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Old 2nd October 2006   #1
M. Lopez
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Default Growing momentum against emaciation

The fight against the hegemony of gauntness is gathering steam - or at least, I hope it is. One British news source notes that readers would rather see semi-curvy models like Charlotte Church and Kelly Brook on the runway that Kate Moss and her starving ilk: 009798

It would have been preferable if the list had offered readers the choice of some plus-size models - particularly Charlotte Coyle, since this was a British survey. However, it should come as no surprise that the relatively curvier celebrities were favoured over the supermodels.

Kate Winslet has also commented on the issue. The article is a mixed affair, but the relevant portion is as follows:
For years, Kate has been outspoken about her refusal to lose weight to conform to the Hollywood ideal and when GQ magazine published photographs of her which had been airbrushed to make her look thinner, she issued a statement saying that the alterations were made without her consent.

So it's no surprise that she has strong views on the controversy surrounding overly thin models in fashion shows.

"Women shouldn't be under pressure to conform to a ridiculously perfect body image," she says.

"It's not even perfect - it's both unreal and unhealthy. I don't want my daughter or other girls growing up thinking that you have to look thin to be considered attractive or normal. Women shouldn't be under this intense kind of pressure to correspond to this impossible standard of what we should look like to feel secure and comfortable in clothes. The situation (in fashion) is out of control.

"I hope I can offer women some support in not feeling awkward or unattractive if you're not thin.

"I want to stay normal and true to myself and be a different kind of role model to young women

I was particularly gratified to see someone finally point out that the underweight look is NOT PERFECT. If I have to listen one more time to people complaining about how models and actresses have "perfect" bodies, I'll scream. Perfect how? Perfect like a corpse?? There is nothing "perfect" about a body with bones jutting through the skin, or with a skull visible beneath tissue-thin flesh. That is about as imperfect a look as I can imagine.

A perfect beauty is a curvy beauty, a well-fed beauty, free of the imperfections of sunken cheeks and protruding bones...
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Old 2nd October 2006   #2
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Default Re: Growing momentum against emaciation

Here is another powerful indictment of anorexic fashion, and a solid argument in favour of changing fashion-industry standards:

It's the final paragraph, of the text that I've posted below, that is most significant. It reinforces Winslet's point that this isn't "perfection" at all, but freakish ugliness, and the problem is endemic to the minus-size fashion industry as a whole:


Link between bony models, anorexic teens isn't a fantasy

By Sue Hutchison

Mercury News

Posted on Mon, Oct. 02, 2006

The rarefied denizens of the fashion world may have rolled their eyes over last month's flap about skeletal models being banned from the runway during Madrid's Fashion Week, especially when arbiters of the runways in London and Milan said they were considering following suit. But the reaction among the staff of the eating disorders clinic at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford was nothing short of jubilant.

``Everybody on our unit was really excited about this,'' said Dr. Cynthia Kapphahn, acting director of the division of adolescent medicine at Packard. ``Kids are incredibly affected by media images, and models are still held up as the `perfect' standard.''

But some models attain that standard at their own peril, as evidenced by the death of Luisel Ramos, an Uruguayan model who may have starved herself into heart failure so that she could achieve the mandated look of a walking design-sketch on the runway. Granted, there's nothing new about models who are impossibly thin, but the recent scary-skinny style of protruding collar bones and rib cages has even veteran fashionistas gasping.

Industry too blase

Liz Jones, former editor of the U.K. edition of Marie Claire magazine, recently wrote an opinion piece in an Australian newspaper and recounted her concern about a model she saw during London's fashion week. ``Her back was so cadaverous, her arms and shoulders so eaten away,'' Jones wrote, that she called the model's agency to see if the woman was all right. But no one would take her call.

That sort of indifference and even scorn toward those who dare question the prevailing fashion aesthetic is a sign that the micro-thin standard is so embedded in the culture that it's almost impossible to think of it changing. There have been glimmers of hope, such as the emergence of big and beautiful cover-girl Queen Latifah, but the standard of beauty is still stick-thin -- even as this country continues to eat itself into an obesity epidemic.

