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Underweight Models
Untitled Document

BATTLE FOR HEALTHY MODELS

The “Skinny” on the Modeling Industry’s Influence over Body Image


models, fashion models, underweight models, body image, modeling industry, body image media, body image influence, negative body image
As the waistlines of models continue to shrink and more women and girls fall victim to eating disorders, the epidemic of unhealthy models continues to spread at a rapid rate. Models are getting skinnier and skinnier as the years go by, and the waiflike figures parading down the runway are far from healthy, according to nutritionists and health experts. The trend is prevalent enough that media giants and magazines are taking note and even speaking out about the alarming rate of eating disorders and poor body image that affect millions of women year after year.

THE STATE OF THE MODELING INDUSTRY

models, fashion models, underweight models, body image, modeling industry, body image media, body image influence, negative body image

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) sets many of the standards and guidelines for the modeling industry, and is being prompted by many designers and eating disorder campaigns to make some important changes.

Designer Bradley Bayou recently spoke out against the rising trend in waiflike models because of his own daughter’s struggle. His 26-year old daughter has suffered from bulimia, which prompted Bayou to begin serving as an ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association. The designer is encouraging the Council of Fashion Designers of America to require medical checkups for models to ensure that they are not suffering from an eating disorder and putting their health – and even their lives – at stake.

Skeletal models can send a dangerous message to teenagers and tweens who are suffering from low self-esteem and those who look up to the fashion industry for tips on how to keep up with the latest trends. Seeing too-skinny models day after day can have a negative impact on body image and self-esteem, and magazines such as Teen Vogue are making attempts to shift to healthy-looking models whenever possible.

models, fashion models, underweight models, body image, modeling industry, body image media, body image influence, negative body image

WHAT IS A HEALTHY SIZE?

Most models working on the runways of major cities such as New York, Milan and London have to diet down to a 00 size or smaller, and the majorities have very small, petite frames to begin with. Size 00 is difficult to reach and maintain for the average woman, and most women who attempt to diet down to this size can end up with a dangerous eating disorder and simply become unhealthy. Modeling industry standards demand models to be no more than a size 4 dress size, and a size 2 or 0 in some cases. A healthy size is different for each person; a healthy weight and size depends on genetics, bone structure and overall lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, this healthy weight is often incompatible with today’s modeling standards.


HOW CAN THE MODELING INDUSTRY CHANGE?

The modeling industry does have the opportunity to change. However, this may require ongoing education and new guidelines and restrictions to make long-term changes that benefit the lives of models and their families. Some options include:

  • Educating prospective models about eating disorders and encouraging them to be alert about the signs of an eating disorder
  • Encouraging models who are suffering from eating disorders to seek help
  • Encouraging agents and fashion directors to exclude models that have an existing eating disorder or excluding those who are deemed “high risk” candidates
  • Supplying healthy meals and fitness education backstage
  • Reducing the market demand for ultra-skinny models by asking designers to create clothes with larger sizes in mind
models, fashion models, underweight models, body image, modeling industry, body image media, body image influence, negative body image

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Article Written By: Sabah Karimi; Sabah writes on style, beauty and fashion trends for DivaVillage.



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