Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do your collar bones stick out enough?

And what about your hip bones?

Unfortunately this is a prerequisite for any modeling gig these days. Pardon me for a few minutes while I am sick.

A HUGELY important gathering took place last night in Boston: "Health Matters - Weight and Wellness in the World of Fashion." Anna Wintour {editor-in-chief of Vogue for those of you who live under a rock}, Michael Kors {wonderful designer}, and Natalia Vodianova {v famous model} all took part. The discussion at the forum centered around eating disorders in the industry and efforts to prevent them.

For those of you who are not aware of this, models are often as young as 14 on runways. FOURTEEN years old! Some I am sure are even younger. Thinking of the industry conditions they are exposed to at such a tender age disgusts me. I think I was still setting up Lemonade stands at 14. Michael Kors vowed to raise the minimum age limit on models he hires to 16. A step in the right direction, but I feel 18 should be the absolute minimum. Need I remind you that sixteen year olds can't vote or get into an R rated movie? Kors also refuses to book models who show any sign of an eating disorder. Bravo for him, but I wonder what these official signs are as sometimes it is tough to tell. The fact that it is a big deal for him to say this publicly demonstrates the extent of disregard for and acceptance of eating disorders behind the scenes. I wouldn't blink if models told me they were encouraged to skip meals.

At the end of the day, this is nothing short of heart breaking. At the forum, Kors stated that this year the focus on the runways was a return to women, not young girls, as it should be: teenagers are not buying designer clothing {at least I hope they aren't}. Thirty or forty year olds plus are. I agree to a very very miniscule extent when he says that the focus was a return to women. Miuccia Prada tried. Kind of. She put out ridiculous amounts of press leading up to her show saying that the models she was going to use would blow everyone away and turn the fashion world upside down...cue the show...and who comes out? Not stick thin anorexic teens - thank the Lord - but...drumroll please... Victoria Secret models! {do I laugh? Not sure. Was she serious?}

Natalia Vodianova, a beautiful model with two adorable children, admitted to post-pregnancy eating disorders due to the pressure for her to start modeling again shortly after giving birth. Much therapy later she is recovering, thank goodness. Aside from the pain I feel for her that she voluntarily did this to herself, it makes me feel for her babies. Mothers who begin cutting calories immediately after giving birth do themselves no favors when it comes to their breast milk. This makes me think of Heidi Klum {who I just adore} who has returned twice to the Victoria Secret runway SIX WEEKS after giving birth. INSERT ONE HUNDRED MILLION EXCLAMATION POINTS HERE. Now as I said, I love Heidi to bits. She seems so down to earth and to really take pride in taking care of her four children, and I get so giddy over the fairy tale love between her and Seal, BUT she also said in an interview that to get down to an acceptable size for bra and knicker modeling less than 50 days after having a baby, every day she only ate one cup of turkey chili, a serving of egg whites, and a cup of vegetables. Y'all. Come on! NOT healthy. {If anyone can find something to contradict this, please tell me, as normally Heidi gets 5 gold stars in my book. But I saw her say this in an interview on tv so I think we have to take this as fact.}

Anna Wintour, THE most powerful woman in the fashion industry hands down, said at the health forum that her readers want healthy looking girls. {I wonder if she truly means healthy, or just healthy looking?? Hmmm...People drink Diet Coke in an effort to be thin - even though it does not even come close to doing this...yet that is a whole other story in itself - but it is FAR from healthy. Eew.} Anna went on to say, however, that it is almost impossible to use "real" women because sample sizes the designers send for photo shoots are size 0 or even size 00 nearly 99% of the time. Well, designers, please change this. If Anna said that she flat out refused to shoot samples that were smaller than a 4 the designers would listen, so I wish she would take more of a stand herself. She controls the industry and can therefore control the image.

I am already so afraid of any future little girl I may have seeing Victoria Secret models as real women. It *terrifies* me. I think back to an episode of Oprah that I saw years and years ago where there was a 5 year old who tried to run around during her entire recess - literally run and run and run - so that her thighs wouldn't touch in the center. An 8 year old on the same show had resorted to eating cotton and paper instead of food to try to not be fat. Would this have happened decades ago when this was the standard for beauty:

...as opposed to this?

