New to DVD this week:
STRAIGHT/CURVE: REDEFINING BODY IMAGE
June 2017 (EPIX broadcast)
Julian Dubuque, Gold Coast
An exploration of the impact of unrealistic standards of beauty on perceptions of body image.
As suggested by the title of Jenny McQuaile’s documentary, her focus on body image is intimately connected to the fashion industry, where “straight” refers to industry standard-sized models – unrealistically thin but supposedly aspirational for the everyday person – while “curve” denotes models outside of this range and closer to the body type of most people. Size itself, however, is not the only industry-wide standard of beauty, of course, as people of color and older individuals have also tended to be excluded. Combined, this extremely limited definition of acceptable beauty has contributed to feelings of inadequacy and worse for those who don’t seem to fit the model, particularly young women whose inculcated insecurities drive multibillion dollar industries of weight loss, cosmetic surgery, and fashion. McQuaile assembles a range of experts, from fashion industry insiders and academics to non-standard-sized models and other advocates, to weigh in on the damaging impact of these unrealistic standards, and, importantly, to fight back with an empowering message of diversity, countering the flood of harmful images with a celebratory fashion shoot and exhibition deliberate in its inclusivity. While addressing a familiar issue, the film offers refreshing positivity and energy that helps to set it apart.