sexy” is, that our culture has instilled in the minds of men, women, boys and girls alike. When the majority of the models, as well as actors on t.v. and film are continually thinner and tighter, our brains tend to correlate these figures with what is “sexy” and “beautiful” more than we think (unless of course you’re the kind of man who is less vain than a woman; though there seem to be fewer and fewer of you. But that’s just my biased opinion.) So sadly this means, we often correlate anything outside of that as “less than.”
While to the public eye, the media’s mainstream of figures are indeed either runway thin or plus-size figures (which are becoming more the norm.) But this creates a divide; a divide with a massive gap. And this gap instills massive insecurities among women who feel they are “less than.” (Because it is more likely than not, that even with the rise of plus-size, the runway - size is still the most demanded and coveted.) What the media ignites through this is a disarray of aspirations and a spread of unhealthy habits that are attained in the name of “beauty.” When our culture continues to hold such extremes as the picture of enviable allure, it creates a disillusion, in the minds of men and women alike) of what is and isn’t attractive.
There was a day when things weren’t so confusing. When women were beautiful, not because of their religious vegan practice or high-end personal fashion taste, but because they were women. We’ve lost a sense of femininity in our culture. Perfection (in whatever extremity the media is momentarily demanding) is the new feminine. There is beauty in not trying so hard to “maintain” or be like “so and so…” There is beauty in just being. But we’ve lost such simplistic and humble appreciation for life. We’ve limited our definition of what is lovely and what is womanly.
Crystal Renn may be breaking new ground not just for mainstream fashion, but for our culture’s concept of beauty. Whether or not it was Crystal’s intention to explore all extremes of sizes, just to find herself a normal-sized beauty, her journey is certainly helping shape our culture’s concept of what is beautiful. Maybe now, with the likes of Crystal Renn, we will see a greater aspiration and a greater appreciation for what is fair or “average.” It would be a relief if what was displayed as “beautiful”, was real beauty afterall.