The internet has been filled today with an interesting news story from Spain. It seems that the Madrid Fashion Show is coming up soon, and organizers have banned models who do not have a BMI of 18 or more. This has caused a furor in the industry, but praise from groups trying to fight eating disorders.
Most people know by now that models are far more thin than they were just 10 or 20 years ago. Hollywood stars even (who are not runway models) are on average a size 0 or 2. I remember when Jane Kracowski (of Ally McBeal fame) was called a "big girl" because she wore a size 6. Andie McDowell (who I have seen in person and is truly tall, thin and beautiful) has stated a number of times that she could never be a model these days (and she started off in modeling) because she would be too big.
People in the fashion industry believe they are not to blame for the rapid increase in eating disorders. They say it's because of the moms at home who are always dieting. But why are these moms always dieting?
When Restless Mama and I were on our way to NY for the USOpen, I picked up a More magazine. The trip was in celebration of our 40th birthdays, and More is targeted at women over 40. (seemed appropriate) Throughout the magazine were pictures of impossibly gorgeous women of various ages over 40. I realized it was only making me feel bad about not being as gorgeous or thin as someone 20 years older than I (even though they may have personal chefs, much more disposable income, personal trainers, etc.). So - I put down the magazine. If I need to compare myself - much better to do it with the tired, overworked, and financially strapped moms I see at my job or at my kids' school!
We can't blame just one area for the pervasive and growing issue of eating disorders. Our society as a whole has created this environment where women are starving themselves and thus killing themselves. It's created a world where women can barely put food in their mouth without some sort of guilt. It's created a world where much of my job with college students is referring young women to counseling for eating disorders, and trying intentionally to model healthy diet and lifestyle. It's created a world where my 5th grade son talked about a girl in his class who would sit at lunch eat day, say she was fat (when she was not),cry and say, "I just can't eat!"
I don't put all the blame on the fashion industry - but it is part of the entirety of the problem. Bravo, Madrid.