Tiffany Lang Professor Presnell November 12, 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 isn’t much they can do. The modeling industry has a lot more that goes on than what most people imagine. Most models have a tough career and a lot of what they go through on a daily basis affects their health, but it has gotten to the point of affecting the health of people all over the world. There is a lot of discussion about how to take care of the health problems in the modeling industry. The British Fashion Council recommended that models be screened for eating disorders, but there is no actual way to “screen” anyone for anorexia. This is an even bigger issue because in America an employer cannot fire someone because they have a disease and anorexia is looked at as a disease. Even if the right thing to do would be letting the model go if she/he had anorexia, it is not legal. There aren’t many deaths from anorexia, so even though it’s not healthy they probably will be okay. Models are more in risk to die from things like driving a car than an eating disorder. Stopping very thin models from doing their job won’t help the disease at large because it’s already gotten to that point. It’s suggested that the disorder is genetic, and not environmental. With these statistics it’s hard to convince the modeling industry to change any rules or regulations 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 the dangerously thin models that are setting standards of global fashion. At a meeting of the Council of Fashion Designers of America there were guidelines announced, but the participants weren’t happy with what was said. They had plans to help the models get more sleep and have a healthy diet, but most of the participants were hoping there would be better plans that required models to have an objective measure of health, like what show organizers in Milan and Madrid did, in banning overly skinny models. Like I said before, Americans think that it would be too difficult to measure things like that. A big disagreement that was talked about is that having a standard BMI isn’t fair because of different heights and ages of models. Even though many European designers are now putting this rule out, the Americans are still disagreeing on it because it would be unrealistic to create rules on the fashion industry as a whole. They say that it is not anything they don’t do already. They believe that they manage the health of their models well enough and having a specification wouldn’t be any more helpful than what they already do. David Bonnouvrier, the chief executive of DNA Model Management, thinks that the guidelines they did create will be successful. He knows that it’s a serious issue for people to pay attention to, but they can’t force anything and change the designers’ choices. From what I read in the article in The New York Times, I am not very happy with how this issue is being handled. Most of the people that were interviewed do not show as much concern as I believe should be put out there. They think they put enough effort and that’s enough. People in charge of parts of the modeling industry say that they know there are problems with young girls everywhere, and want to do everything to help, but

they are more focused on the fact that it would be too difficult to have a set in stone rule. Ms. Bauer says, “I get this pressure. The reality is that your entire career is somewhat based on being thin. It’s a tricky thing.” They’re all aware of what’s going on, but they don’t seem to do enough to try and change it. The article as a whole seems to be moving in a positive direction, but to me it seems fake.

Liris Crosse is a model that hosted Curves Rock Fashion in Baltimore, Maryland. She has been in the modeling industry for 16 years now as a plus size model and her goal has been to show the disparity of plus size models in the fashion industry. She has been known to be in many magazines and featured in multiple campaigns for plus-size clothing companies. Liris helps prove that just because you might be a size 10 or up there isn’t not a place for you in the fashion industry. Clearly not all models deal with all of the stereotypical health hazards. Plus size models would not have any eating disorders, because if they did then they wouldn’t be plus size models. They also probably don’t deal with drug abuse because they don’t have as much pressure to look perfect, like the skinny models. There are many pros and cons that are related to a career in modeling. One of the most serious health hazards models deal with is substance abuse. They have so much stress to meet the expectations they are given and a lot end up in rehab because of it. Another is anorexia, which is because of their dieting, exercises, and use of laxatives. After time they often fall to depression. Models tend to have irregular work schedules

because sleep and diet times change, and this can end up affecting their health as well. It’s a hard industry to deal with, but it definitely is possible to stay successful. Over the past ten years males have become much more conscious about their weight and physical image. Even men who aren’t involved with modeling or any celebrity career care just as much. Today, about 25% of eating disorders are males. These statistics show that thin has become the cultural mainstream. Men used to want to look athletic and big, but now even that is slowly changing. The muscular man is still ideal, but there are a lot more cases of skinny males too. Male models have it even worse because they are only concerned as to what others perceive them as. The increasing male eating disorders is not a good thing. This is still a problem that is going on and it’s a very difficult one to take care of.

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