"The code of conduct, to be issued this month, means that models will be scrutinized for body mass indexes, which use height and weight measurements to determine body fat, before they are allowed to work. Any girl with a BMI of less than 18.5 will be sent home. Other measures are a minimum age limit of 16 for models and a ban on using make-up to achieve an 'anorexic look' with dark shadows under the eyes," writes McMahon.
This is wonderful and, sadly, necessary. Though in my opinion, models are not as freakishly thin as they were in the 90s, the majority still do not represent a typical woman.
Yes, I know, they're NOT typical women. They're models. But that means they are in the public eye, showing women of all ages what to wear. Clothes designed for anorexic women look horrible on 'normal' women. And teenage girls who can't get the ultra-low-rise pants to cover her ass crack (because she actually HAS an ass crack) will learn to hate their bodies.
That's a simplification of a real phenomenon, but if you'll excuse the popcorn version of armchair psychology, I'll just keep going.
Of course, there is a risk of discrimination. But it's hard to say that (or type that) with a straight face. When has the fashion industry ever not been prejudiced? They are, in particular, prejudiced against fat women (exception: clothing designers who DESIGN clothes for bigger women). In this case, the ridiculously unhealthy sack of bones can go home while the healthy, curvy girl can show her shit on the runway.
Okay, that sounds harsh. J and I had a discussion about this the other day, and I was the cynic. I have trouble feeling sorry for women (and men) in the entertainment industry who become anorexic or bulimic. The same way that I don't feel sorry for women (and men) in said industry who gain a lot of weight in a short amount of time. All of these situations stem from mental illness.
I have trouble feeling sorry for these ill women and men because it makes me really mad. I can't help but think about all those pre-pubescent/pubescent girls reading magazines smeared with 50-pound women who care more about their careers than their own health. What kind of example is that?
This is why, as per the discussion J and I had, I don't feel upset or embarrassed when people make fun of someone like Mary-Kate Olsen or Nicole Ritchie. Both women have eating disorders and both are ridiculed frequently. They both have experience in the public arena, both know how entertainment news works, and both know that people are constantly looking at them. Most likely because of this (and the stresses surrounding a public life), the girls eat less and less until finally they are on a watermelon or celery diet. The public notices. Obviously. But in 2006, I am finally hearing people talk about them and their bodies negatively. This gives me hope for the public and, maybe, will force these girls to get help.
So, I guess all I'm saying is right on, Italy. I hope this starts a new trend. If models are normal, maybe more clothes will be normal, allowing women to be who they are and find clothes to match.