‘Most runway models meet the BMI criteria for anorexia’

26 Jan

I’m sure that by now the internet has dropped this article at your door.  I’ve seen it on all my favorite websites and a friend even posted it on my wall so I guess its my turn to have an opinion on it.

My opinion is that the work speaks for itself.  I’m a bit stuck because I know that the only way for a spread like this to make an impact is for it to spark a conversation.  But at the same time I don’t think there is much to say other than “Yes, you’re right.  What are we going to about it?”

The only thing I didn’t like in the article was this:

One reader on the magazine’s website comments: ‘If this article is saying you should feel pretty at any size, fine. but don’t tell me you’re obese and healthy. We have a twisted sense of what healthy is in this country and an even more twisted sense of what people are allowed to say about it.’

Another adds: ‘I don’t think the fashion world should support obesity, just as I don’t think it should support anorexia.’

Tell me, does this woman look obese to you?  Does she look like her weight is affecting her health and her ability to function?

Or (and lets get real here) does she kind of just look like you when you lean over a little bit and your stomach does that thing that you don’t like?

And (lets be real again) how many friends do you have who realistically look like the thin model above?  I know two women who actually look like that and they both have eating disorders that interfere with their abilities to function in school, relationships and society in general.

When I shop I buy mostly mediums and larges.  I wear a 6 or an 8 in pants.  And yet whenever I talk about weight everyone says ‘but you’re so skinny, you’re so thin.’  When people guess my weight they’re always shocked to hear that I proudly stand 5’6″ and 140lbs (though I’ve actually boycotted scales for the last 5 or so years so that may have fluctuated a lb or two in either direction.  My clothes and I don’t notice a difference)

Apparently I could be a great plus size model.  What does that mean though? It doesn’t mean I’m fat or ugly or any less attractive than someone who buys a smaller size.  I’m not ashamed or upset that my BMI is closer to this lovely model than that of Kate Moss.  I have no desire to look anything like Kate Moss.

What it does mean is that if people look at me and tell me I’m smaller than the average person then shouldn’t the clothing I buy be shown on models and mannequins that are at least my size or bigger?

The ideals we’re supposed to be modeling ourselves after aren’t real.  They’re the exception to the rule.  The rule is that women should have enough body fat to have regular periods.  Thin models are the exception.  The rule is that women have enough flesh to have breasts.  Thin models break that rule.  Biology and health give us a few rules to live by.  Eating is one of them.  Thin models break that.

So why do we look up to them so much?  Why do we call them ‘regular’ models and the regular sized ones ‘plus size?’

“Women should look like women. a piece of cardboard has no sexuality.”

– Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2007

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