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Old 22nd May 2007   #1
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Default ''Model Health Inquiry'' on, in Britain

Yesterday, the British fashion industry's "Model Health Inquiry" was launched -- a long-awaited internal response to the grotesque and inhuamn size-0 trend, and the spate of model deaths from self-imposed starvation.

An article in The Independent puts this inquiry into context:

Text below:

Size-zero debate: fashion industry is told to 'grow up'
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Published: 22 May 2007

The chairwoman of an independent inquiry into the fashion industry's relationship with size-zero models warned yesterday that it was time for the industry to grow up.

Baroness Kingsmill, a former deputy chairman of the Competition Commission, said stronger measures may have to be taken to protect young women aspiring to be top models.

She was speaking at the launch of the inquiry by a panel including a psychiatrist, an academic and leaders of the fashion world into the casting and selection process for models and the impact on their health of the demand for the super-skinny look.

But critics said it was hard to see how a minimum size could be imposed without incurring charges of discrimination.

The three-month inquiry, backed by the British Fashion Council, comes in response to growing disquiet about the risks of modelling to young women desperate to meet the industry's waif-like norm. The deaths of a Uruguayan model, Luisel Ramos, 22, and her sister, Eliana, 18, within months of each other last year fuelled the debate. Luisel died of heart failure after starving herself for days before a fashion show and Eliana died of a heart attack. In November, the death of Ana Carolina Reston, a Brazilian model aged 21 who lived on a diet of apples and tomatoes, sparked worldwide concern.

Leading actresses have condemned the pressures on young women. Kate Winslet said: "I feel very strongly that curves are natural, womanly and real." The demands on women to pursue size-zero figures was "unbelievably disturbing, " she said. Billie Piper, the former Doctor Who star, described the trend as disgusting.

Their views have been echoed by ministers. Rosie Winterton, the Health minister, said the impact on girls aspiring to be super-skinny was "deeply worrying," and the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, called for extremely thin women to be kept off the catwalk.

Last September, Madrid Fashion Week announced that it was banning models with a body mass index of less than 18, the lowest weight considered healthy, equivalent to 8 stone 4 lbs for a woman of 5ft 6ins.

The Italian government and leading couture houses joined forces to follow the example, banning ultra-thin models from Milan Fashion Week. However, fashion bosses in Paris dismissed a ban, while New York's Council of Fashion Designers of America revealed new guidelines to promote healthier behaviour, rather than rules on their weight.

London also refused to follow suit, with the British Fashion Council, which runs London Fashion Week, instead urging designers to use only healthy-looking models aged over 16.

Lady Kingsmill said the issue could no longer be ignored.

"It is time, in a way, for the fashion industry to grow up," she said. "It is a real and a very important industry and the people working within it have to be taken seriously and have to be treated well."

She added: "We are going to explore what the legal obligations are both domestically and internationally. There are lawyers who have said they could put up quite an interesting personal injury case on behalf of a model whose health has been damaged by her working environment or on behalf of a model who has been denied work because of her model size."

The most absurd element in all of this is the persistent, nonsensical idea that skeletal models could sue for "discrimination" if they were denied work because of being too thin. Insanity! As many people have pointed out on this forum, the fashion industry already discriminates on the basis of size. It does nothing but discriminate on the basis of size. It continually and universally discriminates against plus-size models, and denies them work, on the basis of their size. How hypocritical, even ludicrous, that this could somehow become an issue only if skinny models are discriminated against.

If a single underweight model sued for being banned on the basis of size, then each and every plus-size model in the world could sue for the same reason.

And as for having health damanged by their working environment, nearly every model in the world could sue on that basis. They have been forced to starve themselves into a debilitating and inhuman size for this career, and often introduced into environments in which smoking and narcotics are rampant.

This inquiry must be considered the fashion industry's last, last chance to reform itself. I doubt it will effect any change, though. And when the fashion industry fails to change, once again (as it has failed to change in the past), then government regulation, in the form of a flat-out ban on underweight models, and a mandate for using plus-size models (at least equal to Spain's response) will be absolutely and utterly necessary.
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Old 27th May 2007   #2
M. Lopez
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Default Re: ''Model Health Inquiry'' on, in Britain

It's good to see that this inquiry has been organized, but the premise is faulty (or rather, incomplete) to begin with. While the health of models definitely does need to be addressed, what the fashion industry really needs is a public health inquiry - that is, an examination of all of the damange that it does to the body-image and psyches of young women in society in general.

The fact that the fashion industry ruins the health of the models who work for it is bad enough, and should force a significant rise in the acceptable minimum size of models. But what is a thousand times worse is how this industry warps the minds and ruins the health of women in general - all those women whom it dupes into adopting its inhuman standards.

The anorexic fashion-industry "ideal" is like asbestos ceilings or lead fillings - something that is harming the health of the nation, and must be banned, once and for all, for the same reason. At the very least, like tobacco advertising, the promotion of this toxic standard should be severely limited, and fashion-industry ads and images should only be allowed general public visibility when they conform to a natural, full-figured ideal.
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Old 19th June 2007   #3
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Default Re: ''Model Health Inquiry'' on, in Britain

Originally Posted by Graham
Leading actresses have condemned the pressures on young women. Kate Winslet said: "I feel very strongly that curves are natural, womanly and real." The demands on women to pursue size-zero figures was "unbelievably disturbing, " she said.

Although not actually a plus-size actress, Kate Winslet appears to be a genuine advocate of size celebration.

Fans may have heard that she was recently enlisted to become the new face of Lancôme. Apparently, she only consented with the stipulation that her images not be digitally altered in any way:

Here's the pertinent info. Note the brilliant quote from Kate's sister about actual male preferences:

Kate refuses airbrush
by Luke Blackall. Tuesday, 19 June 2007

For most A-Listers, the airbrush is their way of maintaining the illusion of their perfect looks, not for Kate Winslet.

The Oscar-winning actress, who was recently revealed as the face of Lancôme’s Tresor perfume, only accepted the modelling gig if the company promised not to airbrush her for the poster campaign.

Anna Winslet, Kate’s older sister, told this week’s First magazine: “Kate and I don’t think men like skinny, pointy, spikey women. She feels women should be allowed to be the natural shape they are without having to conform into some sort of image that is never going to be what their make-up is really about.”

Not touching up an virtually unheard of in the cosmetics industry.

So Kate's stance is fairly unique.

Her attitude reinforces her strong resistance to the pressures on female celebrities to become stick thin to succeed.

She has repeatedly said she is happy with her normal size 12 appearance and recently won a case against a celebrity magazine who suggested behind the scenes she was as nervous as otherwise...

"Skinny, pointy, spikey women" - she's right, this is not attractive to most men; or at least, not to men who are attracted to women in the first place. Actual male preferences are the exact opposite, favouring soft, curvy, rounded women.

Although Kate's stance is truly commendable, this doesn't promise a size-celebratory campaign from Lancôme, since the photographic angles could be chosen to obscure Kate's womanly figure - and at a size 12, she isn't even plus-size to begin with. Still, Ms. Winslet's stance on these issues deserve considerable praise.
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