Sunday, December 28, 2008

Eating Disorders in the Fashion Industry

Hey everyone! Hope all of you are having a great time in your homes all cuddled up in footie pajamas and hot cocoa. This last week has been really fun, blogging about so many different topics and featuring lots of great Etsy shops. I really wish the New Year brings us all good ideas, beautiful experiences and memories and lots of new people to befriend.

As you all know, I'm starting fashion school as soon as I can find a decent one in my area and there are a few things I'm concerned about. We already discussed the topic of media manipulating our youth's minds into doing and spending as they please. Today I'd like to discuss and get you all to notice a problem that all of us have the possibility of bettering, Eating Disorders in the fashion industry and in consequence: our teens.

Did you know that models must fit in size 0? The required height in girls must be 5' 6" and they must fit in a size 0!! Ok I do believe that it is possible to be that tall and slim and be healthy at the same time. But it all depends on your body's complexion! DNA will have the answer to that. And what happens if your body wasn't meant to be that way? They try to force it to be that way in an unhealthy manner. Like exercise and a balanced diet will not make them the way they want to look and in the amount to time they want the change, they will take more drastic measure. This is when eating disorders kick in.

Now I'm not saying that every model in the industry has an eating disorder, however it is proven that 40% of them are suffering from them. An eating disorder is a psychological condition in which the patient develops abnormal eating habits such as anorexia (eating little or nothing at all), bulimia (eating disorderly and then forcefully inducing vomit) and/or a combination of both.

How is it that models modeling fashion under these conditions affect my teen? These modeling conditions are everywhere, from tv ads, to movies, to magazines, newspapers, internet. Most models must fulfill these specifications to get the job. Our kids watch tv, go to the movies, read magazines, read newspapers, love the internet so of course they are massively exposed to all these advertisements telling them they must be slim to be able to look great and wear what the model is wearing! We go out shopping with our teen and they see they can't get into a small size because they weren't built for it and that is where the problem starts.

I was always chubby growing up, so I can tell you firsthanded how it feels to have Tv and everything else tell you you are not "fitting in". I'll let you in a little secret I learned form a fashion designer sometime ago: Clothes sizes are made so the average person feels huge! They are designed that way. And everytime clothing factories make them smaller. So whenever you go to get a new pair of pants ( and are sure you haven't gained any weight) and find yourself being a size bigger don't worry you haven't grown, the pants are smaller!

How do we stop this? As consumers, we control where our money goes and how we spend it. If we keep supporting companies that destroy healthy values in your youth, we are giving them permition to keep on doing so and we are contributing to the problem. Also making our girls' (and boys) self-esteem strong and having them love themselves as they are will make our society stronger and less relying on what peers think and do. And if of course if someone you know is suffering from an earing disorder please help and support them! These disorders are as fata as aids! They are like any addiction!

With that on our minds I want you to look around you, if you know a teen or are a parent of one please check out the links I'll leave at the end of the blog, they might give you some extra information that can be valuable and save a life.


  1. thanks for that post---it's something to think about!

  2. Great post!
    I've noticed that some of the girls I tutor are obsessed with their weight even at age 11! I blame the media for portraying women in such unattainable perfection and bombarding us daily with these images. There's no escape and young girls are so susceptable, unless they have enormous self-esteem.

  3. another great post with issues to think about. I remember going through magazines a few years ago with a friend and every person who wasn't stick thin, she called fat. I was appalled - those women were healthy and smaller than me and I don't consider myself fat at all. The media is teaching people that its ok to be unhealthily thin and a lot of teens are believing it.

  4. Thank you for posting this! I have 2 daughters that are rather thin, but in no way have eating disorders(they are 10 and 8)...they eat me out of house and home, lol! It would definitely bother me if they ever started down this dangerous path.

  5. I'm a former ballet dancer, and it's a huge problem there...the sad thing is, that many of the dance teachers actually encourage it.

  6. This is a terrific post. I had a roommate in college who had a serious eating disorder and we had to get her family involved. It was awful and now as a Mom to a little one I am going to do everything I can to promote positive self's so important to love ourselves and SO important to tune out the media...great post!

