I thought it would be worth coming back to Marie's article, above, to confirm that the sentiments that were being expressed at the time were indeed too optimistic. I'd say that fashion was reverting to its usual, curve-o-phobic ways, but even that would be too positive, because it would imply that there ever was any substantial change. There hasn't been.
The only good things is that models are slowly starting to become whistleblowers on their industry. It's about time. Here's an article that I just came across, written by an older straight-size model, in which she condemns current fashion-industry practices.
First of all, I admire her for stating point-blank that straight-size models are
unhealthy. (And remember, she's speaking from first-hand knowledge.)
The great Kate debate
25 November 2009
It's incredible that the fashion industry is still using stick thin models to promote its clothes.
This makes my blood boil. I know from personal experience that not all these girls are healthy or eating the appropriate amount of food required to exist in normal day-to-day life.
They sacrifice their health for us to have the supposed fantasy of what is actually just the fashion designers' idea of what an 'ideal woman' should look like in their clothes.
The girls often only exist on meagre scraps of food...or, in extreme cases, cocaine.
These poor eating habits have even lead to cases of a few young fashion models dying. In 2006 two Uruguayan sisters - Eliana & Luisel Ramos, both models - died within months of each other after suffering heart attacks brought on by their eating disorders.
After these tragedies the Spanish and Italian fashion shows banned 'ultra-thin' models from their high-profile shows. Madrid's annual fashion show organisers even rejected 69 models that they considered underweight.
The British Fashion Week chiefs declined to follow suit, but insisted no size-zero models would be used at their shows that year. However, fashion houses have slipped back into using the size-zero models again during the latest shows, it seems.
Sure enough, any supposed "change" in the industry was fleeting; or rather, there was no actual change to begin with.
I appreciate how, in the following paragraph, she ridicules the whole idea of emaciation being an ideal:
Differing views on this issue are shown by a couple of examples from the fashion industry. Firstly Vogue's editor Alexandra Schuman recently appealed to major fashion houses to end this size-zero culture. But then American Instyle magazine's fashion director, Hal Rubenstein, told the BBC recently that women like to see these super slim models on the catwalks as they like to aspire to them. This sounds ridiculous to me. Do women around the world really want to aspire to being over 6ft tall and looking like a stick insect? I think not!
The sad fact is the fashion industry is still prejudiced about using real size models to sell their clothes. Most of us 'normal sized' women - whether we are short, shapely, tall or tiny - often have very little in common with the 6ft size-zero models that they try to impress us with in their outfits on the catwalks. Celebrities that are on our TV and cinema screens strive to be ultra thin, as we see with Victoria Beckham or Alexa Chung. This is not what us women want to see I'm sure.
Exactly. It's only what a small coterie of fashion insiders want to see, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with what most women favor, and even less to do with what heterosexual men find attractive. It's a case of a small group of like-minded individuals with alien values dictating to all of society what's correct and what's not. In short, it's a tyranny - no less.
The author points out a few small points of success, but these are glaringly rare.
I was pleased to see that, during the latest London Fashion week in September, fashion house Mark Fast used 'larger' models. The Canadian designer broke with convention and caused controversy by placing three size 12 -14 models on the catwalk to show off his figure-hugging knitwear designs. Because of his decision, a stylist and a casting director left before the show was put on, apparently feeling disgruntled and complaining it 'didn't look right'.
They were replaced by a more visionary couple who ensured the show carried on. Ultimately it was a success, which gained Mark huge praise and publicity for his Spring/Summer 2010 collection. He showed that...fuller figures girls can look equally stunning in his dresses.
Medical science proves that your body needs food and if you don't eat enough you get skinny and ill....During my modelling years I was required to be stick-thin...I do worry if the lack of calcium in my diet then has had a detrimental effect on my bones for the future. Fingers crossed it hasn't.
But again, it's the author's condemnation of the underweight standard that is most valuable.
Apart from the health issues, which worries me for our teenage girls who try to emulate these models and actresses, the whole concept of selling clothes using skinny models is bizarre. Why would we want to be skin and bone to look attractive? According to the latest surveys, men prefer their women to be curvy. Most clothes shops do not sell anything under a size 8, so why show women wearing size 4 (or is it zero) on the catwalks and magazines, if the clothes are not available in the high street shops for us?
Bravo to her for pointing out that freakish skinniness is neither healthy nor attractive at all. It's time for the promotion of this toxic standard to end, once and for all.