Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thin Is Out

Organizers of Spain's top annual fashion show, the Pasarela Cibeles, rejected five models as being too thin to appear in this year's event.

Organizers worked with Dr. Susana Monereo of Spain's National Endocrinology Society and Dr. Basilio Moreno, an obesity consultant at Gregorio Maranon Hospital, to medically assess the models.

Organizers said they wanted to project an image of beauty and health, rather than a waif-like, heroin chic look - and to help diminish eating disorders that plague girls and women world-wide.

Any model who had a body mass index below that which was considered normal, not just by the Spanish endocrinology society, but also by the limits set by the World Health Organization guidelines , were rejected from the show.

A British Cabinet minister hoped that London's Fashion Week would follow Madrid's lead.

The Indian Health Minister, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, chimed in on this subject, saying India does not want waif-like young women on catwalks, acting as role models for thousands of girls who are starving themselves.

And Milan's mayor, Letizia Moratti, told a newspaper this week that she may bring the Spanish ban on underweight models to Italian shows.

On different, yet similar note, Hollywood is reporting that Flab is Fab. Actors like Jack Black, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell and Paul Giamatti are helping to make the "realistic" man more marketable.

Hmmm....maybe the tide is turning.



New York Observer


Flea said...

We can only hope.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't that be fabulous? Do you know that (at least a few years ago) the average size for women (and the clothing size purchasing agents usually get the most of) was a 12? I wouldn't be surprised if it was a wee bit bigger now but come on people!!! A 12! Can you imagine a runway model in a size 12? Geez...

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb,
we should all try to weigh our heathy weight. For some that is a "little thin", for others a little more roundness is fine. True beauty comes from within and society does us all harm by not idealizing healthy people of all body types.

Besides, men & women both like.... something to hold on to. ;)

~Deb said...

I met a woman once, that wore a size 14, and she was SKINNY. I mean----bone skinny. But, her shape and bone structure made up her hips, leaving her to wear a size 14. I couldn't believe it until she showed me her tag. There are some "heavy set" women who wear sizes that are smaller than what you would expect. Everyone holds weight differently...and I think it's great that people are different. I truly believe it's all how one carries themselves.

I, personally prefer women who are curvy and voluptuous to date. That's just me though. :)

Amit said...

I reckon there is a niche market for a look and feel good modelling agency. The only way someone could be a model for them is for the person, no matter how they look to be happy with their appearance and confident in themselves as individuals and devise a fashion label around that.


If only I had the time follow through with some of these business ideas! :(


Sarebear said...


First, I hope the model in that pic gets some help . . .

When I read about this last week, I thought, YES! Someone finally had the guts, to say if you have too little guts, per the BMI, then it's an unhealthy image. Well, it's unhealthy too, but they aren't docs.

Anyway. It's about time! Let's hope this snowballs, like it sounds like it might . ..

Tai said...

I'm with flea...'we can only hope'!

Todd and in Charge said...

But then I thought the organizers retreated and are now allowing those models to perform?

Look at Kate Bosworth or Nicole Richie now -- it's obviously still a great problem for many, and not just in Hollywood.

staffpsy said...

heavier men have always been around and been successful. when kiera knightley and lindsay lohan are the biggest star in hollywood its hard to think much is changing.

Id it is said...

Another swing of the pendulum?! Remember it's going to swing back shortly only to swing yet another time! I'd just go with moderation.

mysti said...

OHHH wouldnt that be nice. Healthy should be thought of as sexy. Not thin, or fat, but healthy. Well healthy inside and out. Personality as well as good health should be what is sexy.

jumpinginpuddles said...

yeyyyy there hope for us yet ;)

IdgyEdgy said...

Dr. Deb--Thanks for bringing up this important topic. It's amazing how much influence the media (all types) have on us as a society. Who are "they" to dictate what is ideal? Yet they do. I got caught up in this mess years ago--in high school & college--and was anorexic. Those tendencies still crop up on me when I'm stressed, but I hope to never go down that road again.

