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Kaitlynn
12th February 2007, 07:31
A new article reveals some significant advances in the U.K. in the attempts to end the tyranny of thinness.

The full article is here, and it includes several news items pertaining to the issue:

"We'll have no Size 0 models" (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23385236-details/We'll%20have%20no%20Size%200%20models,%20pledges%20Fashion%20Week%20chief/article.do)

but the following excerpt notes the most important new development:

The London fashion industry was today facing a full-scale parliamentary investigation into its use of size zero models.

The chairman of an influential Commons committee wants fashion bosses to appear on live TV to explain whether the use of skin thin models is socially responsible...

Today Conservative MP Peter Luff, chairman of the trade and industry select committee demanded an all-party committee to launch an inquiry into corporate social responsibility, focusing on size zero models.

Around half his committee, including several Labour MPs, have already voiced support and he is due to put the proposal to the full committee next week.

Mr Luff told the Standard: “We are seriously considering launching a full-scale parliamentary inquiry. The key question is whether industry can be trusted to do things responsibly or does the Government have to intervene more aggressively to ensure that business behaves properly?

“I and a number of my colleagues on the committee would like to focus on size zero models. I would like to know if young women are being set the right example and can the industry be trusted to get its house in order without Government intervention?”

Any parliamentary inquiry would mean fashion bosses being summoned to Parliament to explain live on TV why they choose to use stick-thin models.

Mr Luff's intervention at the start of London Fashion Week is significant as he has a track record of successfully campaigning to protect teenage and younger girls.

He forced the magazine industry to introduce a voluntary code of conduct to stop exposing girls to very sexually explicit content.

The fashion industry is coming under increasing pressure at Westminster for using models who are an American size zero, the equivalent of size four in the UK, which most adults cannot achieve without threatening their health.
This is excellent news. What could these people possibly say? "I just want cadaverous models because I have a fetish for the way they look; who cares if women are dying? Only my preference matters."

That notion wouldn't pass the laugh test- it would be revealed for what it is, glaringly selfish, callous, and irresponsible- and yet, it is the entire basis of their "defence."

The part in the article that absolutely kills me, though, this is:

Models agents and Vogue editor Alexandra Schulman fears the models could accuse fashion houses of discrimination.
Unbelievable! First of all, this is just speculation, and I'll bet most models would relish beling allowed to eat a bit more normally, and to become a tad more shapely. Starving people don't sue when they are finally allowed to eat.

Second, as has been said before, exactly this type of "discrimination" has been institutionalized in the fashion industry for decades- discrimination against fuller-figured models. They HAVE been discriminating- they've been doing nothing but discriminating- so any talk of discrimination is grotesque hypocrisy.

That's what they actually want, after all- free reign to discriminate (against curvy women)- so for them to complain about "discrimination" is absurd.

M. Lopez
13th February 2007, 22:41
This is a powerful move - and extremely welcome. Note that the MP who proposed it is Conservative, yet he is being supported by Labour MPs as well. If there was ever an issue that transcends party lines and appeals to one's basic humanity, this is it.

The U.K. is rather schizophrenic on this issue. On the one hand, weight hysteria seems to be even more rampant there than it is in North America (if that's possible). But on the other hand, there is a growing movement there in favour of curbing the skeletal standard.

Perhaps the most unlikely British supporter of the underweight-model ban is, of all people, the reigning Miss England. I don't know if pageant winners have the same renown overseas as they do in the U.S., but Miss England's comments are unequivocally anti-starvation:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=TO1233966J&news_headline=miss_england_weighs_in_to_size_zero_row

Some highlights:

The reigning Miss England has hit out at "stick thin" size zero models and called for a law banning them from photoshoots...

The Oxford-based model said she was campaigning for London Fashion Week to ban size zero models, like the Milan and Madrid shows, claiming the ban and new legislation would save the lives of models and girls...

"It would help if London Fashion Week banned size zero models, but I think the government will have to bring in a law because more and more people are dying and suffering eating disorders.

"How many girls and models have to die before the Government takes action? They should ban size zero models from photoshoots for everyone's health because I'm sure the vast majority of models have eating disorders.

"Something needs to be done soon because I think the problem is just going to get worse. I was at the Clothes Show Live, which is aimed at girls as young as seven, and most of the models there looked gaunt and unwell.

"The catwalk is going crazy over absolutely tiny models, but I would never diet. I don't want to look like that and I don't want to risk my health, especially considering the look is unachievable without drugs."...

"Sophie Dahl was really famous for being a size 16 model, but suddenly she became a size 5. She was probably pressured from the models around her. It doesn't matter how well you're doing, if people around you are size four, you're going to feel f** and the pressure to slim."...

Green-eyed Eleanor said she loved her curves, but the fashion world wants models that look like men.

She added: "I was a fashion magazine that showed 'how to lose your wobbly bits', but I'm quite proud of my wobbly bits - if I didn't have them, I'd be a man.

The brunette said: "I'm debating whether or not to continue being a model because I've talked to friends about the pressures, I wouldn't turn down a contract but if they told me to lose weight, I'd quit.
Needless to say, she is absolutely reed-thin herself, which is why models like Charotte Coyle and Christina Schmidt are far better spokespersons (because they actually embody the values that they promote). Nevertheless, it's wonderful to see yet another person in the public eye making such a clear statement in favour of ending mandatory starvation in the fashion industry.

