The Regina Mom sent me a link to an article that features the photographs seen at the top of this post.
London Fashion Week starts today, a seven-day parade of the Emperor's Designer Clothes, made of tinfoil or feathers or rubber. A few years ago, I was sent backstage to cover this event ...
At the end of the cat-walk, there stood a parade of young women who looked like they were about to collapse. On camera, fashion models look worryingly thin. In the (non-)flesh, they look so emaciated that the only other place I have ever seen people like them is reporting on African famines. Their eyes are glazed, shut-down because they have no fuel to run on. These coked-out jangles of gristle and bone were smeared with cosmetics, squeezed into a dress design that appeared to be made of rubbish bags, and pushed out to shimmy down the cat-walk ... When they stumbled back, they appeared faint and listless, and leaned against a wall, looking like they needed an IV drip.
The fashion world claims two sets of victims. The first are the women who it uses as models, for a brief window, before discarding them. They are on average 25 percent below a normal, healthy woman's weight. We know how they achieve this, because many former models say so: they starve themselves. They live on water and lettuce for weeks. When they fall below a Body Mass Index of twelve, they start to consume their own muscles and tissues. Several models have dropped dead from starvation after success at fashion shows in the past few years.
But there is a broader circle of victims, far beyond the cat-walk's cat-calls. They are ordinary women who are bombarded with these highly manufactured images of "beauty" every day, and react either by feeling repulsive or trying out semi-starvation for themselves. A Harvard University study found that 80 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies, and only 1 percent are "completely happy."
The other photograph accompanied an article in the Daily Mail online, again about London Fashion Week.
... take London Fashion Week's current stand on what constitutes beauty. There have been lots of initiatives to inject a few curves and laughter lines into the event, most notably from knitwear designer Mark Fast, who sent plus-size models down the runway, a brave statement that meant his stylist walked out, furious.Was the stylist angry that the clothing clung to the models' curves, instead of hanging off the skeletal frames of clothes-hanger-thin, barely alive mannequins? How gauche.
In August Antonia Z wrote about the resistance to female flesh, sometimes expressed as hatred towards women who don't and won't conform to the current fashion demand for taut, tight or gaunt. The photograph of Lizzi Miller who brazenly shows off her voluptuous body, including her little belly created quite the uproar.