I'm sure you've seen it by now, (because you're a clever bunny) but in case you haven't, here is a statement Conde Nast International released yesterday after 19 international editors of Vogue agreed, to much applause from everyone (Yay Vogue!!!) that..well, read the statement. (I've waded through all the word play and just posted the important bit.)
“1. We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image.
“2. We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.
“3. We will help to structure mentoring programs where more mature models are able to give advice and guidance to younger girls, and we will help to raise industry-wide awareness through education, as has been integral to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Health Initiative.
“4. We will encourage producers to create healthy backstage working conditions, including healthy food options and a respect for privacy. We will encourage casting agents not to keep models unreasonably late.
“5. We encourage designers to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes, and encourages the use of extremely thin models.
“6. We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.”
So...yeah. Take that stereotypes of the fashion industry! We can change if we want to.
As always, people are complaining, saying that this isn't enough, and is just the tip of the iceberg. To those people, I would like to say : In order to get to this point has taken a lot of work and fight, so please sit down and be quiet, unless you're saying "thank you" to those who are trying to make it a better world for models. (Sara Ziff & Friends, looking at you)
However, I want to bring something up that seriously bothered me when I was reading the many (gajillion of zillions) of posts about the recent announcements. When reading the comments, instead of people being happy about this wonderful news, most felt the need to use this as an opportunity to voice their disdain for the fashion industry. It appalled me. They were of the opinion that the models, by modelling, were actually "asking for an eating disorder" and that anyone who allowed their daughter to model was "an idiot" or "stupid beyond belief". For me, it was amazing that ANYONE could be this supremely ridiculous. I then found this one comment, written by an wonderful Anon, which basically summed up what I was thinking:
"I am so sick of all of you who use these posts to bad mouth the fashion industry. How dare you say that models bring eating disorders upon themselves, or condemn parents who allow their daughters to model? I began modelling when I was 14, and while there have been some dark parts, it has overall been one of the greatest experiences of my life. But I was a lucky one. This is a cutthroat industry, and it's easy to become collateral damage. It isn't directly any one person's fault. Unless you are directly involved in the industry, please keep your opinion to yourself. You have no idea what you're talking about. I applaud those who are attempting to change things for the better, you're bringing in a brighter future."
(Anon, you deserve an award.)
Eating disorders are not something you "catch". It is a disease that is unfortunately common in the modelling world. But in taking this step, the fashion industry is attempting to reverse that. As for allowing your daughter to model, that's a personal choice, which you have no right to judge.
There is one bit in that statement that bothers me a bit.
"...who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image."
I'm trying to figure out how they will judge this. What does someone who "appears to have an eating disorder" look like? How devastated must she appear? Every skinny model you see does not have an ED. She might just naturally be really skinny. It happens. I am 5'8, 14 years old, and I weigh 110lbs, which puts my body mass index as underweight according to the national standard. I am perfectly healthy, and I eat like a horse (ask anyone who has ever eaten with me). This is just my body type, but if you put me on the cover of Vogue, would it appear that they were promoting an unhealthy image? It's healthy for me, but if that isn't your body type, it isn't for you. So what are they to do?
I highly doubt the fashion industry will ever have size 10 models, but that doesn't mean we can't encourage you to embrace your body type.
Be you, you're the best you there'll ever be.