last week, one of my favourite sites, FASHIONISTA published an article featuring KATYA ZHARKOVA‘s recent editorial with PLUS MODEL MAGAZINE. the spread was basically nudie pics of plus-sized katya (looking smokin’, might i add) surrounded by so-called stats about eating disorders. the spread itself raised a lot of controversy (some of which i obviously participated in) and all in all ruffled a few feathers. pretty typical for an editorial about weight and body image in this industry — but the arguments that started on the comments section were actually pretty enlightening (for the most part)
the stats in the editorial are, for one thing, not entirely true. this isn’t so obvious at first glance (i admit that my first time skimming the spread i was all “fuck yeah! power to the people!!”). here are some examples:
-Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.
– Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.
seems legit right? wrong! let’s break this down, shall we? the bottom line is that today, the average woman is a heck of a lot more chubbs than she was 20 years ago. i say this with complete seriousness. portion size, demographic, the way we eat, the fast food lifestyle…are all factors. but face it – that stat is totally misleading.
same with the next one (and this i learned in the comments section) – – BMI is not the only factor that influences whether or not you’re anorexic. it’s a mental health disorder, as well as a physical disorder – you could look completely healthy (or overweight, for that matter) and still be anorexic. what’s more is that some women (models included) are just naturally thin (or naturally bigger), and pushing the concept of “real women” (or whatever) is promoting unrealistic expectations all around. the important thing is to be healthy and happy with your body.
inspirational message of the day aside, the seriousness of the situation got to me. what kind of world are we creating where there’s no easy way to promote body image without getting shit on (seriously. go read the comments!) – i see what PLUS MODEL MAG was trying to do here, and i totally respect it. but they approached it in the wrong way. pushing a “real body” image is right in theory, but somehow doesn’t quite make it there in reality. this isn’t to be all “skinny people have feelings too” but more of a…”everyone is different, so shut the fuck up”
there’s hundreds of thousands of girls suffering from eating disorders. is the fashion world really to blame? probably! the fashion world creates unrealistic expectations, but hey…it’s 2012. who doesn’t? movies, celebrities, athletes, that hot friend of yours (bitch), that marathon girl at the gym, charlize theron….that seems kind of harsh, but in all honesty, i don’t think the way to promote healthy body image is to promote a certain body image, but by promoting happiness in your own skin.
read the full article here: http://bit.ly/y1Cbve