Runway Models

When did the unusually tall, skinny and minimally curved female body become the icon for fashion? Why was this rare and widely unattainable body type chosen to display clothing designer’s newest looks? These garments (or other related clothes by the same designers) would eventually be selling to the entire population of women anyway, so who decided to present these clothes on such an un-average frame?

I remember hearing on America’s Next Top Model that most designers say these size zero girls are simply meant to be walking clothes hangers. They want the focus on their clothing, not so much the woman wearing them. In my eyes, I could see this potentially limiting some sales. Everyday women may not want to wear the things these slim girls wear while confidently strutting down the runway simply because they are intimidated. It would be easy for them to think that just because they will never have a model’s body type, that they wouldn’t look good in those clothes.

I came across a blog written by Sally McGraw, where she argues that the “clothes-hanger” argument still doesn’t rationalize the use of such thin women as models. She asks if something should still be considered clothing if it only looks good on hangers and a small population of women.

Some women, occasionally runway models themselves, can go to extremes to obtain such skinny figures. The general public is very aware of common eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, which can both result in death if continued over a long period of time, but what other unhealthy methods do women partake in to lose weight?

In an article “From cocaine to eating cotton wool balls, how models stay thin” published in the UK by Bibby Sowray, it is explained how models have used Adderal, speed, cocaine, laxatives, cigarettes and even an injection meant for pregnant women. Many of these drugs suppress the appetite or speed up the metabolism, thus resulting in weight loss. Some of these girls are doing this because the job demands it. Is it right to encourage these body types when such unhealthy habits can be formed in attempt of achieving skinniness?

Having a layer of fat on the body is quite essential to a human’s health. I believe that the modeling industry needs to slightly re-think their “clothes-hanger” approach.


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