Stylebites Op Ed. The Fashion Spot Bans Commentary On Underweight Models. Second City Style Fashion Blog

November 1, 2006 • Magazine


Note from Second City Style: I am re-posting this because I think it is an important issue. I mean, I don’t think rescuing obscenely scary thin fashion models is, but the effect this way of thinking has on young girls and women and their abuse of their health and body image. There are actually websites, blogs and discussion boards dedicated to helping women starve themselves. Tell tFS know how you feel.

By Rachel of Stylebites

If you’re not familiar with the website, the Fashion Spot (tFS)
is one of the most widely read and dynamic public bulletin boards on
the Internet covering fashion. Chances are you’ve stumbled on it while
doing a Google search. There’s no better place to get the word on the
street about everything from the coming styles to what people think about Paris Hilton on the cover of French Vogue.  Want to become a fashion photographer?  Check tFS forums for info.  A stylist like moi? There are threads there for you?  Aspiring to be the next super modelAdvice abounds!

I frequently post comments  there and, following the skinny model debate post-NYC Fashion Week, I decided to weigh in on a few faces I’d seen on the runway in the flesh.

We all know it: they were skinny.
We read about it in the newspapers and have seen it on TV.

So I was surprised when a few "she was really skinny…it wasn’t even attractive" comments left on the Fashion Spot
by me were removed and I was warned via private message by a moderator
there not to post comments about weight and to review the posting policies of the site.

I did.  Here’s what the rules state:

The following are not permitted in any shape or form at tFS, and are grounds for warnings, suspension or a permanent ban…
7. Weight talk is not permitted.

I asked the moderator in response was simple, while I understand the
danger of allowing girls to chat about weight issues on the Net (one
has only to look at the alarming nature of the pro-anorexia sites), how is it positive to restrict comments about how these frighteningly thin models look unnatural and un-sexy?

Since these "weight comments" have been
banned, if you check the thread on any dangerously skinny model and
you’ll find plenty of comments which muse, "She’s soooo pretty" …"I
wish I could look like her" …"I’d give anything to look like her." A
member could (possibly) write, "I don’t think she looks sexy," but
wouldn’t be allowed to justify that with why ("because I can see her

Surely it’s not the goal of tFS
to encourage girls to adopt unhealthy eating habits or lifestyles but
I’m concerned that they may inadvertently be doing just this.

The debate over models and their weight is important for 2 reasons:

  1. Because they are arguably risking their health to be "cast-able" for the shows and campaigns.
  2. Because they serve as body image role models for millions of girls and women around the globe.

In case you missed the story, that whole mess about Madrid banning
models with dangerously low BMIs didn’t come out of nowhere. In Uruguay
on August 2 this year, model Luisel Ramos dropped dead of a heart attack after stepping off the runway.  As a result of being told she could "make it big" if she lost a "significant" amount of weight, Ramos had reportedly been eating only green leafy vegetables and drinking Diet Coke for months,
starving herself for several days before the show. (It should be
mentioned here that Diet Coke is a staple of many supermodels, one of
which I watched sucking down Diet Coke while she was running on the
treadmill. Heinous.)

Argue what you will but more than a few of
today’s top girls and up and coming new faces are also starving
themselves as anorexics or subscribing to laxatives and bullemia. What
can I say? It’s their career. They’ve been offered a way to make a lot
of money if they can fit a prescribed mold and while they may be
harming themselves it is their personal issue in the end.

the same lifestyle being passed on to regular girls and women that I
find more alarming. Becoming more and more obsessed with weight, women
are offered thinner and thinner models to admire. It’s the worst within
the fashion and entertainment industry itself, where I’m able to listen
colleagues debate whatever latest no-carb, no-fat, no-fun diet they’re
trying this week to slim down even further, even though they already
look better than great. As mentioned on MSNBC, Banana Republic and Nicole Miller in the U.S. are introducing sub-zero sizes to their lines to offer these women.  I have to wonder, how many of these women are there out there for whom a size 0 is too big?

time to start a discussion about this. Where will this slimmest of the
slim trend lead? When will women who are a happy size 6 or (gasp!)
something larger feel that society isn’t pressuring them to diet? Is
the kind of dieting most must commit to in order to reach these tiny
sizes even healthy? Will the pendulum ever swing back towards athletic
or even curvy?

This is what I’m wondering today.

In the meantime, if you’d like to drop the moderators at tFS a message
expressing your opinions on this weight talk ban, I’m sure that they’d
be happy to start a discussion and hopefully the boards can be opened
up to a more positive conversation about what looks beautiful and what
looks otherwise.

Shake it up,

Note: If you would like more info on eating disorders please visit the Fashtastic for personal stories, factual articles, essays and links.

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

One Response to Stylebites Op Ed. The Fashion Spot Bans Commentary On Underweight Models. Second City Style Fashion Blog

  1. I think it is awful how flipant the whole fashion industry has been about the underweight model ban.I’ve got an online petition to impose a smiliar ban in London to the one in madrid. I was petitioning prior to the last fashion week, and was told by a fashion photogropher that “eating disorders are just bad parenting.”

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