  7. that is an awesome post. It is so sad that models sometimes go that far to be skinny. I use to have an eating problem in high school when an ex-boyfriend use to tell me I was fat all the time. My mom and grandma helped me out and got myself out of that mess. There are times that I can't look at myself in the mirror because of that issue. It is a bad thing and an illness because of the media, verbal abuse, and just plan low self esteem. thank you for posting this and hope others will read and learn from this too.

  8. That photo is truly shocking but perhaps that's what people need, It's an awful illness.

    I remember seeing a tv show where a designer shouted to one of the models something along the lines of 'dont eat, keep skinny!'

    :( It's so sad.

  9. Hey - that's first photo is just grusome. Great writing- I totally don't understand the fashion industry - yay for thrift store clothing!

  10. wow, that is a great post. it's amazing what people will do for money, and what they can convince us of with money (advertising).
    i heard a while back there is also a surprising pressure on boys now too, to be muscular and such. there are so many bad influences in media. just saw a magazine today that had best and worst star bodies.

    i don't think a size zero could be worn by one leg of a normal woman. it's just too small aside from a few body types.

  11. i forgot to mention, dove was getting 'normal' models. i saw that a few months ago (or was it longer...) anyway, i wish more would follow them.

  12. fabulous write up. I myself have been on the edge, but compared to that first pic - I was not even close.
    Sunday night out at dinner, my 7 year old niece said she couldn't have the dessert puff becasue it had too much fat and she needs to have no fat on her body to stay thin & pretty. Her mom was shocked. This girl is a very healthy slim size...and did I say 7!
    Thanks for the write up -

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  14. "Shackles of obesity?"

    I guess I don't understand since I've always been at the opposite side of the spectrum. I have no idea what it's really like to be overweight by any measure. It probably is really difficult- people are vicious. They discriminate because of size. And some (not all) people have genuine health issues like chronic BO and heart problems because of weight gain that they have to live with every day. So I guess I can understand feeling like you're kind of chained to the burden of being heavy. Thing is, being thin isn't the answer to all of your problems.

    I grew up skinny. No, like Nicole Kidman scary-tabloid-photos skinny. It wasn't by choice. I wore the same clothing size at 5 as I did years later at 9. Then I started gaining sizes. Not weight. Sizes. It looked like I had gained a lot of weight in the two years after that- I suddenly had a bloated stomach and a double chin, but I wasn't actually more than ten pounds heavier. Bloating is one of the last stages of starvation before death. It took years and years away from that hellish pit to fix my body. I'm still fixing it. I still have issues. Being a normal size after living most of my life looking skeletal somehow still looks "wrong". But I would still rather eat a cheesecake every day of my life than go back to that. Funny thing is, even being model-skinny, people still hated me. I wasn't blonde enough, I wasn't tall enough, I wasn't "cool" enough, I wasn't this or that or the other. People will find a reason to hate you. Being skinny in itself isn't the solution to people's problems.

    Not eating for any reason isn't just about "being skinny"; it's about lacking nutrients. It's about the body cannibalising the bones and muscle to find the power to run the body SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE, before it goes for brain and other tissue. It's about the long-term heart problems and joint problems, provided the heart doesn't outright fail from not eating. And if you survive and start eating again, it's hard to get over anorexia because the metabolism nearly stops, causing you to gain weight like never before until it realises that you aren't supposed to be in "famine mode" anymore. That can take a few years to even out, even with a healthy diet. And really, you can never get back to "peak health" after that. Damage done is damage done.

    If you're heavy because of poor diet and lack of exercise and you don't like it, then fix it. Swimming is a great way to start- takes the burden off the joints while providing resistance and cardio. If you're skinny because of poor diet or whatever, fix it. Do some leg lifts or yoga. Take care of yourself to the best of your ability, and screw everyone else. It's easy to hate. Much harder to look past perceived faults. Those are the people you want to surround yourself with.


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