In late March, Isreal banned models with a Body Mass Index below 18.5, which is the BMI categorization of underweight. It was a specific, measurable categorization of models. Well now Vogue magazine, including all 19 of its editions around the world, has banned models “Under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder.” They’ve promised to check IDs during photo shoots to ensure their models aren’t underage. American Vogue has been making some strides recently by featuring “larger” women like Adele and Jennifer Hudson pre-Weight Watchers. Now they’re taking a bolder step, but is it enough? An eating disorder group says it’s a step in the right direction, but that they need to ban all models under 18 and with BMIs under 18.5:
The move by Vogue magazines to no longer work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder is a big step in the right direction, the head of a Canadian eating disorder organization says.
“Really, for them to come this far is huge,” said Dr. Robbie Campbell, associate professor of psychiatry at Western University in London, Ont., and president of the Eating Disorder Foundation of Canada.
“It’s a move toward healthy modelling, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, healthy habits, healthy temperament, which all leads to a healthy body image.
On Thursday, Condé Nast International, the publisher of Vogue magazines, announced that 19 editors of magazines around the world made the pact to project the image of healthy models.
But the new policy only applies to Vogue magazines. A spokeswoman said there no current plans to implement these guidelines across the company to include other magazines like Glamour and Allure.
Still, Campbell said the Vogue magazines should be praised for taking that first step.
“They’re making a huge effort and we should applaud them.”
Campbell slammed the use of some of the models in magazines who portray a “sick image for our well girls to try and identify with. It’s horrid.”
Campbell said there are still problems within the 16- to 18-year age group as well and that Vogue’s guidelines should consider using older models and factor in their body mass index (BMI). He said 75 per cent of girls suffering from anorexia have a BMI of 17.5.
“I would rather them be 18 years old with an 18.5 BMI.”
But he still offered high praise for the efforts by “an international consortium, who thrive on promoting thinness, who thrive on promoting unwellness.”
Campbell said the images of models in those magazines are a major contributing factor to eating disorders. But other factors also play a role, including genetics, relationship issues, personality factors, and mental health issues such as depression, bipolar illness and obsessive compulsive disorder.
“All these things are part of the big picture. You can’t say it’s one thing. But the media is driving the one thing that seems to keep it in front of us all the time. So actually the media serves as a constant trigger as we’re trying to move these girls toward wellness.”
It’s a start. It would be nice to have more measurable guidelines, but baby steps I guess. I would love to see the standard for models be between a size four and six. That’s still incredibly fit, but healthy. Have you seen that image of the “plus-sized” model with the “typical” model? It’s shocking. According to the magazine that created that image, Plus Model Magazine, “Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for anorexia.” They add that “Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighted 8% less than the average woman. Today she weighs 23% less.” It’s hard to know where they got their statistics, but even if they’re not dead on, they’re believable.
I looked through so many photos of model in preparation for this story. A lot of them of course looked seriously underweight to me. Finding a model who looked especially tiny in that group was hard given the incredibly thin comparisons. So these photos are somewhat random. There’s also one of Candice Swanepoel back when she was exceptionally tiny and it was such a controversy. She looks small compared to other models, but the Victoria’s Secret models are usually more “normal” size, which is of course incredibly relative in the fashion industry.
Also, I just want to recount what American Vogue editor Anna Wintour once said on 60 Minutes about the controversy over too-thin models.
“I’d just been on a trip to Minnesota, where I can only kindly describe most of the people I saw as little houses. There’s such an epidemic of obesity in the United States, and for some reason, everybody focuses on anorexia.”
That’s so bitchy, but at least she was convinced to do something. I bet she fought back too. This woman admitted telling Oprah to lose weight before she earned the cover in 1998.
Written by Celebitchy
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