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Old 12th February 2010   #1
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Default Fashion's ''collective body dysmorphia'' (article)

Following up on the article that Meredith just posted, here's another infuriating expose of the fashion industry. This one deals with the situation of Gemma Ward, whose name has come up on the forum before. By going from anorexic-looking to merely very thin, she has suddenly become unbookable in the twisted world of fashion.

What makes the article so appalling is not so much what it says about Ward as what it reveals about the truly sick individuals who are in charge of fashion.

Anyone who doubts the accusations that are commonly posted on this forum that this industry literally promotes eating disorders needs only to read this excerpt:

In 2008, model Coco Rocha said that when she weighed as little as 108 pounds at 5' 10", she was told, "You need to lose more weight"..."The look this year is anorexic," Rocha recalled hearing. "We don't want you to be anorexic, we just want you to look it," they reasoned.
Unbelievable. How can any person say something like that? "We want you to look like you have an illness. And although we don't want you to have that illness, we don't care if your appearance triggers that illness in millions of other girls."

I.e., we don't want you to be a drug-user, but we do want you to be a pusher.

The picture of Ward in the article is horrible; she literally has her skeleton showing. Any weight gain at all could only improve her look, making her seem less sickly. But no, listen to the garbage that started to come out as Ward went from a 0 to a 4:

A year later, in fall 2007, the speculation over her size had turned into a steady drone. Says one fashion editor who attended Paris fashion week in October of that year, "Gemma was only walking in a handful of shows—Lagerfeld Gallery, maybe Valentino. I initially thought, 'She doesn't have to do them, she's making so much money in the big campaigns,' until I saw her on the [Chanel] runway… I almost didn't recognize her," says the editor, who confesses she was aghast. Compared to the other ultraskinny models, Ward looked as if she had gained 10 to 15 pounds, "big, almost bloated."
There is is again. THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH FASHION. Anyone who thinks that a size-4 model looks "big," let alone "bloated," is not even sane. Any person with that kind of perverted fetish for anorexia cannot be allowed to run the culture. And the fashion world is filled with people of that mindset.

Why is this allowed?

He says he was "aghast" at Ward's less-anorexic appearance? Looking at those supposed post-weight-gain picture, I was "aghast" too - at how skinny Gemma still was, still underweight, just not corpse-like.

One single person in the article expresses a modicum of sanity:

Says Olga Liriano, a New York City casting director and model booker...In the insulated fashion world, "we have a collective body dysmorphia, where we don't even know what normal is anymore, where a size 6 or 8 is overweight for a model."

Think about it - if even someone IN the business realizes that the industry has "collective body dysmorphia," if even the people running it themselves know that they are sick, why are they allowed to continue to foster this sickness on society?

The government needs to pass laws to stop this madness. The industry will never, ever change on its own. Despite supposed advances of plus-size models, the article notes, "critics say that in the more mainstream modeling world it's skinny business as usual." And it always will be, until someone puts a stop to this.
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Old 12th February 2010   #2
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Default Re: Fashion's ''collective body dysmorphia'' (article)

Horrifying as this article is, in exposing the toxic mentality of straight-size fashion, for me the most troubling passage is this one, which quotes a New York booker for full-figured models:

"The press about plus-size models has been amazing," says Dakin. But, he adds, "Let's not just talk about plus-size being 'hot.' Let's actually put those girls in the campaigns, that-big money cosmetics contract, that hair contract. I have 10 stunning girls on my board who are high fashion, who could do that job, but the clients have to go for it."

The idea of wanting plus-size models to be "high fashion" is problematic at best, and appalling at worst. I mean, both this article and the one that Meredith posted show quite clearly what is mean by "high fashion," and it's the opposite of timeless beauty; it's anything but a soft, feminine look.

Whether shown in magazines or on America's Next Top Model, the so-called "high fashion" look is a ghastly look; it's usually ugly, edgy, androgynous, and unattractive. That's not what a plus-size model should be.

Rather, full-figured models should be alternatives to this unnatural, repellent, modern look. I do NOT want plus-size models who look like straight-size models. If I wanted straight-size model looks, I know where to find them, thank you very much.

This is the kind of thinking that is really damaging to plus-size modelling -- chasing the approval of the "high fashion" industry. As evidenced by both these articles and every magazine and runway show that they produce, that part of the industry hates full-figured women and soft, feminine looks. To beg for acceptance from them is the kind of thinking that leads to plus-size models becoming ever-more faux-plus, becoming smaller and smaller and smaller, compromising the industry until there's nothing left, and full-figured women end up more excluded than ever.

Instead, what plus-size agents and bookers and clients and companies should be doing is seeking the approval of plus-size women (you know, their customers), not of the straight-size magazines. Plus-size agents shouldn't care whether "high fashion" editors and photographers like their girls. (If anything, the approval of those people, with their anti-plus aesthetic, should be a cause for concern.) They should care about what full-figured women want to see.