I don't know, but my guess is that it would not have. Fashion is such a huge part of our lives today. On the poll I am conducting regarding what my readers want to see most of, fashion is by far in the lead with 73% of you having voted for it. So yes, we are paying attention to and being affected by the images thrown at us.

One woman who spoke at the forum was Doutzen Krous. Hottie McHott if you ask me. She is the new Victoria Secret model for their ad campaigns but has been rejected by high fashion designers because she is too fat. Um, excuse me? Please speak in my good ear because surely I did not hear that correctly. Look at her!

Image courtesy of Elements of Style

She is a beautiful, curvy, size 6. This just demonstrates the absurdity of the industry standard of a size 0.

I don't know about you, but I already put so much pressure on myself to try, try being the operative word, to have a flat stomach, thin thighs and a cellulite free booty that seeing a drop dead gorgeous woman like Doutzen be rejected because of her fatness makes me want to cry. Now I cannot speak for others, but it is very difficult for me to hear people comment on individuals they do not even know and say things along the lines of, "She would be so much cuter if she was a bit thinner." It pierces my heart. Furthermore, judgment on someone's outer appearance, rather than their inner beauty? I know, I know, this all sounds absurdly cliche but, in my opinion, IT IS SO TRUE. Perhaps that is why comments about others affect me so deeply, and also why I put so much pressure on myself; if people around me care enough about someone they have never met to comment on their appearance, what type of comments are they silently thinking about me? But then again, maybe these are my own insecurities that I need to conquer. Today, at 25, I am 20 pounds lighter than I was at 17, yet much more body conscious. Go figure.

All in all, I am not saying that the fashion industry is solely responsible for eating disorders. Promoting models that I can see through doesn't do anything to help the situation though. My wish is for a HEALTHY image to be promoted. Again, I do not mean a size 4 that drinks Diet Coke all day long. Nor do I mean a size 0 who is naturally thin and eats pizza and pasta three meals a day. I mean a healthy person whose diet revolves around organic vegetables and fruit, organic chicken and grass-fed beef, wild fish, water, etc. We have such extremes in the world today from obesity to anorexia that I truly believe if people focused on being healthy and forgot about an image they simply want to attain, the puzzle pieces would fall into place and we would be a better society as a result.

So that's my two cents. I pray that things start to go in a different direction in the fashion industry. Please remember to love yourself for who you are and not what you think you should be. And I will try to remind myself of the same.


  1. Hooray for Jamie Oliver's food revolution...
    Nobody WANTS to be FAT, but we should surely all want to be healthy!

  2. Sheridan, I just wanted to say that I LOVED this post. I read it last week and it just keeps coming across the forefront of my mind. Thanks so much!

  3. Amazing post.

    And to answer your question: No, my collar bone does not stick out enough. I have a feeling my daughter wouldn't like to snuggle with me if she got poked everytime, or felt like she was hitting her head against a wall.
    Let's be real!
    I appreciate the fact that those influential people came out to speak... but... sounds like they did it for PR sake. If they really wanted to make a change, and it meant something to them, there would be.

  4. I stumbled upon your beautiful blog and have been going back and reading old posts. You have a lovely sense of style and I also love your humor.

    I am with you on Coke, healthy eating etc. I even did a post called Coke is evil after parents were bringing it to my son's youth group for the kids on a school night!.

    And I totally fear for my own daughter (who is a beautiful 5 year old) with all the body image stuff. People have left comments about my kiddos bodies on my blog and it enrages me. They are thin because we eat healthy (like y'all do) and they don't sit around playing video games. So, our society judges both ways either too thin or too heavy. I m trying so hard to teach my kiddos to look for inner beauty.

    GREAT post.


  5. I just recently found your blog and have been hooked and looking at all your older posts like ALL the time!! i just love them!!

    But i TOTALLY agree with what you are saying in this post!! Fashion needs to take a turn and go to healthy women that are curvy and healthy. Not women who are only eating once a day and drinking water and are micro.

    But i love love love you blog it is so cute! and you little family is precious:]



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