The fashion industry capitalizes on people's insecurities and manipulates them in ways that are hard on their body image so they will spend more money. At KindFamily, our clothes are not about how you appear to others, not about the ego. We hold the ego with love and care, but we are not driven by it. If you feel sexy or beautiful in our soft natural fabrics, that's great! But that's not the point. Our clothing is more about nourishing the soul than nourishing the ego.
Our style is also about helping to alleviate pressure from anyone feeling like they have to appear a certain way. Historically, societies across the globe have equated a woman's worth with her physical appearance and sexual utility. Fortunately, the past few decades in cultures around the world, women have been treated more as full human beings instead of second class citizens. But there are still a few millennia of baggage around a woman's worth being tied to her physical appearance. And many women have not been allowed to work outside the home in many cultures. Women in China had their feet bound for 1000 years to prevent them from doing so. Not being allowed to make their own money has forced many women to depend on a husband for financial survival. There are still 18 countries where women need their husband's permission before they can legally work, and 155 economies globally where women are hindered from earning money in one or more ways.* Being dependent on men ~ and being taught that for a man to want you, pleasing him with your physical appearance is of the utmost importance ~ has consciously and subconsciously put so much pressure on women to live up to societal beauty standards. At a deep level, it can feel like a matter of survival. Not to mention, living up to societal beauty standards has always been difficult for most women, but has literally become impossible in the age of Photoshop.
Also, in some cultures where women have worked outside the home in the past, such as Black and Latino cultures in the US, beauty standards have equated beauty with light skin and caucasian features, and many Black and Brown girls have internalized white beauty standards, and sometimes that negatively affects people's self-esteem. In most states in the US, Black women can legally be fired for their natural hair. Black children sometimes get in trouble at school simply for wearing their hair naturally. In many ways, the natural features of BIPOC people are not honored and appreciated, and white supremacist beauty standards actively work against many people.
Women are not the only ones with body image issues. Men also feel more pressure around body image nowadays, especially with social media. Gay men particularly tend to feel this pressure, as noted in a recent study, which found that about one in four straight men and over half of gay men felt pressure from the media to look attractive.** Transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks also deal with many of these body image issues, but oftentimes have added pressures related to how their appearance does not always neatly fit into the rigid gender expectations, as well as other body image issues.
Some people love their body. Many others want to love their body, but unintentionally have so much judgment or discomfort that they are prevented from loving their bodies. And some other folks have pain and trauma associated with their bodies, or other dynamics, and do not love their bodies and do not want to be asked to do so. We honor wherever you are in your relationship with your body.
Fortunately women are rising above oppression and being more and more respected in modern times. Girls and women are being appreciated for more than their appearance, for aspects such as their intelligence, capability, strength, courage, and other qualities previously considered to belong only to men. Since July of 2019, seven states and several cities and municipalities in the U.S. have made discrimination against people for their natural hair illegal, and more locations are are on their way to banning this type of discrimination. Let's lovingly support all genders in all races. In some ways, we still have a long way to go. But we celebrate all the ways the world is coming into balance.
* Thomson, S. (2015). Eighteen countries where women need their husband’s permission to work. World Economic Forum.
** Frederick, D. A., & Eassyli, J. H. (2016). Male body image: The roles of sexual orientation and body mass index across five national U.S. studies. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 17(4), 336 –351.