Recently The Daily Beast writer Robin Givhan explored the notion that fashion models aren’t the ones to blame for their skinny looks and ability to make millions and wear clothes the average sized 14 woman can’t fit a thigh into. She writes:
The fashion industry simply loves a skinny young girl. And for the average woman, fashion continues to deliver a brutal, frustrating fantasy. But are the models to blame for women’s psychic battering? To most critics, skinny models seem to exacerbate the occurrence of eating disorders. But over time, it hasn’t mattered if the models-of-the-day were waifs or Amazons.
Experts say there’s no evidence that the rate of eating disorders has spiked or plummeted accordingly. So apparently size doesn’t matter. Rather, fashion’s sin is that it peddles dissatisfaction. What one has is never quite pretty enough, luxurious enough, glamorous enough — and, with obesity on the rise and baby boomers settling into retirement — thin, toned, and tight enough.
Preying on a woman’s insecurities about their body isn’t limited to models or the fashion industry. You can’t pass a channel on television without seeing commercials for weight loss programs or pills. For the longest, these commercials have been specifically targeted towards women, but last year Charles Barkley’s commercials for Weight Watchers put men under the microscope.
Is the fashion industry responsible for ‘peddling dissatisfaction’? We’ve all read the stories about underage models, that have barely reached puberty, as well as the effort to try to keep emaciated looking models off the runway, but is that good enough? Does ‘good enough’ even matter when the fashion industry’s bottom line is making money?
“Why can’t we make peace with fashion? Perhaps because we can’t decide if it is a commodity industry that should respond to a marketplace filled with size 14 women, or if it is an art form that should be free to weave elusive fantasies,” says Givhan. Instead of t-shirts like, “Don’t Feed The Models,” maybe they should be changed to “Don’t Blame The Models” instead because they’re only doing the job they were hired for.
Everyone is complicit in this exploitative system.