May 31, 2007

Pretty model? Pretty dead.

There's nothing new about this post. We've heard it all before: Fashion models are pressured to remain thin. But how thin is thin enough?

Before you continue reading this post, just feast your eyes on Scarlett Johannson one more time. Her photos sit in yesterday's post just two slots down. Whether you think she is beautiful or not, she is HEALTHY. To refresh your memory, here is another photo of our fair Scarlett, who is no cow. I bet she is only a size 2 or 4.

Enjoyed the view? Ok, now look at these two ghastly photos of models in action.

To protect the faint-hearted, I buried the following photo. Click here if you dare to view.

Frankly, I think these photos are criminal. What fashion designer in their right mind would hire such a model? What make up artist would work with such a woman and not report her condition to the authorities? What skewed individual would view these women and wish they could look just like them?

Why does the fashion industry design clothing to hang on these skeletons? Is this truly the easy route? Do clothes really look worse on regular sized women?

And why do we permit designers to get away with this outrage? Why do we purchase magazines that contain images of rail thin girls barely older than 18 wearing clothes that rarely look good on the average, healthy weight woman?

This past weekend, The Daily Mail featured an article written by former British model, Gemma Clarke (below), entitled, 'They measured my fingers to see if I was fat.' Click the bold words to read the rest of this insightful article.
Models I knew would relay anecdotes about being made to feel overweight by agencies and designers on a daily basis when they were, in fact, incredibly slim. I met up with one friend, fresh from an appointment with her modelling agency. She arrived in floods of tears, having been told nonchalantly by her booker to "skip a few meals" in the run-up to London Fashion Week if she wanted to work. Another girl I knew used a calorie-counting machine religiously to work out her exact intake. To an objective observer, she was a stick-thin girl obsessed with analysing every bite of the few morsels of fresh fruit she ingested; in fashion terms, she was a dedicated model. To me, she seemed miserable and neurotic.

Gemma also mentioned, quite rightly, that our society abhors pedophelia. Yet we accept these images of girls 16, or 17 years old as the standard bearers of beauty. Is this not a form of pedophelia, albeit in an acceptable form? Below is a photo of Dakota Fanning in Teen Vogue. What is she? Thirteen years old now? And she talks about being in Paris? Whatever happened to Hello Kitty and Spin the Bottle?

We women have the power to reject these images. To not purchase the fashion magazines that feature them. To write advertisers in outrage when they use prepubescent girls to sell their products. To rid ourselves of an impossible ideal that makes us restless and want to diet when our perfectly healthy bodies are already beautiful.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Are you as fed up with this situation as I am?


ArtfulSub said...


You've provided a lot to digest with all the links. And ruined my breakfast with the hidden-pic.

The only things I could add are ADDITIONAL negatives that I've noted in models I've met.

Many are major dope-fiends and it's a safe bet the same cretins who push the pedophilia-look and the starved-look got them started on drugs at an early age. Keeps them thin and easily controlled.

Many never choose to continue their formal education in any manner. If you look at athletes and actors who "turn pro" and make big-bucks early in life, many do wind up getting a Degree. Jody Foster, Shaq O'Neil, Brooke Shields, Emmit Smith etc...

Models, by contrast, are probably the least educated group of high-earners on the planet.

And the powers-that-be want to keep them coked up and dumb.


Made in Richmond said...

Thank you for writing this. It's something that we all need to know about.

It's so important to draw attention to this issue AND to turn the spotlight towards beautiful women who take care of themselves.

Big Fella said...

For what ever reason, the "fashion industry" has decided that the starved look makes money, and like many other businesses in our business friendly culture (Bushliburton delivering to its core constituency), money trumps everything else. So models will continue to be exploited, as will the gullible consumers who are enamored of "desinger" anything from clothes to hard goods to toothpaste.

I think this exploitation in the name of commerce has probably been going on for all time, it is just accelerated, from how it was at a time when consumers had to wait for carravans and sailing ships to bring back the latest new goods until now, when instant communication, near instant travel and a seeming need for instant gratification have shaped society.

