In a sense, both us Twin Koi babes are willing slaves to the fashion industry. Firstly, and most overtly, we are fashion bloggers which means we are constantly keeping our eyes out for upcoming trends in the industry, and regurgitating our findings for all of you. Julia is not only a fashion graduate, but an individual who eats, breathes, and sleeps fashion. It’s something that consumes her greatest interests and in many ways empowers her through her self-expression. As for myself, as an emerging photographer with a magnified interest in the fashion genre, fashion acts as a creative outlet for me to generate aesthetically satisfying imagery that expresses something. However, with both of us being active in this field, we need to be aware of our roles in the fashion industry, because as soon as you participate in the perpetuation of a culture – which the fashion industry most definitely is – you need to question, am I perpetuating something that is bettering the world around me or not.
The fashion industry is one that literally runs off of a formula of an idealistic scenario where your body should look like A, your face must be laid out like B, your lifestyle should equate to C, and all together if you can achieve these standards only then will you be truly happy. It continually perpetuates that there is only one way to be beautiful and feel comfortable in your own skin, leaving every single woman in a constant state of dissatisfaction with themselves. Not only is fashion media pumping out these discouraging messages of what it means to perfect, but it fosters a cycle of self-hate to hatred onto others. It’s a huge issue, and it should be talked about more and more. Body-positive expression has been at it’s peak lately as a movement of female empowerment and it’s something we have tried to apply not only into our blog content, but also our everyday lives as fully functioning *and beautiful* human beings. Self-ridicule is something we both definitely suffer from, and we would like to share with you some encouraging thoughts on how you can heighten your awareness on how to break this cycle of negativity for not only yourself but the people around you.
Trying to truly love yourself the way you are is incredibly comparable to recovering from an addiction. Notedly, this addiction to self-ridicule has basically been a part of our everyday lives for as far back as we can remember. We have been conditioned to draw out our pro and con list of our own bodies, categorizing facets of ourselves into columns of pretty and ugly and hoping that if we can *hide* this or *change* that to reach some sort of standard that has been laid out in our minds, and the pro and con lists don’t stop there. We all actively play the game of compare and contrast with those around us, picking out the flaws of our peers in an attempt to drag down their beauty as a way to soothe the discomfort we feel within our own bodies. This conditioned routine we have all learnt should be treated as a behavioural issue in our society because of the mass effect it is having on our girls. It disables the ability to have true female friendships, averting female liberation all together through the reduction of female partnership and thus setting us backwards. It is 100% true that you can only start to love others until you love yourself, so the only way for us to break out of this is to sustain an activated effort to encourage the beauty of those around us and to encourage ourselves to ignore the pressure to be perfect. Make a deliberate effort to tell people that they are beautiful and give compliments generously, all it’s going to do is make everyone in the equation feel remarkably happier which is pretty damn awesome.
However, feeling better about yourself cannot entirely be about spreading love to others. There are also several different types of self-soothing thoughts to keep in mind when you’re trying to overcome any sort of bad feeling about yourself, so try these out next time your combating negative thoughts. One is to validate yourself, to allow yourself to feel vulnerable during the tough times and tell yourself that it’s okay to feel pain and that you are on your way to feeling better. We often make the mistake of equating emotional feelings with weakness which is just simply not the case, feeling remarkable pain and being able to sit with it and think about it is one of the strongest things a person can do to help themselves. Secondly, reassurance is key. This is the ability to tell yourself that yes I am in pain but I can handle it even though it hurts. To reassure yourself is to know for certain that whatever is hurting in the moment is only temporary, knowing this makes all the difference in a time of body-hating stress. Lastly, the ability to take perspective is incredibly helpful here. This is where you can sit back from the situation at hand and say to yourself, “I have had to combat these feelings before and I have always made it through, I am strong and I have control over this pain.”
We hope these words of encouragement help, there is so much more we could say about this topic and we are sure this will not be the last time we discuss it. It is an issue with many traits that deserve immediate discussion. Remember that self care is never selfish, and the ability to send love to others will draw love back to you. #breaktheselfhatecycle
All photography by Maddy Hajek