10 September 2006

Weighty Issues

There have been some interesting occurrences recently regarding the health and weight of models. Too-skinny models have been banned from runways in Madrid.
Excessively skinny fashion models will be barred from a major Madrid fashion show later this month for fear they could send the wrong message to young Spanish girls, local media reported. Madrid's regional government... has vetoed around a third of the models who took part in last year's show because they weigh too little. -Yahoo
Conversely, Vogue Australia has boycotted the MaraJoara show, allegedly for using 'too-fat' models (size 6-8) and its website has refused to cover the show, with no explanation. Here are two pictures of the 'fat' models:

It's a rather interesting contrast with reactions to both 'too-fat' and 'too-skinny' models. Quite frankly, I do think many models are too skinny and I'm sure that images of malnourished models have an adverse effect on impressionable people. I'm also sure that the models at the MaraJoara show aren't 'fat' at all by normal-people standards.

I do, however, think that the thinness of models adds to the exclusivity of the clothing they represent. Part of the allure is the unattainability of both the clothes and the physique. If an average-sized girl strutted down the catwalk in a $10,000 dress, she'd diminish the allure because she would physically look 'normal'. Most models look like freaks of nature and you just have to stare at them. The models at the MaraJoara show look so girl-next-door. There's nothing above-average about them, and therefore, their swimsuits look average. (I'm playing Devil's advocate, for the record.)

Here's my theory: Five hundred years ago, when most plebeian people were malnourished, the elite class (royalty, etc.) were what we would call 'chubby' today. The ideal at that time was a woman with a soft, doughy figure... probably a size 12-14 (US) by today's standards. For the plebeians, this 'doughy' look was unattainable. Today, however, especially in the United States, most people are overweight, even obese. Therefore, the waify look of models is harder to attain and has become the physique of the elite class.

I'm not saying it's right or it's good, but that's the way it's always been. However, there is a problem when a model's tights fall off her as she walks down the runway. Tights are supposed to be tight.


Nathalie said...

plus, a thin model, yknow, curveless, doesn't destract the attention from the clothes. It's really practical, actually.

ET said...

As an Australian, the actual reason that the the event organiser actually gave for banning the models is that they were not professional models. The Designer auditioned for girls off the street (not street girls!! ha ha).

While all of them looked fantastic in the bathers, the parade (or what I saw of it) did have a slightly amaturish feel to it.