Charli Howard, a 23-year-old model from London, is not what most agencies consider “model” size, but she doesn’t give a damn.
This week, Howard posted a fantastic, body-positive photograph on her Instagram. Howard sported a picture of her lower butt and back of her thighs, cellulite and all, with a long caption that summarized how she felt about her body.
She wrote about how she is an extremely active person, but she still could never get rid of her cellulite. She said she went to an all-girls boarding school where she constantly saw seemingly “perfect” girls. However, after some time and acceptance, Howard has learned that something as minor as cellulite isn’t going to ruin how she feels about herself.
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Howard wrote on Instagram. “Your boyfriend isn’t gonna care if you have it, and if he does, dump him for his mate. Just kidding. Or am I?”
Howard tackles an issue that hundreds of thousands of women face every day in a funny and relatable way. As a woman who was fired from her modeling agency for being a size six, Howard doesn’t let anything stand in the way of her goals. She embraces everything about her body and knows that something like cellulite doesn’t change a person’s worth or beauty.
Howard started a foundation called All Woman Project that aims to “better the life of girls and women worldwide by displaying a true, beautiful, positive and unretouched image of women in photo and video campaigns throughout the year,” according to its website.
This foundation stands for the right for all women to look however they please.
“We believe size, age or color doesn’t limit us as models or as women,” the foundation wrote on its website. “We believe all body shapes, ages and ethnicities deserve to be represented in fashion and in the media, helping girls worldwide feel positive and confident about themselves, regardless of what they look like or whatever ‘flaw’ they might think they have. We love an un-retouched beautiful woman!”
Many brands such as Aerie, Dove and Modcloth have chosen to run advertisements that feature unretouched photographs of models. It’s strange and sad that some people who work at big clothing companies are just realizing now that they are misrepresenting the average woman. Not only that, but they are creating false realities for girls and young women to look up to.
The average American woman is five feet four inches and weighs about 140 pounds and the average clothing size is 12 to 14. The average model in the U.S. ranges between size zero and double-zero. Most of these models are between age 14 and 19 before they are even done developing completely, according to Healthy Horns, a university health service website.
Advertisements, publications and clothing brands should be honest with their audience and respect every model’s body because they are partly responsible for how young men and women view themselves. Magazines such as Seventeen and Darling Magazine do their part in not allowing Photoshop to alter their models. More companies need to take responsibility and honestly show the world what real women and men look like.
Email Laura Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org