Monday, February 22, 2010

backlash in the fashion industry

We're all aware, I think, that the ideal female body, according to Madison Avenue, is skinny, boyish, wan.  Designers apparently don't want anything to get in the way of their clothing - anything like breasts or hips - so they prefer the skinniest models that can be found.  Young girls manage to fit that requirement better than more mature women so there are many girls 16 and under who are modeling.  Their agents tell them to lose weight - just another 5 pounds - so they can get more contracts.  One young woman took a picture of herself and plaintively asked, "Where am I supposed to lose the weight from?  My bone mass?"  I think as you look at her, you'd have to agree that she is about as slender as a person can be. 

Here are some pictures from fashion shows which are startling if not disturbing for how unhealthy the models look:
These pictures and others like them actually led to a backlash in the fashion industry in 2006.  Another cause was the death of a model in Spain - she died due to complications linked to anorexia.  From that moment on, governments actually began to get involved to see if/how they could regulate the weights/sizes of models.  Some countries managed, but the industry complained that it was illegal to regulate weight - what if a model was just naturally skinny and couldn't gain weight?  Some countries did something about it.  Others didn't.

There was also a more general reaction to the problem as people became more aware of the issue.  There are many, many posts on blogs about it, and it was written about in many magazines around that time.  Here are some pictures which address the problem:

a cartoon showing how a very slender girls perceives herself

one of a series of billboards from Spain, I believe

As far as I know, this is an actually photograph of a real person.  It's hard to believe a person could actually cause herself to be so skinny. To me it's reminiscent of the concentration camp victims who would much preferred not to have looked that way. In a world where people are starving because there isn't enough food for them to eat, it's such an odd thing for people to starve themselves.  The range of possible ways to hurt oneself is immense and incomprehensible.
Presumably a parody

A hint of the posting tomorrow when real women's bodies begin to get seen as well.

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