I also found a video interview with Miss England at the Sky News site, as I was reading the article featuring Charlotte. She is just as unambiguous in her statements here:

http://news.sky.com/skynews/video/videoplayer/0,,31200-missengland_130207_1200,00.html

MelanieW
16th February 2007, 10:30
If the U.S. fashion industry continues evading this issue, I could well imagine fashion execs being brought to testify before Congress, the way tobacco CEOs had to explain themeselves before Congressional committees some years ago.

Those appearances ended any remaining public support for the tobacco companies, and revealed just how pernicious they are. The same would happen if fashion insiders were called to justify their starvation requirements. They would be roundly condemned.


The Miss England TV interview is kind of interesting. She is too small to be subversive, but one of her comments really struck me. She recounts how the agencies that were turning her away for being too curvy described their working models:

[the agents said that] the girls on their books had "amazing" figure, and "the clothes hung really well off them." And at that point, I thought, "Don't use the word "hang," because the clothes shouldnt "hang," they should FIT.Such a simple point, but a crucial one. Clothes merely hang off bones, but they FIT on curves. And that is exactly why plussize models make better fashion representatives than waifs.

When more women rediscover the appeal of the fitted look over the "hanging" look (which isnt attractive at all), many of their body-image issues will disappear.

HSG
14th March 2007, 19:14
<br>This is a significant development, with ramifications at least as great as the advances in Madrid. The pertinent passage from the initial article deserves repeating:<p><blockquote><i>Today Conservative MP Peter Luff, chairman of the trade and industry select committee demanded an all-party committee to launch an inquiry into corporate social responsibility, focusing on size zero models . . .

Mr Luff told the Standard: "We are seriously considering launching a full-scale parliamentary inquiry. The key question is whether industry can be trusted to do things responsibly or does the Government have to intervene more aggressively to ensure that business behaves properly?

"I and a number of my colleagues on the committee would like to focus on size zero models. I would like to know if young women are being set the right example and can the industry be trusted to get its house in order without Government intervention?"

Any parliamentary inquiry would mean fashion bosses being summoned to Parliament to explain live on TV why they choose to use stick-thin models.</i></blockquote><p>What could possibly indicate that the fashion industry has any desire or inclination whatsoever to behave responsibly, or to end its requirement that models be emaciated? Given the personality types of the individuals who hold power in the fashion industry, it is more likely that they will dig in their heels, like all juveniles, and insist that they be allowed to do whatever they want.

Look at what happened with cadaverous Kate Moss. Her drug abuse had industry types falling over themselves to throw new contracts at her. And no wonder. Her behaviour reflects their own immoral lifestyle.

Most designers have a reflexive impulse to tear down any even remotely healthy or civilized cultural values. You may be sure that the furore over anorexic models doesn't have them racked with guilt, but rather, secretly cackling in glee at the thought of annoying "Middle America," the "middle class," the "bourgeoisie," or any other chimerical entity against which they define themselves.

The prospect of having designers and fashion editors forced to publicly justify their abuse of society is a rich one. Their arguments would collapse under their own inconsistencies. In a mixed-message piece titled "The Incredible Shrinking Model," from <i>New York</i> magazine, writer Emily Nussbaum revealed the absurdity of the fashion industry's arguments in favour of cadaverous models:<p><blockquote><i>I hear two dominant theories. The first is that fashion is aspirational. There's makeup; there's lighting; it is intended to be extreme, not realistic—to inspire envy, by providing a vision of an impossible life the audience member would love to live . . .

The other theory is that the girls need to be skinny because they need to be invisible. Clothing stands out best when the body is a blank . .

But, of course, <strong>these two explanations are diametrically opposed. In the first vision, the models must be thin so people look at them. In the second, they must be thin so that no one will notice them</strong>.</i></blockquote><p>Bingo. These arguments are completely contradictory. One negates the other.

And in fact, both are false. Clothes do <i>not</i> stand out best when the body is a "blank," but when they fit on a well-fed body with womanly curves.

Moreover, today's malnourished models are not "blanks" at all. They are so withered-looking, that viewers consistently fail to notice what they're wearing, and instead find themselves transfixed in horror at their jutting bones and leathery skin.

And glamorous images of plus-size models would create far superior <i>"extreme"</i> images of beauty, and create a far more compelling image of a <i>"life the audience member would love to live,"</i> than images showing starving waifs.

Consider the incomparable allure of Christina Schmidt (Wilhelmina). Every girl would want to be her; ever guy would want to worship her. No skinny waif could ever match her "extreme" beauty, and hers is the "life that every audience member would love to live." And any and ever article of clothing would look better on her voluptuous figure than it would on a rail-thin cadaver.

And she knows it.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/cs/christina77a.jpg"></center><p>There is no need whatsoever for the fashion industry to be killing models, and causing eating disorders. It can achieve superior aesthetic results with the well-nourished beauty that plus-size models embody.

And if it doesn't--if it continues to foist a toxic standard of appearance on society, a standard that ruins countless girls' lives, both directly and indirectly--government intervention will be the only solution.