Academic Research Blogs
22 November 2010
You have been told your whole life you are beautiful and should use your beauty to make money. So you decide to go to a modeling agency to see if you have potential. They like you and send you to clients to show off your talent and get you in a job. Finally you get the opportunity of the lifetime and are sent to a high end fashion designer who turns you down because you are “too” big and will not fit into his clothes. He tells you if you want to work for him you must lose some weight. This comes as a surprise since you have always been the skinny girl throughout your lifetime. You really want the job so you go home and brainstorm ideas of how you can lose weight. Finally you come to the conclusion that in order to lose the weight fast you are going to starve yourself and take laxatives. After two weeks you go back and the designer praises your slim frail body. Your runway show and magazine spread are shown all around the world to millions and millions of young women around the world. In today’s society there are many models that people look up to and admire. They are the faces we see on magazines runways and on tv. Most models appear to be skinny and are accepted socially as beautiful.
In today’s society there are many models that people look up to and admire. They are the faces we see on magazines runways and TV. Most models in reality are actually underweight and frail but are accepted for their so called “perfect” bodies. Everyday women have claimed they want to be beautiful so they follow their role models and starve themselves so they can be accepted by society. With this said there has been a sudden increase in anorexia cases each year. Some famous fashion designers actually encourage skinny unhealthy weights in order for a model to participate in their show or photo shoot. This causes many controversies and makes everyone ask who is responsible for this sudden increase in anorexia cases. Many people want to blame the fashion world while many want to blame the women themselves for not being happy with who they are. But maybe the fashion world should start by enforcing a healthy weight in order to participate in anything that will be seen by millions. Modeling agencies and fashion designers should place restrictions on being too thin so young women ages 16 to 25 can stop pushing themselves to be thin and underweight by starving themselves and inevitably becoming anorexic.
Anorexia nervosa also known as anorexia is when one starves themselves eating little to nothing at all in order too loose weight. The pressure to be thin in today’s world has never been so great. The start of anorexia in models starts with the rejection at a job the model would like. They want the job so bad they will actually starve themselves to slim down to the size required by the job. Fashion designers will actually tell a model that they are too big for their show or to wear their clothing. Many of today’s models may appear skinny and beautiful but behind closed doors are actually struggling with anorexia. Some famous models have actually came forward and admitted they actually have struggled with anorexia at one point in their lives. Some of these models include, “Imogen Bailey, Christine Ali, Victoria Beckam, Sandra Lee, and Kate Dillion” (Critchell). Even a famous model from Brazil Named Ana Carolina Reston lost her life after years of battling with anorexia. For years while in the industry she starved herself and on some days only ate an apple and a few squares of chocolate. Upon her death she weighed a mere “88lbs” (Critchell). Although she was not able to come forward and share her story with her followers her story was still revealed and was shared. Bu one model did take a stand and cam forward with what the industry can make you do. Her name was Isabelle Caro and her story shocked the world.
One Famous anorexic model Isabelle Caro was turned down by a famous fashion designer whose name was never revealed. She was told too loose "10 kilograms or about 22 pounds" (Simpson). This bad news forced her to starve herself and take laxatives so she could lose the weight the designer asked of her. To make her followers aware she decided to do a nude photo shoot displaying her anorexic body that weighed a mere 86lbs. With the photo she hoped to "raise awareness about anorexia" (Simpson) in the modeling world. Her defense for the shoot was that models should take some responsibility for the eating disorders found in so many of today’s young women. The shoot caused many controversies and made many people wonder if this was a problem that was needed to be addressed. .
Karl Langerfield head designer of Chanel and Fendi has no problem supporting skinny models and making sure his fashion shows have some of the slimmest models. He has, “defended the fashion industry over size zero models by saying they are not to blame for eating disorders” (Langerfield 67). He feels models are not to be blamed for the increase in eating disorder cases. So basically women who keep up with fashion do not feel less beautiful because they are not a size zero. But In reality a 5’ 10” size zero model is too skinny to be accepted as healthy. He also states in his book, “we should focus more on obesity instead of the anorexic model” (Langerfield 19). Where he is from anorexia is not that big of a problem and his country suffers more with obesity so that is who we as a society should focus on. He has even went as far as criticizing Heidi Klum saying she, “is no runway model she is simply too heavy and has too big a bust” (Langerfield 19). He is one of the most critical designers in the industry and is often very harsh and will only accept models he feels are perfect for his shows. Although he may defend the fashion world doctors patients have stated they wanted to be thin because of the beautiful models they have saw. This shows anorexia is right up there with obesity. Both of the two destroy lives every day and have suddenly increased. But Langerfield is not the only designer that publicly accepts the skinny model.
