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Published by Tiffany Nicole Lang

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Published by: Tiffany Nicole Lang on Dec 02, 2012
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Tiffany LangProfessor PresnellNovember 25, 2012
Weight in the Modeling Industry
“I feel like we should promote health as a part of beauty rather than setting rules.”
This is a statement from Diane von Furstenberg, the president of the designers’ council
explaining the importance of the effect models have on society, but the fact that there isnot much they can do. The modeling industry has a lot more that goes on than what mostpeople imagine. Most models have a tough career and a lot of what they go through on adaily basis affects their health, but it has gotten to the point of affecting the health of people all over the world. Since I am and plan to be involved in the business of photography, this topic interested me a lot. My focus is not going to be fashionphotography with models, but I do not know what could end up happening in the future,and if I ever did end up doing that kind of photography I would not be happy if I knew allof the negative things that go on in that industry. I wanted to see for myself what trulygoes on underneath the beauty and fashion.
Focus on Health
When I began the research for this project I had a totally different view oneverything. I thought that there were massive amounts of eating disorders and healthproblems that occur in the modeling industry. Throughout the research I did, yes, I didfind that there are a lot of issues with the health of models, but fortunately, there is notnearly as much as I had thought there was to begin with. Since models are hired based on
their body type, they are generally already tall and skinny. Some do develop eatingdisorders because they want to look perfect for their modeling, but a lot of them do nothave to change anything because that is how they have always been.There definitely are issues though and there is a lot of discussion about how totake care of the health problems that do tend to occur within the modeling industry. TheBritish Fashion Council have recommended that models should be screened and tested
for eating disorders, but there is no actual way to “screen”
anyone for anorexia. Anemployer would have to assume that the model had an eating disorder and that wouldcreating an even larger issue because in America an employer cannot fire someonebecause they have a disease and eating disorders are looked at as diseases. Even thoughthe right thing to do would be to fire the model if she/he had an eating disorder, it wouldnot be legal in America. There are not many deaths from anorexia or other eatingdisorders, so even though it is not healthy to have that disease, they probably will be okayeventually. Models are more in risk to die from things like driving a car, like otherhumans, than an eating disorder. It became obvious that stopping very thin models fromdoing their job will not help the disease at large because it is already gotten to that point.It is suggested that the disorder is genetic, and not environmental so models and the restof society cannot take all the blame for the problems with teenagers and eating disorders.With these statistics it is hard to convince the modeling industry to change any rules orregulations they have with the weight of their models, especially here in America.In the fall of 2006, American designers were trying to do something about thedangerously thin models that are setting the standards of global fashion. There was ameeting held for the Council of Fashion Designers of America and there were guidelines
that were announced, but the participants were not too happy with what was said. Theydid have plans to help the models get more sleep and stick to a healthy diet, but most of the participants were hoping that there would be better plans and ideas that required themodels to have an objective measure of health, like what show organizers in Milan andMadrid did, in banning overly skinny models. Like I said before, Americans think that itwould be too difficult to measure things like that so they tried to do everything exceptthat. A big disagreement that was talked about is that having a standard Body MassIndex (BMI) would not fair because of different heights and ages of models. It truly ishard to determine if someone is too skinny or not and it puts the people in charge in a badplace either way.Even though many European designers are now putting this rule out, theAmericans are still disagreeing on it because it would be unrealistic to create rules on thefashion industry as a whole. They say that it is not anything they do not do already.They believe that they manage the health of their models well enough and having aspecification would not be any more helpful than what they already do now. DavidBonnouvrier, the chief executive of DNA Model Management, believes that theguidelines they did create will be successful (Radford). He knows that it is a seriousissue for people to pay attention to, but they do not have the right to force any changes or
change the designers’ choices.
From what I read in the article in
The New York Times
, I am not very happy withhow this issue is being handled. Most of the people that were interviewed do not show asmuch concern as I believe should be put out there. They think that they have put forthenough effort and that is enough to make them feel okay with what is going on. People

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