Monday, September 11, 2006

Score One for the Home Team

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain—well, not anymore, because (tiny) curves are in in Madrid! AOL News* reports that Spain’s hottest fashion show, Pasarela Cibeles, forbade a number of models from participating this year. . . because they were, oops, too thin. In a surprising example of how Body Mass Indexes can be an effective and reliable health/wellness tool after all, pageant officials calculated models’ indices and dropped each hopeful with a BMI shy of 18.

The show, which features primarily Spanish designers, decided to enact this measure following the aftermath of last year’s show, which featured “bone thin” models. Aghast feminists and medical professionals spoke up, recognizing how parading these forms on the catwalk can fuel national eating-disordered behavior, particularly among young girls. The decision to step in seems to be a collaborative effort of Madrid’s regional government and the Association of Fashion Designers of Spain. AOL readers, it seems, would likely offer their support, as well. In an on-line poll of over 55,000 voters (when I voted), 91% believed that the presence of “ultra-thin” models contributed to the development of eating disorders.

As New York City launches its fall fashion week, I wonder if the U.S. (and other countries) will follow in the Spaniards’ footsteps. After hearing the news, Ryan Brown, of the Elite Modeling Agency in New York, is quoted as saying: “I think it is great to promote health.” Time will tell how many fashion weeks will come and go before such a sentiment is turned into practice on American soil. As for now, Brown notes: “They don't want voluptuous girls any more,” though he adds: “It would be nice if fashion got back to that.” Yes, Mr. Brown, it would.

*thanks to the readers who sent this my way


Haley-O said...

This goes to show how different European attitudes are when it comes to beauty, health, etc.. I wonder how different the rates of eating disorders are in Europe vs. North America?

Emily Jolie said...

How great! I do hope they implement these new rules in the U.S. soon, too!

As to Haley's comment, I agree that attitudes towards body image may be a bit more healthy in Europe. Nevertheless, I grew up there and it didn't prevent me from developing an ED. My ED started years before I moved to the U.S. I still wonder how much of it is inherent. Both of my sisters seem to have a much healthier approach to food and their bodies than I ever did. My older sister, like me, grew up in Europe, and my younger sister grew up in the U.S. Also, both my sisters have a slightly different body type than I do. Both of them are tall with a longer torso than mine.

Dr. Stace, did you notice that today's post was posted ON 9/11 AT 9:11?? I'm a big fan of numbers, so that one stuck out to me right away!


kathrynoh said...

It's so much a better attitude than the one here in Australia. I dunno if this was reported anywhere outside the country but at the recent Australian fashion week (or whatever it's called) one designer got blasted for using "real life" models for her swimwear. Cos no one wants to see a size 12 woman in a bikini!

drstaceyny said...

haley--good questions--I'd have to research more. . . .

ej--how weird! I didn't notice that, though any analytical psychologist would tell you I did ; ). Consider it my personal tribute to two of my favorite cities, NY and DC.

kn--I did hear abt that--some of the models were as small as a Size 8, I think! Awful. Thanks for bringing it up here.

Anonymous said...

I don't think banning skinny women is really a good thing to do either. Some people are naturally skinny, and shouldn't be shunned - or assumed to have an eating disorder. Very much like just like average or fatter women shouldn't be shunned in the fashion world. I think a more even distribution of sizes may be the best idea.

drstaceyny said...

anon--that's true--we shouldn't assume anyone has an e.d. simply based on appearance. The problem is not that the models have (or don't have) e.d.'s, but that the public is faced with an unrealistic standard that promotes e.d.'s. I like your "even distribution" idea.