Modelling. This word can ignite connotations of neglecting natural beauty for unrealistic image standards, and expectations to conform to certain levels of beauty. But does Instagram modelling seems to be changing this? There are obvious differences between runway modelling and Instagram modelling, but are they really that different in terms of the pressure that models feel to look a certain way?
Looking at some of these differences, first and foremost, the most obvious difference between these is the physical appearance of the models. Runway models have always been expected to be extremely tall and skinny. Even with the emergence of plus size models, there is no inclusion for women who are in the realms between plus size and being ‘model’ skinny. But what about Instagram modelling? This is much more about accepting your own body. Many Instagram models are promoters of body confidence, and so instead of promoting losing weight to an unnatural level, they show that you can look good in pictures no matter what your shape or size is.
This leads on to how the message that both models are trying to promote is fundamentally different. Where runway models have to maintain a certain body form to fit into certain clothes. But on the other hand, Instagram models do not have this same pressure. They wear clothes that they decide on or are sponsored to wear, in any size that they wish. They show how beautiful they can make these clothes look, with their OWN bodies, and consequently they receive messages from viewers saying that they have inspired them to be self confident. This begs the question, is runway modelling about the product that the models wear, whereas Instagram modelling is about loving the body that the clothes just cover?
“They show how beautiful they can make these clothes look, with their OWN bodies, and consequently they receive messages from viewers saying that they have inspired them to be self confident.”
If this is the case, then how stressful is it for both Instagram and runway models to carve their bodies to these messages? Runway models are expected to live a certain lifestyle. As one model put it, runway modelling is not a job, it is a lifestyle. You HAVE to be skinny to be accepted, and a lot of the modelling beauty standards rely on inheriting good genes. This is evidently stressful for the runway models; is it the same for Instagram models? Well, the use of photoshop by many suggests that they also experience pressure. Where some models do show their imperfections, like cellulite, as a way of showing being natural, on other photos they photoshop to make their bodies look just slightly different. This could be as small as editing their thighs to look skinnier, or removing bags under their eyes. This suggests that although there is not the pressure to be extremely skinny, surely they are still experiencing pressure to change how they look in their natural state.
So, on the surface runway models may be thought to have unrealistic beauty standards to conform to and Instagram models are trying to break this tradition. But although they do promote natural states of beauty, they also feel pressures from society to look a particular way. Maybe, then, perhaps the modelling industry in general is just pressuring women to not be happy with their bodies, no matter which sector of modelling is examined
“But although they do promote natural states of beauty, they also feel pressures from society to look a particular way.”
Last modified: 11th October 2019