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Emily
31st July 2007, 16:55
Here is some encouraging news from Australia. The Perth Fashion Festival has banned underweight models (any model under a size eight) from its shows.

The festival director has made some powerful statements explaining the reasons behind this ban. At last, someone is acknowledging that the fashion industry has a responsibility to the health of young women -- to say nothing of the models themselves.

The article appears at the following link:

http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,22149536-5008620,00.html

Here is the majority of the text:

Festival bans skinny models

July 28, 2007 04:00pm

ULTRA-THIN models will be banned from this year's Perth Fashion Festival, amid fears that some young women starve themselves to make it big in the modelling world.

Festival director Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan said yesterday she expected the move to put her at odds with modelling agencies and designers, but she didn't care. She said she would not accept girls who were under size eight.

The skinny-girls stance has ignited debate about whether modelling is a safe environment for young, impressionable women, with Health Minister Jim McGinty and Perth health professionals airing concern about growing numbers of youngsters and young adults being treated for eating disorders.

Anthea Fursland, who helps people with eating disorders at a clinic in Northbridge, said she was treating two former models -- a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old -- for anorexia.

Ms Harvey-Hanrahan said she wanted to project an image of healthy models, rather than girls who looked like they needed a good feed...

"They just won't be in the festival if they are too thin,'' she said. ``I am going to send them away.

"Agencies may say it's not up to me what a model should look like. But I have a responsibility to these girls.

"One girl who cast for the festival was just skin and bone. She looked horrific. I just wanted to take her, give her a big hug and put my arm around her and say `Come home with me for some pasta '.

I wanted to ring the agency and say `You guys have a responsibility to these kids'.''

Mr McGinty said anorexia was the third most common chronic illness in girls and young women in WA, affecting one in 100 young women.

"Very thin models should not be held up as an ideal,'' he said. ``Women with a body-mass index below 18 may stop menstruating, their hormonal system stops working properly and they may experience an irreversible loss of bone density.

"Low BMIs also put enormous strain on the heart and can lead to dangerous heart malfunction.''...

Princess Margaret Hospital clinical psychologist Julie McCormick said PMH was seeing about 80 new patients a year with eating disorders. At present it was treating 200 children for eating disorders, including some as young as eight with anorexia.

Dr Fursland said her clinic, the Centre for Clinical Interventions, was treating about 350 people for eating disorders and there were long waiting lists.

Victoria has been experiencing similar problems, with Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital struggling to cope with a sharp increase in girls with anorexia.

Hospital admissions of girls aged 10 to 13 increased from three in 2003 to 43 last year.
If only more fashion events would follow this example. The size-eight cutoff is quite sensible. Straight-size models should run size 8 to 12/14, and then plus-size models should begin at size 14/16, and feature all sizes higher than that. Anything lower can only lead to potentially fatal eating disorders (including the tragic case of the "skin and bones" model whom the director refers to in the article, or the two models being treated in the hospital for anorexia).

Graham
4th September 2007, 01:52
"One girl who cast for the festival was just skin and bone. She looked horrific. I just wanted to take her, give her a big hug and put my arm around her and say `Come home with me for some pasta '.
Actually, I think even many plus-size models would look better if they indulged in some pasta - it could only enhance their beauty.

But the issue is a very serious one, and you have to applaud the director of this festival for her unambiguous statements, and for backing up her words with actions. Finally, here is someone in the fashion industry who sees how dangerously underweight all straight-size models truly are.

With various international fashion weeks coming up, the British newspaper The Daily Mail recentrly reprinted its heartbreaking article from last year about Ana Carolina Reston - one of the models who literally starved themselves to death because of the fashion industry's malignant insistence on emaciation.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=479286&in_page_id=1879

I realize that this article was discussed on this forum when it was first printed a year ago, but it definitely deserves re-reading. Everyone should keep in mind how high the stakes really are, when it comes to reforming the fashion industry.

It is quite literally a matter of life and death.

HSG
15th September 2007, 13:40
Ms Harvey-Hanrahan said she wanted to project an image of healthy models, rather than girls who looked like they needed a good feed...

"They just won't be in the festival if they are too thin,'' she said. ``I am going to send them away.

"Agencies may say it's not up to me what a model should look like. But I have a responsibility to these girls.

This is an extremely rare example of a fashion-industry professional actually recognizing the extent of the problem, and doing something about it. Her point about "responsibility" gets to the crux of the matter. Of <i>course</i> the fashion industry has a responsibility to its models--and to the public at large. It should no more be allowed to starve its models than other industries can put workers in life-threatening situations. And likewise, it should no more be allowed to produce anorexia-inducing images than other industries can sell products that induce lead poisoning, or spread e-coli bacteria.

Everyone treats the fashion industry as if it alone has the right to do whatever it wants, and poison the culture. And since most fashion-industry professionals (apart from the organizer of this Perth festival) display no willingness to behave in responsible manner, they must be compelled by the government to do so--for the good of young women everywhere.

The irony, of course, is that the emaciated standard which the fashion industry mandates isn't even remotely attractive. A fuller-figured ideal would not only be healthier (as Ms Harvey-Hanrahan notes), but would be more beautiful. It would create a more irresistible aspirational fantasy for fashion-industry consumers, and would therefore promote clothing in a more compelling and effective manner.

A shift towards a plus-size ideal would be better for business, and better for society as well.

The healthy, well-fed, luscious blonde beauty of Sarah Cummings (IPM Management), 42-<strong>36</strong>-48:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/sarahc02.jpg"></center>