Chew On This!

Skinny vs. Fat

Fashion, haute couture, mode. Whatever you call it, it brings to mind certain images–images of sickly skinny models dressed in designer clothing. However, it is hard to be eager to participate in the fashion realm and not support the use of overly skinny models. Personally, I think that the fashion industry has moved too far into fantasy. Of course, there is always an element of fantasy in design, but the idea of women is being greatly distorted. The photoshopping, the fad diets, the airbrushing. It’s all gotten out of control. I believe it is okay to enhance images or to correct a flew flaws here and there. But when models’ bodies are re-sculpted with computers, the line has been crossed. It is almost as if the natural beauty of the human body is being robbed. The women in advertising should be healthy; they should have bodies that can be achieved through regular eating and exercise.

As much as we don’t like being told what to think or what to do, the fashion industry tells us what to think about. They tell us what clothes we should think are luxurious and chic and what image of women is beautiful. These thoughts of perfection and beauty bombard us everyday through television, magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites–any form of media. Even media and political figures and fashion designers express their thoughts on beauty in interviews. Designer Karl Lagerfeld once told Focus Magazine that…

No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.

As much as no one wants to believe it, but using doctored images is a real threat. With media nowadays, information is more than easily accessible an the cultural image of beauty is being rapidly passed around. Research has suggested a correlation between eating disorders and the media: with the increase in media communication, there has been an increase in eating disorders.

Obsession with Thinness

Approximately 24 million people in America suffer from eating disorders, which means 1 in 5 women struggle with some form of abnormal eating. Sadly, these disorders aren’t just effecting women, but children as well. Reports have shown that eating disorders are beginning as early as 11 years old. In a recent study, 80% of 13 year olds claimed that they have attempted to lose weight and 50% of girls ages 11 to 13 said that they feel that they are overweight. There is no acceptable reason for girls this young to feel that insecure about themselves. They are already going through a troublesome part of their lives that they shouldn’t feel pressure to look a certain way or be skinnier.

In the past couple of years, efforts have been made to help reduce the amount of photoshopping of images as well as the use of overly thin models; Countries such as the U.K. and Australia have made guidelines for advertisers, media, and fashion designers to consider when shooting images for advertisements and putting on runway shows. Even though there has been no laws created to restrict what can be done, the suggestions from political figures are the first few steps to reform. With combined efforts from around the world, we can change the distorted image of beauty and prevent women from developing eating disorders and mental disorders.

Facts about the Media and Eating Disorders:

  • The projected body image of models is naturally possessed by only 5% of Americans.
  • The average model weights 23% less than the average American woman.
  • “47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.”
  • According to magazine polls, the motivation for weight loss is to look more attractive than for health concerns.
  • In Fiji, anorexia rates increased with the arrival of television.

Shocking Photoshop Images

(Left) Real Model (Right) Photoshopped Model

What do you think of these images and what you have read? How does it feel to never be able to achieve perfection? Do you embrace your “flaws?” Leave responses below!

Do you know someone with an eating disorder? Get them help. Call the National Eating Disorder Association’s Information and Referral hotline toll free at 1-800-931-2237 or click here.

60% of patients with an eating disorder cover from the disease with help.
It’s not too late!


The Cut

Refinery 29


Eating Disorder Statistics

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