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Old 21st September 2008   #1
M. Lopez
Senior Member
Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 587
Default Underweight-model catalog withdrawn

Here's a rare example of very good news. A Canadian retailer has withdrawn its own catalogue after it deemed that the models that it used were too thin.

Here's the link:

And the pertinent text::

Simons recalls catalogue with skinny models

Lynn Moore, The Gazette
Published: Wednesday, August 27

A decision by retailer La Maison Simons to denounce its own fashion catalogue for using too thin models and withdraw it from the marketplace was hailed by Quebec's health minister and an eating disorder expert.

On the heels of complaints about a junior women's fashion catalogue, company president Peter Simons said he pulled the catalogue in a bid to remove images from the public domain that are "unsuitable" and don't align with his company's values.

The 36-page colour catalogue - with a print run of about 450,000 - features Simons' Twik brand and photographs of thin, young women, who display more bone than flesh.

Those images are "destructive to a more vulnerable portion of the population which is exposed to anorexia," Simons told The Gazette from his office in Quebec City. The family-owned chain has seven stores in Quebec with roots in the province going back to the early 1840s.

Peter Simons apologized for the catalogue produced by an in-house team, saying that he was "disappointed" in himself. Recently returned from vacation, Simons said that he didn't see the catalogue until after complaints rolled in.

"We are into social responsibility here. I'm fully aware of what it is and I'm taking full responsibility for (the catalogue). It's my job to ensure that we are a constructive actor in the community," Simons said.

"I should have done better. I should have seen it."

Quebec Health minister Yves Bolduc congratulated the company for reacting promptly to the complaints.

"Anorexia is a serious issue and I think Mr. Simons did the right thing. It sends a message to the teenagers that they can be healthy, have a suitable weight and that they don't need to be ultra-slim," Bolduc said yesterday...

There is a growing awareness in the fashion and entertainment industries that the glamorization of overly thin people is irresponsible and wrong, he said.

Yesterday, Pavilanis praised the stance taken by Simons.

"If you make a mistake, recognize it and take corrective action, it is to be ... applauded," Pavilanis said. "The best thing is not to make a mistake ... but next best is to take corrective action."...

Simons said that this week he has been responding to about 200 clients who "took the time to write, ... the vast majority in a very constructive way" about the catalogue....

Earlier this year, France adopted a bill that would criminalize the promotion of anorexia. The bill would make it illegal for anyone, including magazines, websites and advertisers, to promote or encourage extreme thinness or severe weight loss.

Organizers of the Montreal Fashion Week took steps to ensure that models who are sick or emaciated do not parade on catwalks here.

It may be a small step, since truthfully, almost every single fashion catalogue on the market should be withdrawn for using underweight models, and for promoting anorexia.

But it's a step in the right direction. Let's hope that other companies follow suit.
M. Lopez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st September 2008   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Re: Underweight-model catalog withdrawn

The point that one of the individuals quoted in the article makes -- about how it's better not to commit the offense in the first place -- is well taken.

Normally, I would dismiss this as just a publicity stunt, but one fact makes me think that perhaps the move was genuine:

[Simons] refused a request to supply a copy of one of the offensive photographs in the catalogue in a bid to expedite matters.

"You find the images, you could (use) them. I'm not proud of what I did," he said.

If he were just trying to get a little free publicity, he would have provided the press with as many of the images in question as possible. That's the typical cynical publicity route, which you see in the media all the time: magazines supposedly decry the thinness of models or celebrities, but in the process post huge pictures of those celebrities, and therefore actually promote them and their emaciated look.

Simons' refusal to provide the images suggests genuine regret on his part.

It would be nice if this weren't just an isolated event, but an indication of more responsible size-positive advertising practices in the future. Time will tell.
Emily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2008   #3
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Underweight-model catalog withdrawn

This is an encouraging development, although, as Emily points out, the fact that it is rare to the point of being singular is sobering. Indeed, accepting the basic premise that "the glamorization of overly thin people is irresponsible and wrong," which it indisputably is, then there is hardly a magazine or ad campaign anywhere in the fashion industry that doesn't need to be withdrawn.

How gratifying that the article took note of the proposed French bill to "criminalize the promotion of anorexia." Every country should have such a law. It is incredible to think that the fashion industry has been allowed to literally promote a life-threatening disease for so long.

And it is all so unnecessary. Full-figured models are infinitely superior at promoting fashion than underweight models ever could be. Consider this intensely alluring image of Casey (Wilhelmina). Observe how the dress tightly embraces her every luscious contour. It is the fullness of her bust, as well as her considerable reverse-view curves, that make the garment so attractive. The crimson colour bespeaks the sinfulness of the wearer--for only a transgressively self-indulgent model could ever develop such womanly proportions. The excitement of the image is wholly dependent on the fullness of the model's figure. With a gaunt, bony waif in her place, the image would be dull and pointless.

Incidentally, long-time readers of the site will be aware that Casey's picture recalls a famous Lillian Russell photoshoot in which the "American Beauty" was photographed in various positions before her full-length mirror. (Observe the fullness of her bust and arms.)

And of course, both pictures harken back to the Classical motif of "Venus at her Mirror," depicted most famously by Rubens in his iconic Baroque masterpiece:

- Venus before the Mirror
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