The body image documentary "Straight/Curve" is finally here, and we chatted with the director
We’ve been eagerly waiting months for the Straight / Curve documentary to air, and the time has finally come. After months of (im)patience, we can finally watch the full-length Straight/Curve body image documentary in all its relevant glory.
For those unfamiliar with the director Jenny McQuaile’s vision, the Straight/Curve documentary features interviews with models, fashion designers, and body positive activists about the effects of media on body image. More importantly, it seeks to open up a larger cultural dialogue about everything from objectification to eating disorders, while giving examples of ways the fashion world can better physically represent the girls and boys it caters to.
Hellogiggles was lucky enough to ask director Jenny McQuaile a handful of questions over email about the process of making the documentary, but also, what she personally learned.
HelloGiggles: Was there anything surprising you learned about the fashion industry while making Straight/Curve?
Jenny McQuaile: One of the most surprising things I learned while making Straight/Curve: Redefining Body Image is that we are not educating our designers how to design, cut and drape for women over a size 8! That is preposterous in 2017, when over 67% of women in this country alone are a size 14 and over. In design schools across the US and the world, students do not have plus size mannequins to learn on, and there are no classes teaching design in larger sizes.
This is a fundamental problem with the fashion industry right now, and also a very easy one to rectify, as far as I am concerned. We need to start educating design students how to make clothes for women of all sizes. Then these clothes will exist and women won’t feel as marginalized by the industry. It will also help with sample sizes and mean more magazines can feature women of different sizes on their pages. The knock on effect of creating change in this one area could be HUGE.
And Emme, who is one of the characters in our film, speaks so well to this. She started a program called Fashion Without Limits at Syracuse University and you can watch the documentary to see more about how they are pushing the needle forward in design and leading the way for hopefully more design schools to follow.
HG: What are you hoping your viewers, young girls in particular, will take away from this documentary?
JM: I want young girls and boys, to watch Straight/Curve and feel less alone in their body image struggles. I want them to see their role models on screen also struggling on a daily basis. Accepting your body is a very long journey and it doesn’t happen overnight, and it isn’t easy. But that is normal and it’s important our next generation know this. I don’t want any young person saying “I can’t do that because of the way I look” or “people like me don’t do that kind of thing.” That thinking needs to be eradicated from our vocabulary once and for all, and I hope Straight/Curve can open a dialogue to take a step in this direction.
HG: Do you foresee a widespread body positive shift in the fashion world in the next few years?
JM: I think there has been a body positive shift since I started making Straight/Curve with my producers Jess Lewis and Yael Melamede two years ago. The industry has opened up gradually to using women of all sizes, ages and ethnicities. But it has to go way further. We did a very insightful panel discussion after our NYC Premiere of the documentary this week and designer Prabal Gurung spoke so eloquently about the need for the fashion industry and media to be accountable for their actions, and the need for us as consumers to also be accountable – and to hold brands, magazines, designers, creators of imagery and media accountable also.
We have a voice with social media that we did not have before and we have to use it to demand more inclusive and representative imagery of the world we live in. We have a responsibility to do this so our next generation do not have the same body image issues as we do.