The Reality of "Real Women"
When I started Manic, I was a hot tempered 21 year old that was frustrated by the lack of appreciation for the metal music that I adored and the abundance of bullshit “fashion” that I was so sick of seeing (velour suits were a “thing”, and it was fucking rough). It’s been 6 years, and my master plan to paint the fashion world black is still well in motion, but my little brainchild has developed into so much more than just a clothing line. The mainstream fashion industry is absolutely dependent on the exploitation of two things in this world: low self-esteem and abusive sweatshop labor. My mission is to end both.
It’s going to take some serious baby steps, so let’s start with low self-esteem and body image. Although I realize that both men and women are heavily manipulated by society to fit into a certain body type, I still feel like the pressure is much stronger on women, and a lot of it is due to the animosity that occurs between women over this issue. Our society worships a shrine of unrealistic beauty standards and diet plans masked by overly photo shopped models and celebrities immortalized by plastic surgery. Women are constantly jumping through hoops and bending over backwards to get skinny, look younger, and be “perfect”.
Our perception of beauty is ever changing and always unattainable, but in the last decade or so, a new image came into play. REAL WOMEN. It started as an exciting retort against the pressure to be the stereotypical super model look-alike, and all of a sudden, it was everywhere.
"REAL WOMEN" have curves.
"REAL WOMEN" don't show too much skin.
"REAL WOMEN" work out.
“REAL WOMEN” skydive on the reg.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing or being any of the things I listed above, but the term “Real Women” has been twisted and mutilated into yet another long list of standards to strive for and feel insecure about.
Side note: ALL WOMEN are "REAL WOMEN. Doesn’t anyone notice this?!
The "Real Women" movement was introduced as an opposition to the beauty standards expected of women in the mainstream fashion industry, but rather than solving the problem by encouraging self-love and confidence, we just replaced the “skinny” body image with a “curvy” body image. It keeps a specific physical appearance on a pedestal and opens the door for even more manipulation of the female mind to keep us turned against each other.
Think of it this way: just as bodies come in all shapes and sizes, so does body shaming. Telling someone that you think they look disgustingly skinny is just as insulting as telling someone they look disgustingly fat, and body shaming in any form is just never necessary. I can’t tell you how often I hear “Oh well you’re just a skinny little thing, everything looks good on you. I could never wear that, I’m old and fat.” This is the perfect example of how ass backwards and twisted our perception of beauty is because when people say things like that, they think they’re complimenting me…
Using this "compliment" to my appearance as leverage to put yourself down is an insult to BOTH of us and a giant step backwards for all women. At the end of the day we're all still arguing, and trying to fit into society’s mold of the “perfect body”. Rather than building each other up and not letting our body type and appearance dictate our lives, we're continuing to put each other down and keep each other down.
As a designer, I pride myself in the diverse size range and personalities of my clients. I make a point to stop someone when they tell themselves they’re “too fat” or “too old” to wear or do something and remind them that they're beautiful. I push through all the sleepless nights, bite the bullet to endure the fiery sting of carpel tunnel, and hustle my ass off to hand make a line of clothing that makes you appreciate and love your body just the way it is.
Manic is more than a fashion line, it’s a movement. So let’s redefine and use this term to describe who we are instead of what we look like.
REAL WOMEN have confidence.
REAL WOMEN wear whatever the fuck they want.
REAL WOMEN don't give a shit about your bullshit beauty standards.
REAL WOMEN HAVE BALLS.
(Sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally)
All love starts with self love. Be confident in who you are, and fuck what everyone else thinks.