Sphere of influence

Anyone with a teenage daughter who posts pictures of models from fashion magazines in her room knows that designers have a powerful influence on girls' images of what they should look like. And the decision in Madrid to ban models who have a body mass index of less than 18 -- which is barely over 120 pounds for someone 5-feet-9-inches tall -- seems only barely reasonable.

``Drawing a line at the behaviors that create this is a good idea, but the real issue is why people are designing with this look in mind,'' said Deb Burgard, a Los Altos psychologist who specializes in treating eating disorders. ``If Web sites were designed in a way that was as obtuse and art-schoolish and weird as high fashion, they'd be laughed off the Internet. Why do we tolerate designers who don't design for real bodies?''...
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Old 3rd October 2006   #3
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Default Re: Growing momentum against emaciation

Id like to add a link here. This is a transcript of an interview with a model - a straight-size model - who comes out and reveals just how miserably most models starve themselves:,2933,217100,00.html

Its heartbreaking - but it also makes me angry that this has gone on so long, and everyone has tolerated it.
CURRY: Just as any other industry with underage people in it, this industry should be regulated, too. It is one of the last industries that exploits children and it is not regulated. And that's why these problems are happening.

These are really impressionable young girls who are told they're overweight when they are not and go to drastic measure to lose the weight. And I've lived in models' apartments and let me tell you, I have seen some really ugly stories.

GIBSON: Give me one. What is it they're doing?

CURRY: I have witnessed girls who are bulimic, girls who are anorexic, girls that are too young to take pressure and they're so insecure about everything that they will follow any trend that they can in order to work. And it is ridiculous. Like, I sit there eating my hamburger feeling guilty in front of them because they look at me like a starving puppy in a cage who hasn't eaten in a few months.

GIBSON: When they sort of leave that particular atmosphere and they have a hamburger, do they return to normal health? Or is this something that you think is causing them permanent problems?

CURRY: This is causing long-term health problem. It doesn't take a genius to read up on what bulimia and anorexia does to you... you are permanently damaging your body. It may come to the point where you can't have children because of it. It damages your insides.

Her response to the following question is right on the money:
GIBSON: Who is demanding this of the models?

CURRY: Well, it is not the public that is demanding it from the models. Everyone I know of that looks at fashion magazines are disgusted by what they see. This is purely the fashion community.

There is it again. Bottom line: they have an aesthetic monopoly, and dont care what anyone else thinks, or whom they hurt. They will continue to imperil young womens lives (not just the models, but the young women who idolize fashion models) until someone stops them.

Since size-2 models DO cause eating disorders, while size-14 models do NOT, there is no excuse for the industry to be using anorexic-looking models.

Here is a comparison:

Dentists dont use lead fillings any more, but other materials, because they cause lead poisoning. Likewise, the fashion industry must stop using models that cause women to become ill, physically and mentally (because eating disorders are both physical and mental ailments), and start using fuller-figured models who do NOT damage womens health.
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Old 3rd October 2006   #4
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Default Re: Growing momentum against emaciation

Originally Posted by MelanieW
Since size-2 models DO cause eating disorders, while size-14 models do NOT, there is no excuse for the industry to be using anorexic-looking models....Dentists dont use lead fillings any more, but other materials, because they cause lead poisoning. Likewise, the fashion industry must stop using models that cause women to become ill.

That's a good comparison. Yes, let fashion be about fantasy -- but why not replace today's toxic fantasy with a healthy fantasy?

With reference to the medical side of this debate, I found a stinging rebuke of the fashion industry, and a support of the Madrid ban, from a psychoterapist who has actually dealth with anorexia first-hand.

His words are well worth taking to heart. Here is the bulk of the text:

Battle With Thin

10:00 PM PDT on Saturday, September 30, 2006


On Sept. 6, Madrid Fashion Week officials announced that models wanting to participate in their upcoming fashion show would be prohibited from presenting if their Body Mass Index fell below 18 (which is about 112 pounds for a 5-foot-9 woman). This proclamation from Spanish fashion officials was an effort to stem the tide of "thinner is better" that has permeated the modeling industry for the past 40-plus years. Reactions in the fashion world have been mixed, but talk with any therapist who works with anorexic women and likely you'll hear something akin to, "It's about time somebody tried to stop this insanity."

