Models in the news

Apparently the beauty standard now is so strict that even your average fashion model isn’t quite up to it.

Oddly enough, I looked at the accompanying picture and my first reaction was, “That’s your ideal torso?” I would have picked something hourglassier, with a lower waist-hip ratio. Not that this torso has a high waist-hip ratio, but since we’re unconstrained by reality here… I’ve also noticed that most clothing models don’t have visible abs, I’m a little surprised about that as well. I thought maybe it was a testament to just how hard it is to have visible abs (maybe it’s harder to build up the muscle for them if your BMI is very low?), but again, we’re unconstrained by reality here. (Personally I was pretty jealous of Naomie Harris’ abs in 28 Days Later… I tried to find a picture with Google Images but couldn’t. So if you haven’t seen that movie, trust me, they were impressive.)

Also, this quote amuses me:

A demand for more “real women” in the media is usually one of my biggest pet peeves. Yes we need more body diversity in our ad campaigns, TV shows, and fashion spreads — but when women say, “I don’t want to see skinny models, I want to see real women,” it implies that anyone who gets paid to pose for a living is somehow not an actual human being. And that’s the kind of demeaning reverse discrimination that we just don’t need.  

Well, today I stand corrected because it turns out that sometimes models really aren’t actual human beings.


In other news about models, Israel has banned the use of models with a BMI <18.5. One of my FaceBook friends is naturally underweight and upset by this. I have mixed feelings about it, but I think my final opinion is that it’s a bad idea for the government to start banning certain models because they aren’t/don’t look healthy. Ideally, the modeling industry should feature models of many sizes. Realistically, this ban will shift the models from being a uniform 17.5 BMI (or whatever BMI models are right now) to a uniform 18.5. Maybe the ban will help girls have a more realistic body image, but I don’t know, 18.5 is still pretty low (and all the models will keep their BMIs as low as they can get away with, so don’t expect them to go above 19).

Sadly, in her resentment she started talking about how “some people” thought that plus size models were better role models than underweight models, but they weren’t, and maybe those models should be banned too. (None of these “some people” were responding to her post. Personally, having read Crystal Renn’s book and seen her in that debate with Marilynn Wann, MeMe Roth, and… the other one, I think Crystal Renn is a pretty good role model, but I can’t say anything about any other plus size models.) There was also discussion from both her and the lone voice on that FaceBook post who was pro-ban about how you could supposedly tell by looking whether an overweight or underweight model was at their natural weight or had gotten there by unhealthy means. Yeah, just like you can tell by looking at people’s skin whether they eat healthy. Even if you could tell in person, I doubt that would still be true once the models have been photoshopped beyond recognition. (I swear I saw an article, probably on Jezebel, about how magazines will photoshop out certain aspects of being very thin, like protruding bones. These might be the sorts of things that some people think mean you can totally tell whether someone is healthy or not.)

I have seen the “all models should be a BMI-normal weight!” sentiment online before in the wake of plus-size model publicity. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see laws that put both a lower and an upper limit on BMI in the future. I think that this would be both healthist (people who aren’t perfectly healthy are so terrible that they can’t be seen in magazines?) and would only reinforce our limited idea of health (who says that someone over or under the BMI-normal range isn’t perfectly healthy?).

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3 Responses to Models in the news

  1. Tori says:

    Maybe all models should just be computer generated? Well, at least then, the conversations and speculations on who’s healthy versus who’s not would be… maybe not gone entirely, but at least rendered quite silly.

  2. I like it! No more worries about poor working conditions for models when they’re all just computer-generated images…

  3. G says:

    They make those, they’re called mannequins– and obviously not human… we can just strive for molded plastic bodies…

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