Controversial Report Supports Skinny Models in the Fashion Industry


We are constantly bombarded with the concept of the ‘perfect’ body but is it corrupting the fashion world and the women seduced by it?  Stepping away from the usual entertainment and student news, today Young Academic looks into the idea of the unattainable form of models and the controversial report which supports size zero.

Skinny silhouettes reign in the world of high fashion with fashion designers favouring size zero models but with obesity on the rise some officials believe that promoting bigger models seems to be a paradox.  Nearly half of men and a third of women in the UK are predicted to be obese by the year 2025 with current NHS costs of £4.2 billion.  A new report warns that removing thin models from the runway could worsen the UK’s obesity epidemic.

Over the decades, the ideal body shape has changed dramatically: from the curvaceous figures like Marilyn Monroe to the size zero models and celebrities of today – Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Madonna and the list goes on and on.  In modern society, the relentless promotion of the ‘perfect’ body has been put on women to strive after the unattainable ideal.  Front covers are constantly filled with diet and exercise regimes so it seems inevitable that women become aware of their bodies. The fundamental problem is that the media and advertising industries present unattainable forms with the help of edited photos, presenting unrealistic women.  An abundance of online videos featuring photo-shopped women show the true distortion between the virtual world and the real world. The problem is not that photos are retouched but that young women seeking confidence and self-identity are more vulnerable to society’s seductive messages.

The media, advertising, fashion and cosmetic industries hold power over women and are all part of the propaganda which promotes the idea that in order to have value in modern day society, we must constantly strive for physical perfection.  The link between happiness, power and success and the ‘perfect’ body are constantly suggested through fashion campaigns.

Recent figures show an 80% rise in the number of young girls admitted to hospital with anorexia in England over the last decade.  It has been argued that the powerful influences of the media have provoked a rise in the number of women with eating disorders.  Why then has a recent report defended the use of size zero models in the world of high fashion?

Two researchers, Dr Davide Dragone and Dr Luca Savorelli, from the University of Bologna, Italy claim that introducing larger models into the fashion industry will increase unhealthy eating habits.  Their research argues that increasing the average size of models will alter the perception of the general public and their idea of the ideal weight thus worsening the obesity epidemic.

Since 2006, following the death of super-skinny, Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos, the fashion industry and Italy, Spain and Germany have made an agreement to introduce new rules requiring a higher mimimum size for models.  High Street fashion labels have also seen an increase in the production of larger sizes.

Now in 2011, larger women have failed to become anything more than a novelty in fashion with models like Kate Moss continuing to live by the motto of “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”  It does, however, seem that the fashion world is taking very small steps towards accepting more diversity on the runway and in advertising campaigns so there is still a chance that one day the women in the industry will actually look like real women.

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