As a psychotherapist who counsels young women, I have spoken to girls as young as 6 who are concerned that their young, healthy, already thin bodies are not emaciated enough. When I give presentations on eating disorders, I will tell the story of a distraught mother who brought her child in to see me after her first-grader asked her, "Do these jeans make me look f**?"

The fact that some young women (it is 10 to 20 times more common in women than men) actually die from this mental disorder is frightening. Equally horrific is the fact that the social pressures that reinforce "thinner is better" are growing, not receding. Look at the cultural icons young girls worship today and you will be gazing at jutting shoulder blades and prominent ribs. I have no idea why the officials in Spain decided to take a stand, but all I can say is, "Please don't give up!"

Keeping children healthy is everyone's business. As a therapist and the father of an adolescent girl, I am particularly sensitive to the pressures on our females to be excruciatingly thin. I have seen young women who are jealous of friends who are a size 0 when they themselves are a size 1 or 2. I don't know who the powers are that promulgate the Auschwitz look as sexy, but regardless of the etiology, as concerned adults, we need to take a stand...

The cliché that one cannot be too thin or too rich is simply flawed. The obsession with weight often starts at a young age and once the distortions in reality take hold, it is very, very difficult to treat. The time to treat body image disorders is before they start...
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Old 6th October 2006   #5
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Default Re: Growing momentum against emaciation

What's especially encouraging in the articles about this topic is not just that the majority are resoundingly in favour of the ban, but that many of the writers are so obviously enthusiastic at the prospect of models gaining weight, in order to maintain their careers. Everyone agrees that doing so will make them more beautiful.

This is a point of view that we all share at this site, of course, but it's encouraging to see that the public truly feels this way as well.

Here are two examples. First, an op ed piece from an Indian newspaper:

The writer is extremely optimistic, and absolutely gushes over the prospect of models finally being able to enjoy their food.

Here are some excerpts:

So, officially its over! The world’s first ban on overly thin models at the Madrid fashion show was long overdue. Now, the skinnies are out and full-bodied lasses are in!...

[The underweight models were] so gaunt and thin that their knees and elbows were larger than their thighs and pipe cleaner arms, and their bobbling heads with stone-expression face on the frail bodies! One could actually count their ribs like in the pictures of famished children in Mogadishu...

[I]t is this fashion industry that should be blamed because the starved look was spun from the linen produced by this glamour industry...

But the growing criticism of these fashion agencies employing the emaciated models seems to be changing the trend gradually now. Wafer-thin models are loading their plates with lasagna and chocolate truffle to get some curves...

"Maybe we`ll return to the look of girls who are shaped more like women and it can stop the fashion of girls who look like children and we can return to women of glamour," said couture designer Franck Sorbier in Paris...

The overly thin, “sick” looking models will have to eat and gain that curvaceous look to sashay on the ramp again....

Lets hope with the change in the trend, curvaceous models will become the look du jour this season and on the ramp we find beautiful and healthy models catwalking. But the most interesting part is that now the designers might have to start designing clothing that can actually be worn by real people!!!

So relax girls, you can eat now!

One would only hope that the industry's faux-plus models will also be moved by this spirit of freedom, and finally become genuinely curvaceous.

- - - - -

Second, here is a piece from another university newspaper. (It's especially interesting to read the positive reactions from the nation's campuses, because school-age girls are particularly vulnerable to eating disorders, and also, they will soon be out in society, hopefully doing what they can to bring back full-figured feminine beauty.)

Here's an excerpt:

It shouldn’t take a woman to resemble a skeleton in order to become an international sensation. Leave those for Halloween.

What happened to the fabulous curves of bombshell beauties like Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor?

Why has our society taken the spritly Twiggy look to the extreme?

The truth is women don’t naturally look like that.

Ribs are supposed to be hidden behind the skin, not protruding from it like on models such as Kate Moss.

We at the Campus Times believe that displaying sickly skinny models down fashion runways is contributing to anorexia and bulimia among women young and old, and therefore we support the decision that the organizers of the Madrid Fashion week made and we hope it will catch on worldwide.

