The Skinny On Models

fashion, anorexia, bulimia, eating disorders, plus sizes, health

In the fashion industry, this is a normal size. Creative Commons: scrapetv.com

I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating. Back many years ago when I was in the throes of my eating disorder, classified as bulimia, I attended some group counseling sessions. Now my bulimia was not the normal one, where you gorge and vomit. I didn’t vomit. I starved myself, then gorged and then my bodily functions did a bit of a natural purge, but it was an uncontrolled desperate, self-hating way of eating and never on healthy foods. People with eating disorders never gorge on carrots or celery.

Now this counseling group was in the evenings at the psychiatrist’s home. I was the ugly duckling amongst the swans, but those swans were emaciated, walking sticks. Pretty much all of them were models dealing with anorexia. I remember the doctor asking once, “How many people have known someone who died from an eating disorder?” I didn’t but probably 80% of those models had known someone who starved themselves to death. The video below shows Isabelle Caro who died a few years after this was made at the age of 28. She looks 60.

And yet, twenty years later, we still see that the modeling, acting, dancing  and gymnastic sports industries have a prevalence toward the ultra thin person. Ultra thin to the point of sickeningly unhealthy. When I hear that models are considered plus size from size 8 and up I get angry. What does plus mean with sizing? Well, it means more than normal or average. Plus sizing when I was a kid was for truly large ladies, like sizes 18 and up.

anorexia, eating disorders, models, fashion industry, plus sizes, modeling, fashion, health, starvation

What astounds me is that this woman, by her dress, feels she's still beautiful. Creative Commons: evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com

Being classified as a plus size 8 means that you’re going to think you’re bigger than average, that there’s something wrong and abnormal about you. The fashion industry is probably the worst, with the movie industry coming in second. Seriously, these people should be smacked severely for causing needless deaths and psychoses. When children of six are worrying about their weight or being too fat, there is a lot wrong with the world. Albeit, as a pudgy child I didn’t have it easy and children are notoriously cruel, but our culture shapes what they consider aberrant.

I have Amazonian friends. They’re nearly six feet tall. Some are slimmer than others, because nature makes us differently, but none are fat. You can bet that by height alone they’re all going to be over 150 pounds and they’re going to be considered plus size. For that matter, maybe all of my friends (except one who is tiny and has size 5 feet but still has a bit of a tummy) would be plus size by modeling standards.

Hanging clothes on living skeletons who are lit and pomaded to look partially healthy gives no one the hope of looking the same in such an outfit. The pictures here are the extremes but models are often far underweight and on their way to an early death. Actors are told they’ll be fired from their roles if they put on so much as 10 lbs. Unless you’re a comedian; they’re allowed to be fat because fat is funny. And these supposedly normal size models…they stand a high chance of suffering throughout their lives, should they live that long. They’re not just missing fat, they’re missing muscle mass, not to mention nutrition to run a healthy body. Telling someone they’re fat doesn’t make them healthier if they starve themselves into nonexistence.

fashion, plus models, starvation, anorexia, eating disorders, modeling,

From Plus Model Magazine: Katya Zharkova next to the fashion industry's ideal.

There is  the beginning of a backlash in the fashion industry but obviously it’s slow when Twiggy (who was 110 lbs) would now be considered plus size. The clothing store Le Chateau perpetuates the skinny myth, where you’ll be hard pressed to find L, but you’ll find S, XS, XXS and XXXS. Shame on you, Le Chateau.  Plus Model Magazine embraces lush, curvy models, and the magazine looks a lot at unhealthy body image. This last image indicates the difference between the skeletal model preferred by the fashion industry and the body ideal that is more common for all women. There are very few women, a small percentage, who could be healthy and skinny enough to be a model without starving themselves.

So, don’t believe what you see in fashion and in the movies. Those aren’t real people sizes. If you’re wearing a size 12, that’s not a plus size. That’s average. And, mothers, don’t let your daughters grow up to be models.

7 Comments

Filed under Culture, fashion, health

7 responses to “The Skinny On Models

  1. Bunny Eats Design

    I hear you about unrealistic expectations. I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I took an “I don’t care” attitude to my body as a teenager and while I liked food, it wasn’t an obsession and junk food wasn’t a big deal to me. I could take it or leave it.

    I think having a healthy exposure and attitude to food as a child helps. My parents never said we couldn’t have junk food, but we were good in the sense that we never really demanded it. I always prefer a home cooked meal over a junk food binge.

    Women should have curves. As an adult, I poke my round tummy and wish it would melt away, but I don’t care about it enough to join a gym or to eat salads for lunch and dinner. I have food appreciation in my blood so I’m happy that delicious food is where my priorities lie.

  2. I’m FAT! Honestly! LOL but internally I am still healthy. I wish my mom had taught me how to eat healthy but she encouraged the junk food era! I actually tried to be a Plus Size model back in my early 20’s! At the time I was wearing size 28 and the agency did want me for their big girls clothes! LOL to bad they also required me to pay for classes to learn how to walk. Now I’m waaaaay bigger and in need of loosing weight. When I finally loose the 200lbs I will still be considered overweight by modeling standards but I will be still happy. I only want to loose to be able to have more fun with the kids. I know i am beautiful now and will always be.

  3. pixietrue

    Wonderful entry x

  4. filidhe

    Well put, all of it.

  5. Tp

    Could yoy give me the links as to were you found these photo’s i am doing a research paper on eating disorders and i would appreciate it so very much. Thank you.

    • colleenanderson

      If you look at each picture you will see that I have listed the site where I found them. Paste the URL and you should get the pictures.

  6. Pingback: Interesting Blog Demographics | Colleen Anderson

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