Israeli trendsetters see new diversity in beauty standards

In 2012, Israel was hailed for setting a global precedent by outlaw the use of underweight mannequins, as defined by a specific body mass index (BMI).

Motivated by an alarming rise in eating disorders, this groundbreaking legislation reflects how cultural shifts have shaped the appearance or measurement of women’s beauty throughout history.

Ten years later, as global gender norms and body stereotypes shift, has Israeli society managed to establish beauty standards that no longer turn women into carbon Barbie dolls?

To get a perspective on this issue from Israel’s pioneering city of Tel Aviv, ISRAEL21c asked local influencers, bloggers, makeup artists and modeling agencies to share their insights.

“I stopped running away from the camera”

Tali Arbelmodel and journalist for Wallah fashionstruggled with self-esteem as a young woman.

“I hated my whole image,” she tells ISRAEL21c.

“When I was 20, my father died suddenly. I used food to cope with his death and developed an eating disorder,” Arbel said. “I took a lot of weight and I couldn’t even recognize myself.”

It took personal strength and a shifting beauty standard to help Arbel find herself.

“I stopped running away from the camera. I started surrounding myself with other empowering women. I took a personal styling course and joined a mentorship program with Ray Segevwho was the first truly successful plus-size model in Israel.

Segev’s modeling agency at the time, Juicy, hired 40-year-old Arbel two years ago.

Tali Arbel wearing an H&M outfit. Photo by Lilach Zamir

“After everything I’ve been through, I felt on top of the world after an agency signed me. I started to feel worthy,” Arbel explained. to me because plus-size models were in fashion.”

Arbel said she can’t wear every trend she writes about “because they’re aimed at a specific body type or age,” but fashion trends in general now suit her. Type of body.

Tali Arbel wearing Alembika. Photo by Tomer Lupasko

“Women tell me they can relate when they see my body type because they know how the clothes fit.”

She advises, “You can always find your way into these trends. My belly was taboo for many years, but now I’m starting to embrace it. Crop tops are all the rage so I’m trying to wear more! It’s liberating not to think of any standard. Trends can set us free.

Yet, she says, “I don’t wake up every day feeling perfect. It’s a continuous journey of self-love. But I had to make a major transition.

It’s no longer a question of size

Makeup artist and beauty blogger Diti Messer also experienced a profound transformation.

“I lived in an apartment without a mirror for almost three years. I only had a small mirror in the bathroom but not for my body. I made this change after having a relationship with someone who told me I was fat. I stopped judging and criticizing myself and when I stopped that good things happened.

Messer comments that while supermodels were skinny, “in 2022, you see women with bigger butts or smaller breasts. It’s no longer a question of size, it’s a question of proportions. Consider the Kardashians; they are not necessarily skinny but they have beautiful proportions.

Social media e-commerce expert Meital Baranes (@Mitipretty) agrees.

“Once the Kardashians came on the scene, everything changed. Beauty, hair color and body type changed. They brought the curvier body and the Armenian look of long black hair.

Blogger and content strategist Yael Kimelman says it comes down to self-love.

“I’ve never felt pressured to look a certain way because I have a high opinion of myself,” she says. “Even though I’m getting older, I don’t feel the need to change anything.”

Unique looks bring success

“In recent years, the fashion industry has started to open up to more diverse looks that until now have gone unnoticed,” said Kama Idan, personal director of Tel Aviv-based modeling agency T4You.

“In the fashion industry, there is no specific look that dominates the field. It is the uniqueness of each model that brings them success.

Photo courtesy of T4 Modeling Agency

Similarly, HH Models Management owner Oren Mesika says, “I don’t think there is a specific standard. Of course, we need to know what customers are looking for in a model, but there is not just one profile.

Messer noticed that fashion brands are now looking for models with interesting features or eyes that tell a story. “If she can’t look at the camera in an interesting way, it won’t work.”

That said, there is still room for better standards in the modeling world.

“Many designers don’t embrace shorter models,” Arbel noted. “I’m not very tall and sometimes brands don’t want me because of that. It’s frustrating because these are strict standards.

Relaxed attitude

Outside of the modeling world, Messer has noticed that more and more Israeli women are undergoing minor cosmetic procedures such as lip fillers and Botox.

“These procedures have become cheaper, so now every woman can afford them,” Messer told ISRAEL21c.

Arbel says that if a woman thinks a little procedure will improve her confidence, she should go for it, but must consider how that decision may influence young girls: “They can send the message that you have to look a certain way and need a certain look. ‘a repair procedure.’

In a city like Tel Aviv, women may find it easier to embrace their unique look.

“The beauty of Tel Aviv is that it’s a mixture of types of beauty. In Israel in general, there are people from all over the world with different roots,” Baranes observed.

“There is a laid back approach when it comes to beauty and fashion standards. Even the dress code is cooler in the professional world [in Tel Aviv]”, said Kochavit Akunis of the fashion blog EIGHT30.

Akunis writes about how women can navigate their feminine or “beautiful” side in a masculine professional atmosphere.

“I think a lot of women who want to succeed in a male-dominated professional field dress conservatively because they’re afraid their co-workers will judge their appearance,” Akunis says.

“The idea behind my blog is that you can look bold, and you don’t have to avoid a feminine look even in a masculine environment.”

Akunis calls this philosophy “dressing to succeed”. She advises women to “use your looks and your style to tell the world who you are.”

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