Thanks again,

PalmTreeChick said...

I thought that was very interesting when I saw that on the news last week. Now these models have to be ATLEAST 123 lbs...(ooooh)...on that 5'10" frame. A "normal" weight for someone who is 5'10", if you go by weight charts, which we know are kind of pointless b/c they don't deal with the make-up of one's body, say you add 5 lbs for every inch above 5 feet. That would mean someone 5'10" "should" weigh 150 lbs.

Deb S. said...

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

astrorat said...

That’s wonderful news! i am hoping that other fashion giants pick up on this and i hope it does not become 'just a trend' that dies out.


Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Flea,
Yup. I agree.

Dear Traci,
I'd love to see a runway model in a 12, 14, 16....

Dear Godwhacker,
"Set point weight". That's what you're talking about. And I agree, wherever our bodies naturally take us is where we should be healthily happy.

Dear Deb,
I can appreciate beauty in all its forms :)

Dear AMit,
Good ideas here.

Dear Sarebear,
A trend toward this would be a good thing.

Dear Tai,
Me as well.

Dear Todd,
Oh is that true? I didn't read that. Uh oh, I gotta check my sources.

Dear Staffpsy,
I do believe there is a widening of the "ideal" model. Will it ever go back to the Rubensque days - nah, I don't it. But health is what it's all about here.

Dear Id It Is,
You're right. Trend come and go, and moderation is always best.

Dear Mysti,
Healthy *is* sexy.

Dear JIP,
Beauty comes many forms. We need to embrace all of them, right?!

Dear Idgyedgy,
I think it is so great that you were able to emerge from those pressures. And we all fall back on old habits when we are under stress. The best thing of all is to be aware of the triggers, and how to not fall too far into it. Sounds to me like you have agood handle on things :)

Dear Palmtree,
You make a great point!

Dear Deb,
Time will tell us how this plays out. Hopefully, greater self-love and acceptance of one's genetic makeup will be the trend.

Dear Astro,
Me too.


difficultpt said...

Yay--I hope so!

Wendy C. said...

How refreshing!

RC said...

i'm interested in how this might change the use of cocaine in that industry as well???

--RC of

Beth said...

I think this ban is a good thing, there are too many girls who are dangerously thin and while the clothes may hang nicely on them, its dangerous and unattractive.

I often wonder what some of these models would look like if they ate a few decent meals - would gaining some weight make them less attractive?

It makes me think back to the days of the Supermodels, when Cindy, Claudia, Linda, Naomi etc were all at their peak. They're thin, but not emaciated.

When did the fashion worlds perception of attractive go from those women, who while still slimmer than your average woman looked healthy, to a look where the models appear to have to count every nano-calorie to ensure they don't have a single fat cell on their body?

I can't think of one man I know that finds emaciated to be sexy (because no one wants to wrap their arms around a bag of bones at night) - nor any women, which makes it even sadder that this image is touted around by the media, particularly in the fashion world, as the ideal.

alan said...

My age is showing no doubt, but Marilyn always did a lot for me than Twiggy...

and is still remembered!


Nancy said...

I just had my physical yesterday and i was a bit bummed that i have gained 5 pounds in 2 years. I'm 5'4" and now weith 135.
After seeing that photo, I am gratefull to have some padding!
She looks so ill, hope the image for beauty changes.
thanks for shareing

Fallen Angels said...

I brought this up in my Sociology class yesterday. It was perfect timing since we are talking about how the media dictates much of what we believe to be true. One of the things I find truly scary about that photo is that the camera adds 10 lbs! How is the woman even able to stand!?!


Beth said...