But note also the delightful editorial cartoon that accompanies the piece:

In case the text is hard to read, the caption says:
"As you agent, I advise you to order the Hungarian beef goulash, the lemon-herb roasted chicen, and instead of the petite filet, let's go witht he porter-house and shrimp combination platter, with a side of mashed potatoes. And for dessert the outrageously over-sized chocolate cake."

That is nothing less than a perfect recipe for beauty, for all models - plus-size and straight-size alike.
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Old 7th October 2006   #6
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Default Re: Growing momentum against emaciation

I've been doing a project about this for school. Here is another writer who comes out against skinny models:

She points out that although anorexic imagery isn't the sole cause of eating disorders, it does make the problem worse. And that is enough to justify eliminating the use of underweight models:

If you think scrawny Europeans have nothing to do with you, think again. Four out of 10 Americans either know or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder, according to a survey by the Global Marketing Institute.

While we can't blame eating disorders on the fashion industry alone, I believe fashion makes eating disorders worse by glorifying gaunt women.

The rates of eating disorders among American girls and women have skyrocketed...

And there's the problem: Normal, healthy women and girls feeling unnatural...

I also like that she adds some tips about what everyone can do to turn things around:
Call, write or e-mail companies that run advertisements featuring bony models--this means TV stations, magazines and the like. Contact clothing designers, too. Ask them to put normal-size people on the runways. Tell them you'll stop buying if they don't...

Don't tease about people's weight...

Don't forbid certain foods.

Eating disorders can kill. People with anorexia literally can starve themselves to death. Severe dieting...can cause the heart to stop and result in brain damage or a coma, which is what reportedly happened to Terry Schiavo, whose dramatic death made the news last year...
The point about not forbidding foods is especially important. All dieting should be discouraged, and girls should be encouraged to eat as much as they want. Any kind of appetite restriction is a step toward anorexia. Following the body's natural instincts toward eating, without guilt, is the best way to avoid eating disorders, and to enjoy food in a normal way.
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Old 23rd October 2006   #7
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Default Re: Growing momentum against emaciation

Originally Posted by M. Lopez
I was particularly gratified to see someone finally point out that the underweight look is NOT PERFECT. If I have to listen one more time to people complaining about how models and actresses have "perfect" bodies, I'll scream. Perfect how? Perfect like a corpse?? There is nothing "perfect" about a body with bones jutting through the skin, or with a skull visible beneath tissue-thin flesh. That is about as imperfect a look as I can imagine.

A perfect beauty is a curvy beauty, a well-fed beauty, free of the imperfections of sunken cheeks and protruding bones...

This is an extremely important point that astonishingly few individuals realize--particularly in the "size-acceptance" movement.

The drive to popularize the use of fuller-figured models and actresses is not a blow against "perfection," because the current emaciated fashion-industry standard of appearance for women doesn't resemble "perfection" in the least. Protruding bones, oval faces, sunken cheeks, flat chests, androgynously "toned" limbs--these are all glaring physical flaws, and yet the minus-size models and the waif actresses all exhibit these repellent characteristics.

When the Greeks sculpted Venus in marble, or when Renaissance painters depicted the love goddess on painted canvas, they strove to render images of feminine perfection--as necessitated by Venus's status as a literal goddess (for a goddess must, by definition, be perfect). And in depicting perfection, these artists portrayed their Venuses with full waists, rounded abdomens, generous busts, soft chins, and rounded facial features. They recognized that without these characteristics of plus-size beauty, their goddesses would not be perfect. In every age prior to our own, visual evidence of a fuller figure was essential to the depiction of feminine perfection.

Present-day efforts to promote the timeless, plus-size ideal do not constitute a war against perfection, but for it. Size celebration seeks to restore true perfection to feminine aesthetics--the timeless perfection that has been glaringly absent, for much of the past century.

This vision of perfection also happens to be far more natural, inspiring, and ennobling than today's deeply-flawed media standard.

Christina Schmidt (Wilhelmina/Brand), goddess of perfect beauty, in any era:

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Old 23rd October 2006   #8
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Default Re: Growing momentum against emaciation

i am increasingly appalled at the size of some of the emaciated creatures who pass for models in todays newspapers and magazines, and deeply worried that my little granddaughter could possibly someday idolize these starving girls, rather than the healthy, beautiful women who are featured on this site.
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