How encouraging to find Dr. Dittmar's name in the press. We have long had the greatest respect for her work, and hoped that she would someday speak out publicly on this topic.
It is endlessly frustrating to hear fashion-industry insiders, and even some individuals in the size-acceptance movement, making the ludicrous claim that anorexic-looking models do not cause eating disorders. Of course they do! Decades of research by Dr. Dittmar and (as the articles notes) literally hundreds
of other colleagues in her field has long since proven the link. At this point, anyone denying the connection is as misguided a member of the Flat Earth Society. The evidence is irrefutable--but it has been locked in university circles and confined to academic journals, leaving fashion-industry apologists free to deny reality.
Both Dittmar in England and Boyer in France are adopting the best approach this crisis, the only approach that has any chance of making a real impact: through government legislation.
As Hannah observes,
Originally Posted by Hannah
no amount of public opprobrium or even media hostility will ever make the fashion industry change. If anything, it makes them dig in their heels even more. That's the type of personalities that we're dealing with.
Remember, these are people who often live drug-addled and immortal lifestyles. Breaking the law, living lives that everyone scorns, that's what they do. Their whole culture is a promotion of toxic lifestyles. Why should it surprise anyone that they push this kind of unhealthiness as well?
No, Boyer is right. Only government legislation, strictly enforced, will ever finally put an end to this blight on society.
And yet the androgynous, emaciated look is so very unnecessary. The purveyors of this destructive aesthetic are merely using commercial interests as an excuse to throw their perverted lifestyles in people's faces. It's an entirely juvenile impulse, a perpetual "Nyah, nyah"
to long-gone parental figures, a raised middle finger to everyone outside of their circle; a pure expression of their contempt for women, for Middle America, for society at large, and for anyone who isn't them; a puerile "We're gonna do what we want and you can't stop us"
mentality--the attitude of a delinquent adolescent, intent on defacing anything of beauty out of pure spite, and of putting ugliness in its place to make it an expression of his own warped soul.
But it is even more serious than a cultural blight, because actual human lives are ruined by their unnatural standard. As Kaitlynn says, "ads promoting emaciation should be banned outright as being the triggers of potentially fatal illness."
Dittmar's research has conclusively demonstrated that plus-size models are just as effective at selling products as waifs, so long as the full-figured models are beautiful; furthermore, that they improve rather than damage women's body image. But this should come as no surprise to Judgment of Paris readers--or, for that matter, to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of history.
Here is the third in our series of ads featured the gorgeous Hilda Clark, the contemporary of Lillian Russell, and an actress who possessed a similar fair-featured, round-faced look--the look of timeless beauty. Although the picture is regrettably small, it shows how stately and buxom she was, how full a figure she possessed. The fact that she wears a corset is regrettable, of course, and prevents one from forming an accurate impression of the breadth of her waist. But judging by her voluptuousness, which is even more marked than that of Lillian Russell, and by her round arms and full facial features, she may have been even more generously proportioned than Lillian. Yet she obviously managed to sell Coca-Cola perfectly well. (Her contract was renewed for a second campaign after the first season was completed.)
Such images of timeless beauty met every advertising need a century ago. Models with a similar kind of soft, full-figured beauty--i.e., plus-size models--could fulfill the same advertising needs today, yet in the process they would boost women's self-esteem rather than destroying it.
- Yes, ads can benefit body image