I think the model looks sexy. Along with Nicole Richie, at times. Sure, those are unhealthy standards, but when our "average" women are a size 12, is that healthy either? If they're going to ban underweight models, maybe they should go ahead and ban plus size (yes, overweight)models as well.
There are just as many anorexic/bulimic women with normal BMI's as there are healthy women with underweight BMI's. As long as average American women are size 12 or 16, having ultra-thin models will provide an aesthetically nice contrast to the common figure.
This ban won't spread to the US, because it is completely idealistic, not realistic. Designers and models don't wan't to put size 4 or 6 in these shows. Why should they have to change because "we" are so insecure with our own bodies and want models to portray the other spectrum of the unhealthy fat bodies so many of us have come to inhabit?

for_the_lonely said...

How wonderful it would be if my "love handles" was seen as pure beauty!


Anxious Aberrancy said...

Beth...Cindy Crawford is a size 10...does she look unhealthy? Rebecca Romjin was at her highest weight ever, 145 lbs in the x-men movies, again, unhealthy? The designers size standard is actually a size 8...not lower than a 4 or 6. Looking like a skeleton with skin is NOT sexy...the model in the picture looks pre-adolesent. Children are not sexy...women who look like children are not sexy either.

angrynhsdoctor said...

as usual an excellent post carry it on mate

Anonymous said...

Its about time!!

We all know that most women in the country are not tooth picks! I'm glad people are starting to wake up.

Donna said...

The models that are 5-10 and supposed to weigh 123 or more? I'm that height...having done the anorexic thing, I've been that weight (and less) and it's too damn skinny. I wish the modeling industry would be more realistic.

There's nothing like looking in the mirror one day and seeing how you truly look when you're that thin. Ugh. I wonder if the models ever really see themselves truthfully?

Belizegial said...

It's about time!

Clare said...

This has been mentioned alot over here since it was London Fashion Week this week. Not sure it will make any difference but you can but hope!!

Thanks for that article Deb.

OHN said...

I almost choked the other day while reading an article in People magazing. They were talking to a successful PLUS SIZE model that wears a size 12! HUH?! I know we have an obesity problem in America but I certainly don't consider a 12 a PLUS SIZE! (Maybe cause I am a 14 LOL)

psychgrad said...

I've heard a bit about this and I think it's great. I know some people will try to pass it off as discriminating against those who are "naturally" thin. But I think the need to be socially aware about the consequences of portraying beauty as unhealthy outweigh the need to avoid discriminating against thin models.

More recently there have been some high profile celebrities looking deathly thin. If the appearance of these celebrities is representative of what is desirable (or beautiful), we're in trouble and need make some changes.

kath said...

maybe the tide is turning for men...

more and more diet products are sold during shows traditionally watched by women

we are told over and over that we are not good enough

my favortes are the size 12 women who gloat when they become a size 4 woman..

no... the tide is still stuck in the sad dirction i think..

astrorat said...

am now wondering if that picture is that of a boy and not a girl!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Difficult,
Anything that can point us toward health is good by me too.

Dear Wendy,
An interesting perspective, I agree.

Dear RC,
Maybe. It should influence moderation and health. But, I guess time will tell.

Dear Beth,
I think what is unattainable becomes fashionable. Fashion, aomng other businesses, use envy as a motivator, in my opinion.

Dear Alan,
Marilyn was always more appealing to me than Twiggy too!

Dear Nancy,
Sounds to me like you are at a healthy weight.

Dear Fallen,
Oh, you are right. What does she look like if the camera adds ten pounds?

Dear Beth,
I think it is not the "size" that is the issue here. It is the body mass and the model's physical health. A size 12 will look different on different body types. A healthy body and a healthy physical self are important. And that was the point of the article.

Dear Sarah,
I bet your love handles are very cherished ;)

Dear Anxious,
Wonderful points you make.

Dear Angry,
I shall try. :)

Dear Urban,
I can find beauty in all shapes and sizes. Sounds like you do too.

Dear Donna,
As you know, denial is a very strong defense mechanism. Issues like this make us all think about our body and our physical health. I hope that we can come to embrace different "kinds" of beauty. And bravo on your ED defeat!

