Most women would probably like to lose a bit of weight… drop those few extra kilos that have been hanging around since winter or tone up flabby arms and legs. Wanting to look better seems to be innate amongst women, and the media have long latched onto this and run with it, often setting an entirely unrealistic and unreachable standard of ‘looking good’ by using super-thin models scattered across the pages of every glossy fashion magazine.
According to a study done by the British Medical Association, the media’s obsession with gaunt fashion models has supposedly contributed towards the increase in eating disorders among young women, of which there are now over 50 000 in Britain alone. Women’s magazines have come under fire for years, accused of promoting unrealistic body images of exceptionally thin models, which in turn contributes to eating disorders amongst girls and women all over the world.
However, Alexandra Shuman, Editor for British Vogue, says that the media is not to blame for the many cases of eating disorders among obsessed teenagers. She says, “All we are doing is showing images of women they regard as interesting, beautiful or fashionable, and not actually saying that you have to look like that.”
It is simply a fact that the majority of clothes look better on tall, thin women – clothes hang, flow and look better overall, and being the image-conscious society that we are leads to young girls or women wanting to look the same and feel better about themselves. In a ‘skinny’ culture, such as ours, it is believed that thin equals success, and the images portrayed in glossy magazines of super-thin models reflect the illusionary ideals that the world we live in tells us are acceptable. But, it can be very difficult for young girls to acknowledge and interpret the impact of these media images and realize the danger they can cause in the long run.
In a recent coup in the fashion world, France passed a new law banning excessively thin fashion models and swore to expose modelling agents and fashion houses that hire them, leading to possible fines and even jail. With a fashion industry worth tens of billions of euros, the move by France comes after a similar ban by Israel in 2013, with other countries following suit. This bold move will hopefully make an impact on the media’s ‘obsession with skinny’ and begin the long journey of changing people’s perceptions of the way they look.
Photos: Julie Anel Saad, Gordana Sermek, Degtyaryov Andrey, FashionStock.com / Shutterstock