If 2014 was the year of the big arse, it paved the way for a year that may have changed our perceptions of what bodies can look like in the public eye, forever, because 2015 has been the Year of Body Diversity.
This year something changed in advertising, online, in magazines and on the telly. Suddenly we’re seeing images of bodies we aren’t used too. Researchers from the University of Nottingham in Malaysia found we can change our preferred body types with just 60 seconds of exposure to different images.
Could this new phenomenon mean that what we find attractive in others and in ourselves is changing, for the better?
‘If we see different types and then we see them again, and we look for them and they are there again, then of course it [changes our perceptions],’ explains Psychotherapist and Author Susie Orbach. ‘But, if we just see one of them, they don’t hold sway. That’s why we need many many more images.’
Not only do we need brands and platforms to be giving us a diverse mix of images, but Susie believes that ‘consciously’ looking for different images would help us appreciate other people’s appearances and feel affection for our own.
So, let’s celebrate 2015’s best body diversity moments, and hope that in 2016 the trend continues and becomes the norm.
It kicked off last Christmas when Viktoria Modesta’s Born Risky campaign from Channel 4 was advertised during the X Factor Final. The 28-year-old model and musician was introduced as the world’s first ‘Bionic Pop Star’, with her incredible selection of prosthetics from The Alt. Limb company. The video got 6 million views on Youtube, 16 million views on Facebook and Viktoria signed a deal with IMG models in January.
The Game Changer
#ThisGirlCan launched in January with an advert showing women wobbling, sweating and generally being awesome while trying out different sports. This was Sport England’s behaviour-changing campaign to address the gender imbalance in sport and get more women moving, and it worked. The campaign is being credited for helping an extra 150,000 women do something active each week.
Caitlyn and Aydian on the Cover
This summer Vanity Fair broke the internet with Caitlyn Jenner as their first trans cover star and transgender male model Aydian Dowling was just pipped to the post in the Men’s Health cover competition, but not before recreating that naked Adam Levine photo.
Plus Size fashion is getting more exciting everyday. The market is growing and with instagram body-positive-hashtagging helping take down the body shamers, there have been so many plus size stars it’s hard to pick just one. But if we have to, it’s Dexter Mayfield, who tore up Marco Marco’s show at LA Fashion Week this October, body popping and skipping in heels down the runway to a standing ovation.
The Future Looks Different
Every year, the car manufacturer Pirelli produces a high end, glossy version of a lads mag calendar for an elite guest list. You know the thing. Shot by Terry Richardson. All swimsuits and Victoria's Secrets models looking that predictable kind of hot. This year however, for the first time ever, they asked Annie Leibovitz to photograph women picked for their achievements and character, not just model proportions. And some of them (like the amazing Amy Schumer) decided to take their kit off anyway.
Words by Deborah Coughlin