Thursday, February 11, 2010

"We Are They": The Blame Game in Unrealistic Images of Women in Fashion

Fascinating rundown at Jezebel of a panel for the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Health Initiative, started in response to the eating-disorder-related deaths of three young models. (And having little result, per Anna Wintour.) Jenna and the commenters bring up pretty much everything I have to say on the issue, so I won't comment too much except to say that I'm relieved to read that so many people called bullshit on the neverending blame game.

Magazines say they "can't" feature models whose bodies are above the sample size (which is very small), because designers don't provide them with sample sizes in, say, size 8. Designers say they "can't" make their samples larger because they are responding to the norms of the industry. Which is dictated by...magazines and other designers. Model agencies say they provide prepubescent girls as models because that's what the industry demands, and hell, there's just so many of them from countries with shaky economies (unsurprisingly, often the same countries where sex trafficking is an enormous problem for this same demographic). The models themselves say they are powerless to stand up for their bodies' needs, because they often have families back in their native country to feed, and there's always another girl who will live on cigarettes to fit the norm to take her place.

I wish I knew the identity of the female fashion designer who said during the Q&A portion of the panel: "Trends start by agreement. We keep saying 'They started it,' but we are 'they.' We are they." I'd buy her clothes in a size 8 minute.

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