Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Zaftig or Skeletal?




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.

6 comments:

Dr. Prole said...

Ever get the feeling that most fashion designers hate women?

deBeauxOs said...

Gee, What could possibly be our first clue, after their explicit preference for those 'model' bodies that most ressemble coat hangers but aren't yet immobile cadavers?

Dr. Prole said...

Our next clue is the shoes. The towering, pinch-ey, pointy shoes that you need special lessons to walk in. Let's face it, we're *this close* to foot binding with some of those torture devices.

fern hill said...

For me, it's just how frigging stooopid so much haute couture looks. Like when some designer comes out with a 'circus theme' line or some weird crap like that. The designers are giggling their asses off at the uber-rich women paying gazillions of dollars to look like ijits.

Bina said...

Oh gawd, I don't know what's worse--the Size 0 fetish, or those awful platform-plus-stiletto skank shoes. Are they trying to kill the models? Sure looks that way.

Good on the designer who used some real-size girls--they looked a thousand percent better than their "regular" counterparts. Next time, though, I'd stay away from the all-nude makeup--it makes even healthy women look anemic. Blush, please!

google_account said...

I've always been a fan of plus-size models! There's a great site with many images of plus-size models here:

http://www.judgmentofparis.com/

They're all gorgeous.

The site's forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

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