Thursday, September 14, 2006

Is Healthy Really Hot or is Thin Just In?

If it's really that disgusting to be bone-thin, then why are most models built like gazelles?

I guess this means Kate Moss will be out of a job (again).

In an effort to force the fashion industry to promote a 'healthy' body type, Madrid has banned the use of skinny models for their shows, using the BMI (body mass index) as a criteria for hiring women to walk the catwalk. As a result, almost one third of the models that tried out were turned away.

One might wonder if this is a senseless or responsible move on the part of organizers. I mean it's one thing to run your Dove commercials about natural body types, make love talk about love humps etc. but this is Madrid! Less is more! The show must go on! Let's see some ribs! When someone says "she's hot!" the 'average guy' would think of someone who looks like Paris Hilton (or talks like her). That's natural isn't it? Or is it?

Should the fashion industry really take the blame and the brunt of responsibility for eating disorders? Do teens and girls really look to models to be their role models, and if that drives them to having an eating disorder, is that because they have some other mental disorder? Is beauty formed by 'beautiful' models, or is it a perversion in the eye of the beholder?

Well, putting some criteria into the fashion industry to guard against illness isn't a new idea, nor is it unwarranted. Adi Barkan, an Israeli fashion photographer and model agent expressed experiencing anorexia in his clients and was consequently avalanched with calls from girls suffering from the disease. He then made the BMI a standard for his recruits and successfully legislated it in Knesset in December 2004.

Sometimes life and art come dangerously close but no one actually wears the flamboyant dresses strutted on stage. Aren't fashion shows simply that? A facade? Perhaps they are a fantasy that people believe in too strongly. People want to live the dream and get a magazine makeover, even at the expense of eating so lightly their stomach starts eating organ tissue to survive. It's too bad. I mean, if people imitate the show Jackass, wouldn't you consider them one?

Well, we are a culture of extremes. It seems that we have a weight obsession on both the light and heavy side. While about one out of five children are forecasted to be obese in North America, most tweens think being a twig is cool. Why does fashion, which is an art, have to imitate life even when it physically can't? Because life imitates fashion and we are always seeking styles that conform to our day-to-day settings yet we try to conform too much to settings on screens.

Personally, I'm unconvinced of the direct connection between what superstars say and what we do but I do think advertising has a hand to play in how we see the ideal figure. Beauty has become an artificial image, airbrushed to "perfection". So some of us give up and over-indulge. We know that our eating habits are unhealthy but we tend to overeat. What's scary is that on the other hand, eating too little is used as a tactic to lose weight instead of exercising, choosing good foods and getting lots of sleep. It stems from a psychological disorder or 'body dismorphia' where a person sees themselves as much fatter than they actually are. If that's because fashion designers portray an untrue image of what's humanly possible than I suppose that the least we can do is start promoting a healthy body type in the media the way Dove has spear-headed a campaign to do. Project a healthy medium and tolerance for different shapes. I think an attractive body type is someone like Daniela Hutchova, but she exercises for a living to be that way. Not everyone can be her. There are also a myriad of attractive body types because not one size fits all.

Let's stress comfort and self-esteem over avant-guard Nazi diet regimes. It may be up to the designers to decide on this one but perhaps they should consider reforming dress to the dimensions of reality and who's flaunting it rather than fantasy -the way past ages have gotten rid of such body-contorting devices as the corset.

Otherwise, our habits of viewing may just consume us to death.

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Blogger Prmod Bafna said...

When i read the article this morning, i was all in favour of actually promoting only healthy body types, bescause it is true that people will definitely be influenced by those who walk the ramp and everything about them. I think the move was a right one to shed the pretentiousness of it all.

1:53 a.m.  
Blogger mistipurple said...

most guys are attracted to thinner gals. they would most likely be want to be seen with a scrawnier one than a slightly chubbier one.

2:17 a.m.  
Anonymous mitz said...

thin is in? where have i been? lol its' attractive, but too thin is gross.

i tried emailing u.

get in touch.

7:51 a.m.  
Blogger Queen of Ass said...

Those women are just plain gross. There's a balance there, as with everything. God, she needs to find that!

10:38 a.m.  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Hi sir barrett
Horses for courses
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

There is hot, there is slim, there is thin, there is skinny
There is hot, there is wholesome, there is bucksome, there is plump, there is superplump

It is not the size of the body ensures a male companion, but the joviality of the lady, the willingness to please and/or the willingness to breed.

Without these, the lady may be seeking the companionship of another lady, or the lady could end up one really lonesome lady.

C'est la Vie!

5:59 p.m.  
Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

I'm sorry. I couldn't read the post because I am too grossed out. That's really sad. Very very sad.

9:12 a.m.  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Hi sirbarrett
for you: JAM
Have A great wekend!!!

6:03 p.m.  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

This image is scary.

8:17 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

prmod bafna -Yes, I agree.

mistipurple -It's always about being seen with someone for us isn't it? Us vain, vain creatures.

mitz -You're like a ghost that I can only grasp the wisps of. Exactly, this chick that I have a picture of is sick. I like hip bones but you seriously shouldn't be able to see them on a girl and if you do there's something wrong.

queen of ass -Balance? What's that? Jk, yeah, some people just haven't found zen yet.

adorable girlfriend -Yeah, it is a sad topic but hopefully someone will read it who needs to eat.

quasar -Thanks!!

enemy of the republic -Horrific.

9:54 a.m.  
Blogger Anki said...

I wish the beauty business was about finding beauty in everything....its rare...however, if it were so...what the fashion industry captures and showcases would definitely ignite my imagination...sadly its not so...and hence, i shall continue to bask in the glory of my body...a body i love because I love the person I will be.

7:29 a.m.  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Interesting article. I actually don't think men in general are attracted to incredibly skinny girls. It's really just a fashion thing. I don't feel that fashion models like these have as much influence over the way girls feel about themselves as they used to.

Nowadays it's more common for girls to feel pressured by girls on the front of men's magazines or hot celebrities (most men are more attracted to someone like Jessica Alba than someone like Nicole Richie). I can't really comment on the body issue, I feel it is possible for almost anyone to have a reasonable figure as long as they exercise and eat well.

The thing that bothers me more is the trend towards plastic surgery. This is actually unnatural, whereas having a healthy, non-obese body is not.

Thank you for commenting on my blog. I find it interesting, as you mentioned, to think about what "beauty" would be conceptualised as if it were through the female, rather than male, gaze. It is such a shame that "beauty" is the highest prized characteristic for women...and yet it is. It is very difficult to get out of that mindset. I certainly haven't managed it.

11:24 a.m.  
Blogger Vesper said...

i know of a few girls who would purchase fashion magazines to keep themselves in check in terms of weight. i personally love fashion and i love fashion magazines.

i think eating disorders are so varied that it's impossible to tell where they come from, in terms of generalizations. i think that monitoring obviously unhealthy models is appropriate, but placing that kind of widespread ban and using the bmi thing is going overboard. when i first heard about it, i thought it was good, but then i didn't know how extreme they were getting. some people are actually bone matter how much they eat.

actually...thin is not in. the fad is changing...again. i'm just happy keeping my weight around 115-118, and running three times a week!

5:22 p.m.  

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