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Essay

Essay: My Fashion Body

by Milly McMahon on 23 August 2010

Journalist Milly McMahon considers the effects of fashion marketing in a personal essay.

Journalist Milly McMahon considers the effects of fashion marketing in a personal essay.

Effective fashion marketing is a physiologically and emotionally manipulative business. Creating images which exude perfection and supremacy, brands tactfully devise illusions their target audience feel subconsciously obliged to invest in. Subsequently the consumer is reduced to a more insubstantial and vulnerable state, a perfect sphere in which the suitably primed customer - ready to buy - is born. Common practice within the fashion and beauty industry, these tactics are definitely not a foreign concept which evade the general public awareness.

How then are ‘we’ not able to disconnect ourselves emotionally from such false aesthetics? Despite knowledge supposedly representing empowerment, society has become preoccupied with an ideal that now breeds more instances of obsession and depression than ever before. It is too easy to use ‘fashion’ as a scapegoat. The industry is not personable and so blame is perpetually shifted and progress is avoided. How can conceptions move forwards, if there is no understanding of why previous situations were so backwards?

The only way to challenge a regime blindly subscribed to en masse is to fundamentally change how you behave.

Working as a cultural journalist myself, directly involved in the world of high fashion, I have willingly propelled myself into this fast and ferocious cultural arena. Not one shy of challenges, but very aware of my personal weaknesses, I have come to gain real insight into my own psyche and inadvertent affectation of the imagery presented to me in regards to 'the fashion body'. Those around me seem to be influenced on different levels, leading me to believe that the cause is a combination of nature and nurture.

l have struggled with disordered eating patterns in the past, which reflect my own inability to separate self-esteem from appearance. I believe the exposure to an ideal fashion body was an influence. Sexy women sell magazines; a phenomena which will be employed for eternity. If it's not broken, then why fix it? So what if your body doesn’t fit the fashion mould? A seed is planted. The only way to challenge a regime blindly subscribed to en masse is to fundamentally change how you behave. To go your own way and fight the opposing tides. A battle I lose everyday and wonder if, by working and advocating the fashion business, I too am now partly contributing towards.

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