Harry Brandt is director [at] the Center for Eating Disorders [of] Sheppard Pratt Health System in Towson, MD” (Mundell). His clinic, “sees more than 800 inpatients a year and treats thousands more for anorexia and bulimia on an outpatient basis” (Mundell). With his experience Brandt is totally against the support of anorexic models. He feels, “the new [CFDA] guidelines really fell short” (Mundell). The guidelines make it easy for designers to get away with skinnier models in their shows. He even has went as far to say he , “believe[s] that within the industry there has been an implicit encouragement of dramatic measures to maintain a certain body weight for models” (Mundell). In his opinion models are pushed to have a certain body image and often starve themselves in order to make the designer happy. Each day with his paitents he finds that most of them have the same explanation as to why they have turned to anorexia to lose weight. His patients, “describe the intense pressure they feel to be thin, to be considered successful and attractive in our culture." With this said it goes against Langerfield’s claim that the fashion industry has absolutely nothing to do with the increase in anorexia cases each year. Brandt is able to prove with his patients that some of today’s anorexia cases actually start with a young woman seeing an attractive skinny model on the TV, runways, or magazines and wanting to be exactly like that woman in order to feel as she is beautiful. But even with Brandt’s findings there are still designers who continue to defend the skinny model.
Although Micheal Vollbract has never come forward and directly stated his love and support of the skinny model he has gave hints and clues about his view on the debate. He states that, “Thin is always in, it's how you show clothes” (Critchell). He knows that no matter what societ says the thin model will always be accepted by everyone. Models see, “size 0 styles [which] are plucked by stylists for Hollywood actresses who then feel fat – and then diet – when they can't fit into the tiny garments, and there are so many girls and women who then look up to the stars. It's a perpetual cycle” (Critchell). With this said Volbract knows that it will take some time before models become bigger because of their fear of not being able to fit into the clothes. He also likes to point out, “that in the 1980s and early '90s, top models Claudia Schaffer and Cindy Crawford had more curvaceous figures” (Critchell). So he knows that there is a sudden increase in skinny models compared to just a few years ago. With this sudden change he knows, “"It'll take some time to change back” (Critchell) to the curvier model that society used to love and adore. Since he does not state he directly supports the skinny unhealthy model he gives clues and hints that he prefers the skinny model.
One model whom, “made fashion history in the 1990s as the first full-figured model ever awarded a major cosmetics contract [at] Revlon” (Critchell) has her opinion on the newly accepted skinny model. Emme knows, “The majority of women look at magazines, and they do not see themselves reflected”. Being a model at one point of time Emme knows that women want to be that woman that they see in the magazines or in TV. She even openly states the, “industry [needs to take] action on eating disorders” (Critchell) instead of just acting like it is not that big of the problem. She knows this is a problem that can begin to be prevented if the industry would just step in and say, “‘that is too thin, and, no, you will not walk in my show” (Critchell). She even refers to today’s models as, "bags of bones dressed in haute couture" (Critchell). With her expierence in the modeling world even though she was considered plus size she knows that there has been a negative change in the fashion world. She hopes we will all come together to help these women love themselves and not let their favorite model persuade them to loose weight or interfere with their health.
In my own opinion on anorexia in models it is very stupid and I do not see how someone would want to starve themselves. Everyone always wants to look like models and have the, “Perfect” body. In reality models do not even see their bodies as presentable let alone attractive. I think it is also crazy how outside of young women little girls are also becoming anorexic. These young women only claim to do this so they can have a great body. I also think they need to not place models or celebrities in the media that are too skinny. Today majority of models are under weight and look very skinny. Women should never be self conscious of their weight. Anorexia can affect any and everyone no matter what walk of life that they come from. The easiest way to stay away from it is to love yourself no matter what. But maybe the fashion world should start by enforcing a healthy weight in order to participate in anything that will be seen by millions. Modeling agencies and fashion designers should place restrictions on being too thin so young women ages 16 to 25 can stop pushing themselves to be thin and underweight by starving themselves and inevitably becoming anorexic.