It’s that time of year again, when the world’s top models descend on the Capital for London Fashion Week. This year however, there is a call for a new law to be made to ban those who are dangerously thin from taking part.
It’s the never-ending debate over the size zero model, and one that may not find a conclusion. Are the slimmer models on the catwalk pushing people in to an eating disorder in order to become “slim enough”, and if so, should the law be created to try to enforce this? That’s what is being discussing now.
There are many models and agencies who believe that modelling should reflect people of all shapes and sizes. Questioned on Sky News, Elia Johnson (self confessed curvy model) says “I definitely feel that different body types should be represented, because the world is filled with so many different body types”.
In some countries around Europe, it is already in place that models need to fall within specific BMI (Body Mass Index, which claims to indicate when someone is over or underweight based on their height) to take part in shows. However Britain is different as the British Fashion Council insists, the BMI scale is not an accurate measure for young women. They prefer instead to promote healthy eating.
There are of course naturally slim models who consider themselves perfectly healthy, but fall below the healthy range on the BMI scale. At the other end of the spectrum, almost all rugby and American football players will be considered obese, but they’ll be healthier than much of the population. So sometimes it’s a hard to get fully on board with the BMI scale if this is to be turned into law. Would it also be discriminatory to bring in a law to exclude such people?
It was earlier this year that France became the latest country who voted to criminalise the use of models who are dangerously thin. Those breaking the law face fines and up to 6 months in jail. Britain is now receiving pressure to follow suit.
Last month the Swedish model Agnes Hedengard posted a video which has been seen by over 3 million people. She claims that she has been rejected for modelling jobs for being “too big” you can make up your own mind regarding that viewpoint.
The Size zero debate is far from over, and comes under the microscope as the London Fashion Week is nearing. Many feel that a change in the law would better help the industry, rather than just relying on a voluntary code of conduct.
The whole point of the legislation would be to stop people trying to emulate slim models, and developing an eating disorder. The end game is to promote a “healthy body image”. However, should it simply be that more variety of models should be put on the catwalk as opposed to exclusion of any group? If you use the BMI healthy range only then should larger models be banned too?
People all have different natural body shapes, as can be seen when you walk down any street. Legislation to criminalise hiring slimmer models is a hard line to take with the industry, but one that is being considered. There are of course lots of people on both sides of this debate, but all would hopefully support promoting healthy lifestyles leading to healthy bodies regardless of the size. Whether Britain follows France and other countries on the ban is yet to be decided.
Social and Physical Impacts Of A Size Zero Figure
With all the debate about size zero models being unhealthy going around, there is not much that is being done to change the situation. The most revered fashion weeks and designers are still employing them. Here are some alarming implications of promoting a size zero figure.
Unreal Body Ideals
There are certain people who are naturally skinny and then there are size zero models, most of whom starve themselves until they are stick thin. While naturally skinny people are harmless, models are giving an unreal perception of the ideal body. They are representatives of fashion and style. All women follow fashion through which this body type is ingrained into their heads as the ideal figure when all it causes it health problems, weak bones and a perpetual low self-image.
Young Girls Adopting Unhealthy Diets
Because being size zero is all the rage, many young girls adopt a diet that basically revolves around starving themselves. This is the worst they can do to their bodies, especially in the years when their body is developing. Their bones get affected the most, increasing their chances of getting osteoporosis manifold.
Bad Self Image
Size zero models are in every fashion magazine, hired by almost all high end as well as regular clothing lines. Women who read these magazines then see themselves in the mirror and do not like what they see. This causes lack of self-confidence and it is especially harmful for young girls who are developing their personalities at that age.
In order to achieve size zero, there a number of eating disorder that models and girls striving to reach that “ideal” figure are acquiring. These include anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, etc. Most of these eating disorders are not just about food, they also shed light on the mental state of the patient. They are many psychological ills associated with eating disorders, for instance, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc.
Appearances vs. Reality
While the top models are super skinny and are travelling in their high heels and short dresses, they portray the high life. However, what is hidden from the general public is the extent to which they are going to be that thin. A recent confession by an ex Vogue Australia editor revealed that there were girls living on tissue paper because of its apparent property of swelling once it goes into the stomach, giving it a filled feeling. Everyone only sees glamour which is a lie.
What needs to be highlighted here is the death of quite a few size zero models who were malnutrition-ed or had been starving themselves. The list includes Ana C. Reston who died while on shoot in Paris. It is alarming how the trend of size zero has caught on. More awareness needs to be spread on its impact.