Dear Belizegial,
I second that!

Dear Clare,
Anything that can challenge a stereotypes is good, even if the change doesn't happen. Sometimes just getting the idea out there is mega-good.

Dear Ohn,
Wow,that is amazing - and oh, so sad.

Dear Psych,
There are definite "set points" with weight. Some thin, some not. I think that expanding the range of what is considered beautiful to include a wide range of body frames would do us all good.

Dear Kath,
I don't think things will drastically change, but any change toward moderation and health is good in my book. And I agree about those commercials. They make me feel confused sometimes.

Dear Astro,
Uh oh, could that be true?
I think it COULD be a man.
But I think it is a very thin girl-like woman.


astrorat said...

i cant tell.. could be a really malnourished girl-looking boy! ;) *just teasing* I feel it’s time people stopped being all nice and soft to models who go thin. The models are sending the wrong message to the young women who look up to them. The community needs to say out loud that thin is NOT cool. It’s a health hazard.

marie said...

YUCK!!! Give her a cheeseburger, fries and a Beer! Whoa Man!

sjobs said...

I can only hope that this is trend that will continue!!!!

Thanks for posting it Deb.


I n g e r said...

I just love this. Hope it sticks...

QUASAR9 said...

The thing is One cannot judge
what is right for another

Should you eat a little more
Should you put on a little weight
Should you eat a little less
Should you have a little finesse

But let us not forget that on average humans carry two days worth of decaying and decomposing matter in their insides, and develop 1001 cardio-vascular fat induced diseases and cancers as a direct result of overeating and/or comfort eating

Maybe just maybe, thin and eating less is not so unhealthy or so bad

Rob said...

Tide's turning is nothing new. It used to be the fashion to be fat in the past -consider those paintings by Rubens!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear AStro,
Being physically fit, whatever your size is, is what really matters. This model DOES NOT look healthy to me.

Dear Marie,
ROLF! I agree.

Dear Mary @ Sjobs,
A push toward healthy is a good aim.

Dear Inger,
I like the message it sends. Let's hope it does stick.

Dear Qasar,
Health is what I'm trying to support here in my post. I think that is what Spain was doing as well. Too heavy or too thin is not healty. I agree, there are so many diseases and illnesses that come from the extremes. I wish for the middle ground.

Dear Rob,
Rubeneque was in many generations ago. That is right. The pendulum swings.


CrackerLilo said...

People talk about the "obesity epidemic," but images like this poor woman's (and she is virtually indistinguishable from a refugee) make perfectly healthy young girls feel bad about their perfectly normal, feminine bodies. Then they starve while they're growing. Then their metabolisms slow, sometimes permanently. I'm not saying I don't eat too much cheese sometimes, but that was certainly a factor for my weight gain, and for many other women of my generation.

We need healthy models, not stick insects. The models themselves are also real women who are really hurting. And Madrid is a developing design destination. I hope this has an effect.

Bazza said...

The confusing thing is that, in the UK at least, there is also a campaign against child obesity. I agree that wherever your body takes you is the best place to be.

Rose said...

that's great to hear...maybe now some of the others in this area will take heed and follow....

Moof said...

It's about time!!! I'm sending a few a people a link to this post. Thanks!

dragonflyfilly said...

about time too...the model in the photo has a pretty face, but i'm sure a lot of it is due to makeup artistry. the rest of her resembles a someone who just survived a bad famine; her body is not in the least bit attractive...too bad she seems to think she is so chic, oh well, i'm sure she is making more money than i ever will, but wonders how long she will live to enjoy it.

i don't think "thin" will ever be out of fashion, although one can HOPE!

cheesemeister said...

OOH! That picture is just plain scary!

Beverly Pritchard said...

I cannot believe how thin and the pressure girls go through about kepping thin. I was having a conservation with some friends on about what girls do to keep thin. It scares me.