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Pretty Is…

Sep
14
2006

Pardon me if I don’t break out the champagne quite yet, but this move to ban the unhealthily skinniest models from Madrid’s big fashion shows this month doesn’t quite seem to be a full breakthrough.
The idea is that the bone-thin models contribute to distorting girls’ and women’s self images and are a factor in increasing cases of eating disorders. Sure, after much talk about the problem, this crackdown can only help. And although I know all the models – or their agents – will say it’s just genetics that makes the mannequins so skinny, the idea that any model who fails the weigh-in at the shows will be presented to a doctor is definitely a chuckle. And actually, maybe some of the models really will get help, and I’ve got nothing against this move as a first step.
But of course, the models they’re leaving in the shows aren’t exactly in need of Slim Fast. Look at this article, down at the last two paragraphs. It figures. How would the ban be interpreted in fashion industry terms? Sure, you can get rid of that waif-like Kate Moss-style model – and bring back the healthier, “voluptuous,” look of a Cindy Crawford-type model. Yeah, Cindy Crawford – there’s a realistic body image for girls to focus on. (Full disclosure: I’m eating a chocolate muffin as I write.) Cindy Crawford is a model, and models are as perfect looking as human bodies can get. That’s the whole point of models. The specific standard of beauty may change, from heroin addict look to super fit athlete but with only pretty muscles, but it’s still out of reach of most of us – if not, who’d want to buy anything?
Remember, models are hired to sell things. Fashion, which I admit does have its fun side, is about creating new wants. Or in other words, creating dissatisfactions that only new purchases can satisfy. Happy with red? Wrong – blue’s the new black this year. Don’t look like Cindy Crawford yet? Well, try buying something else.
It’s the same idea as if some book company paraded women who’ve won Nobel Prizes in front of us (and wouldn’t that be brief but interesting?), and said, “Look what these women are reading.” Now, sure, if we read the same books as Nobel Prize winners, odds are we’d get smarter. And great – people should get as smart as they can. But would we win Nobel Prizes too? That’s clearly a joke. Yet many of us think we’re supposed to aim for models’ looks. Yeah, it’s fine to try to be attractive, but why is that such a major part of women’s self-improvement lists?
Some men too, of course, are trapped in the idea that appearance is all. So there’s obviously something missing for a lot of us, but whatever that is, I don’t think we’ll find it in a size 2 Prada.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 6:11 PM | Permalink

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