Has the fashion world caught on to the fact that their models are suffering from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia nervosa, and actually doing something about it? After years of tragedy, where young models were literally falling to their death on the runway, there was some mumble that some fashion designers may have become advocates for models who have a healthy body weight. Although many women have preoccupations with their body image which results in unhealthy eating patterns, this is classified as disordered eating, rather than an eating disorder. The latter is a very extreme form of unhealthy eating, including dramatic bingeing and purging behaviors, and has quite a specific definition as a psychological disorder springing from emotional trauma. Sorry, but it is a dreary day in Canada, and thus, the mood has been set for such a topic. At any rate, the cloud may have a silver lining as fashion designers, albeit with great delay, have decided to mix it up on the catwalk and hire “healthy” models for their campaigns. Two such labels are Joe Fresh Style of The Real Canadian Superstore and Canadian designer Mark Fast, who insist that the use of plus size models (size 12) is the best way to combat the eating disorder epidemic in their industry. Ironically enough, some sources say that the use of “healthier” models is hurting the industry because spectators who are women actually feel worse about themselves as a result.
In all honesty, I would like to see a copy of this study’s design, because I argue that there is no baseline to compare to: all women have issues of body image and are triggered by a myriad of stimuli, and result in feelings of insecurity . I argue that exposure to underweight as well as overweight models can affect any woman (or man) negatively at any time, simply because of the sense of vulnerability that most women feel when they are being viewed in some way. In other words, when a woman imagines herself in the place of a model in an add, that can evoke insecurities, no matter what size the model. If fashion is all about looking good, then designers should choose models that best suit their message, rather than intentionally choosing 15-year-old girls, or curvier women, just to prove a point.