Those images bring home the point that it is time for our culture to return to basic values. To teach our children that it is their substance as human beings that matters, not how fashionable or au courant they might be, but what their life means to themselves and those they come in contact with in terms of their impact on the continued sustance, intellectual and spriritual growth of the human race.

Delphine said...

This is so disgusting and frustrating because there is no easy fix. Who should be held responsible? the fashion companies? the photographers? the public?

Luckily, this issue is getting some attention and hopefully that will encourage awareness. Since the US is a capitalist society, the best thing to stop too skinny models would be to boycott any product that uses them but it seems impossible as the problem is so widespread.

Linda Merrill said...

Yowsa. It is unbelievable that anyone would be fascinated with these women. Walking skeleton's is the only word for it. However, I would say that it's commerce that will stop this practice. As you said, Ms. Place, if we stopped buying the magazines and the products advertised in them - the market would listen. I've been fairly concerned about the Marc Jacobs/Dakota Fanning ads - turning her into a sex object. I've always heard that her parents were very careful with her career - but these made me wonder. On the other hand - Jody Foster and Brook Shields played very sexual roles at the age of 12, and neither was harmed, it seems. Pretty Baby would never be made today, that's for sure. I saw it recently on tv, and there was 12 year old Brook being "presented" on a platter, garnished with fruit, and topless.

Thought provoking post, as always, Ms. Place.

Ms. Place said...

Thank you, Linda, Art, Ms. Richmond, Big Fella, and Delphine.

It's up to us to stop this idiotic trend of size -1/2 models and and not support such madness. I agree that there's a movement afoot to bring some sanity back to the business. I just hope that it's not too late for these young models who are already caught in a downward spiral of self-loathing.

BigAssBelle said...

i am afraid that self esteem and self image in our society are being wrecked by these absurd images promoted by the fashion industry, by the constant focus on size and weight and wealth and glamour.

as a belle, i'm all for glamour. but we've crossed a line, i think, when we can't even have a single half hour of serious news without the "entertainment news" being a part of it. it's ridiculous, really, when the world is going to hell in a handbasket and everyone's abuzz because Posh finally smiled.

i don't know when it became the norm for women's bodies to be held up for examination by everyone and for critique by all. the pressure is tremendous to be as thin as possible. is it any wonder that models are dying of anorexia? and when they're viewed as and considered as and undoubtedly referred to and treated like coat hangers? it sounds funny until you look at those bony stick arms and think that she looks more like a coat hanger than a real live human being.

it angers me that human beings can be so trivialized in so many ways, used up, worn out, starved to death and thrown away. there's always another tall, skinny girl looking for a life in the spotlight, and plenty of vultures out there to take advantage.

delphine said...

Just remembered where it was that I read something related. Here's the link if you want to take a gander.

Ms. Place said...

Thanks, Delphine. And so it goes.

My niece suffers from an eating disorder. She is bright, beautiful, talented, and spectacular, but the only thing she sees in the mirror is a lump of fat. She's been in and out of treatment without much result.

Due to the pressures our girls feel from the moment they start playing with Barbie dolls, their self image is all F-k'd up. When will the madness end?

Damselfly said...

Ok...I almost gagged on my bagel. Oh God, this is not beauty...

On the subject of what is iconic beauty right now...we fed it men and now men are buying into it. How about the fact that real WOMEN are not suppose to have hair on any part of their body expect their head. How prepubecent is that? We aren't suppose to have laugh lines...or grey hairs...age spots or age in any way.

Add all of that ontop of the weight issue..and we are a mess!

Good post!

Anonymous said...

I fully agree that our obsession with skinniness has gone too far, etc., but you do realize that these particular photos are photoshopped, right? The originals are available on the net - just do a search for "photoshop thinspiration" and take a look. The models in the originals are still quite skinny, of course, but they at least look human.

Coronabeats said...