It's really the worst kind of betrayal, if you think about it. We all know that the people who work in straight-size fashion don't care about full-figured women; but if the people who work in plus-size fashion don't, if people who work in plus-size fashion care more about the approval of the size-bigoted magazine editors and designers and photographers than they do about curvy customers, then that's the worst insult of all -- and a really stupid attitude by the industry, to be frank.

The industry should be choosing plus-size models who are NOT "high fashion," because high fashion is anti-plus. It should be choosing plus-size models who are the opposite of high fashion, who are soft-looking, feminine, visibly full -- in other words, who possess all of the qualities that androgyny/anorexia-worshipping "high" fashion excludes.

If they don't, who will?
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Old 14th February 2010   #3
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Default Re: Fashion's ''collective body dysmorphia'' (article)

That is just so appalling. "Oh, no, we don't want you to be anorexic dahling, just look anorexic." That pretty much sums up what is wrong with the fashion industry. The fact that someone as skinny as Ms. Ward is considered 30 pounds too heavy is not only wrong it is outright disturbing. This corpse-girl fetish has got to go. We need a better world and a fashion industry that is full of individuals who understand that there is nothing beautiful about a skeleton. We need to have a Vogue that puts Kelsey Olson on the cover and has every spread feature modes who are at least a size 14. Then maybe the whole "for the sake of diversity" speech will be to tuck in one skinny girl at the back- for that is the ratio of curvy to thin women in the real world.
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Old 30th July 2010   #4
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Default Re: Fashion's ''collective body dysmorphia'' (article)

Originally Posted by Nazira
This corpse-girl fetish has got to go. We need a better world and a fashion industry that is full of individuals who understand that there is nothing beautiful about a skeleton. We need to have a Vogue that puts Kelsey Olson on the cover and has every spread feature modes who are at least a size 14.

Very well said, Nazira. In fact, this thread contains a host of particularly important points.

The explicit call by industry insiders for models who "look anorexic" is beyond appalling--it is criminal. The medical community has conclusively determined, time and again, that images of emaciated models trigger eating disorders. Thus, the industry is making the promotion of illness an explicit part of its modus operandi. It is literally saying, "We intend to promote eating disorders."

This is unthinkable. Has any industry ever openly expressed such a nefarious intent?

Obviously this demonstrates "high" fashion's callous indifference for the health of the models--because after all, how can a model look anorexic without being anorexic, or at the very least being in a state of perpetual starvation, which is just as bad? No industry on the planet would be permitted to enforce such lethal working conditions on its employees.

But what is especially appalling is the utterly contempt that this shows, on the industry's part, for the millions of girls who are its customers--or rather, its victims. Notice that while the industry makes the implausible request that models not actually be anorexic (merely look it), it makes no such provision for the public. Apparently, in the fashion industry's eyes, if the models are anorexic, this is inconvenient, but if the customers become anorexic, then that doesn't matter.

What do they care? If their customers sicken and die, more will always come along to take their place.

The statement that the industry suffers from "collective body dysmorphia" is both damning and absolutely true. It is like a world populated by lunatics, in which sanity itself becomes an oddity. (We use the term "lunacy" advisedly, for eating disorders are indeed mental illnesses.) It is like a society in which every single person is a strung-out drug user, where the one clean individual becomes seen as an irregularity--although that lone individual is in fact the only sane and healthy one.

This cannot be allowed to continue. The entire industry needs to be removed to rehab, and sane and healthy people need to be put in their place. If an entire school board of teachers is incompetent and is ruining children's lives by failing to educate them, yet it is being shielded by an internal culture of corruption, then that whole school board needs to be fired, not just the worst of a bad lot, so that the cycle can be broken.

Plus-friendly designers must replace the thin-supremacist designers. Pro-curvy photographers much replace curve-o-phobic shooters. Most crucially, plus-size models must replace anorexic models (whether those models literally are anorexic, or merely look it--which is just as bad, just as toxic, just as corrosive on the fashion industry's customer-victims).

And above all, the plus-size industry, which is the only alternative to minus-size fashion, the only force that can undo the damage that the straight-size industry does to women's body image, must not be corrupted by trying to follow the dictates of anorexia-pushing "high fashion." This would be like a healthy girl idolizing a sick girl and trying to become infected with her disease. Rather, plus-size fashion should inoculate itself against high fashion. High fashion must be quarantined and kept away, kept from poisoning the full-figured industry. Plus-size fashion must reject the degenerate aesthetic of modernist, androgyny-worshipping, anorexia-pushing high fashion, and instead celebrate its own aesthetic, its healthier aesthetic--the aesthetic of timeless feminine beauty.

Kelsey Olson (Dorothy Combs; Heffner), the plus-size industry's answer to Gemma Ward, modelling for Aurora Formals:

- Kelsey Olson galleries

Last edited by HSG : 30th July 2010 at 17:54.
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