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Old 16th December 2006   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default ''Is skinny going out of style?'' (article)

This is a significant new article from the L.A. Times on the topic of fashion and the anorexia crisis. It can be found at the following URL:

Here are some of the important points. First of all, the article refers again to the CFDA, the overseeing body of the fashion industry, which was introduced in a recent post:
Diane von Furstenberg, in her capacity as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, sent the organization's members a letter urging them to take a position on the issue of underweight models. Her letter followed a meeting last week of industry leaders such as Vogue editor Anna Wintour, designers Derek Lam and Vera Wang, and health and nutrition experts.

The letter called dangerously thin models a "global fashion issue." Further, Von Furstenberg wrote that "as designers, we cannot ignore the impact fashion has on body image. We share a responsibility to protect women, and very young girls in particular, within the industry, sending the message that health is beauty."...

This week, Von Furstenberg said it's important that the American industry join the dialogue: "We have an opportunity to help, and I think we have to seize that opportunity."

It's a more encouraging development than I hoped -- in particular, the crucial first step of the fashion industry recognizing that it DOES ruin body image, and that it DOES have a responsibility in how it impacts the culture we all have to live with.

Mind you, a letter is not yet action, as the article has the foresight to recognize:
Forty years after the Twiggy era, critics might say that message is coming a little too late. Thinness has become so deeply ingrained in our food-obsessed culture that the ultra-thin standards of beauty have infiltrated the psyche of nearly every public and private figure, whether a teenage model or a red-carpet strolling actress.

At the extreme, a preoccupation with weight leads to eating disorders, which now affect nearly 7 million women and 1 million men, an epidemic level according to the National Assn. of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders of Highland Park, Ill...

This week, the anorexia association began drafting a press release that will encourage the United States fashion industry to acknowledge its responsibility in promoting ultra-thinness and take a leadership role to prevent abuses, said spokesman Keith Sanderson.

"We're urging those in the industry to think before they glamorize the ultra-thin," he said. "Anorexia nervosa kills. No other mental illness matches eating disorders for killing you."

Let's hope some action will finally be taken. In discovering the existence of the CFDA, we have an example of an organization that could make change happen -- by doing more than just writing a letter (although a letter is a first step).

The most important point may be the simplest, with the article stating "it's neither good business nor good ethics to promote sickly images."

If the industry would only begin using plus-size models instead of waifs, it would solve this "global fashion issue" overnight.
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Old 16th December 2006   #2
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Default Re: ''Is skinny going out of style?'' (article)

This article is worth reading. It's also republished at the following URL, if the first one vanishes at some pont:

Some other significant points include the fact that Nicole Richie weighed a ridiculous 85 lbs when she was arrested a few days ago, while "Ana Carolina Reston, died in a Sao Paulo hospital from complications of anorexia. She was 5 feet 8 and weighed 88 pounds"

That's right, the model who died weighed three pounds more than Richie. Hollywood and fashion are literally promoting a look that kills.

No magazine should be allowed to present this kind of anorexia-inducing celebrity in a positive way. Underweight actresses should be banned just as surely as underweight models are in Madrid. Just as the FAA has cracked down on indecency in the media, it should definitely crack down on this, as anorex-chic does even more harm to women, and to the culture as a whole.

Also, the article notes one of the major problems with the media.
"Celebrities are bashed for being "f**" think Mariah Carey or Alicia Silverstone when they may still be pounds thinner than the average American."

Any "entertainment writer" who tries to publish such a story should be fired, and the stories shouldn't get published in any magazines. If actresses, models, etc. become curvier, they should be applauded for it. That would still satisfy the media's publicity demands, and send a positive rather than a destructive message to society.

One last crucial quote:

"I've been to shows in New York where the girls are ridiculously thin," said Tod Hallman, a stylist who often works with designer Kevan Hall. "You almost do yourself a disservice because people can't get past how frightfully bony the girls are."

Bingo. Finally someone admits the truth. The old excuse that models can't be curvy because "curves distract from the clothing" is a LIE. In truth, it's emaciation that distracts from the clothing.

No one is talking about designers' fashions today. People are only talking about how grotesquely starved the models look. That's distraction. But when plus-size models appear in the media (e.g., Crystal Renn for Gaultier), people do talk about the fashions they're wearing (if those fashions are feminine and attractive).

Plus-size models are better for society, and they're better for business too.
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Old 18th December 2006   #3
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: ''Is skinny going out of style?'' (article)

Originally Posted by Emily
The letter called dangerously thin models a "global fashion issue." Further, Von Furstenberg wrote that "as designers, we cannot ignore the impact fashion has on body image. We share a responsibility to protect women, and very young girls in particular

Let us hope that this letter is more than a mere bandage on the issue, more than just an attempt to produce something to show the world and say, "See? We're 'addressing' the issue"--without actually making any changes. Let us hope that something actually comes of this.

The skepticism about the sincerity of the fashion industry on this issue is well warranted. The article reveals the depth of the problem when it observes that emaciation and androgyny have become normalized by the out-of-the-mainstream cliques who currently hold power over our media culture--just as in societies that are blighted by decades of plague, even disease and death begin to seem ordinary, and widespread health becomes inconceivable.

As the reporter notes,

The list of anorexia symptoms from the anorexia association sounds like a description of standard L.A. party chatter: a preoccupation with food, weight and the body; unrelenting fear of gaining weight; distorted body image.

How can such individuals be expected to recognize just how aberrant their standards are? They have completely internalized them. It is like asking someone who suffers from uncorrected myopia to describe the wonders of a distant landscape. They cannot see it. They can only see what is directly in front of them.

But one comment in the article offers a small glimmer of hope, if it has any validity. The reporters suggests that

There are encouraging signs that the fashion and entertainment industries could be getting past their thin obsessions [to] return the definition of femininity to its

It's nice to see at least one journalist acknowledge that the "definition of femininity" does have "sensuous origins," that this original (and true) definition differs from today's underweight standard, and that today's skeletal definition is anything but sensuous. Models physically cannot become any more emaciated, so the only change that can happen--if any change will happen at all--is for them to become curvier.

Let us hope that this restoration is finally about to begin.

The soft, rounded facial features of Emma Timms (Bella Models, Australia), embodying sensuous femininity at its most beautiful:

- Click here to view larger

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