As the world watches France and Spain ban the wafer-thin models from gracing the catwalk, the question arises, "how thin is too thin?" One has to ask themselves, is the fashion world the only one to blame? There are many factors that have to be considered when determining a definite answer. It is hard to point the finger at only one facet because each one plays a significant role. How does fashion fit in the mix?
As previously mentioned, there are many pieces to this calorie-free pie. The entertainment industry, designer's sizing, our sedentary lifestyle, low self-esteem, female role models, and of course, the fashion industry are all culprits of why the thinning obsession is and always will be an important lesson to continue to learn from. Although the fashion industry seems to be at the forefront of this controversy, women still continue to buy the magazines, the designer clothing, and diet pills.
Let's start with one key ingredient at a time to determine the complexity of the issue we are discussing. The media is a suspect for creating false ideas and presenting the thinning of Hollywood. The glossy magazines make thin seem perfect or popular. It's prevalent in every aspect of Hollywood, one minute the applause of (insert name actress) shedding the weight and then the next minute we are scrutinizing her body for a bad camera angle. Rarely do you see a model's name blasted on the cover of your favorite tabloid that reads "Dying to Be Thin" or "(insert name actress) at a deathly 80 lbs!" Typically you are reading about Hollywood's Hottest actresses that are trying to conform into the idea of a "model". To look deeper, who is doing this to the actresses? The magazine editors? The casting directors? Their fashion stylists? Someone in Hollywood is filling these A-List actresses heads with these unrealistic ideals to be or look a certain way. When did that person become such an expert? The answer is they are not. They are not nutritionists, not personal trainers, and not dietitians. A lot of them are part of the actresses immediate entourage that are so caught up in the world's sick perception of beauty that they will do anything to maintain a certain look, even if it's deadly. Who needs friends like that?
It's not enough for us to see these images splashed in front of every major newspaper/magazine stand. People often judge their peers by the size of clothing they wear. Who created the numbers 34-24-36 as the perfect measurements? What is in a number anyway? Not all women who are 5'9" in height are going to be a size 0. Women come in all different body frames. That is the beauty of women. Rarely do you meet a perfect hourglass figure. Fashion designers use all sorts of methods when determining their size ranges for their collection. For example, you might be a size 4 in a Roberto Cavalli but then a size 2 in a Donna Karan. Ever wonder why that is possible? Or did you just figure you had to starve yourself to fit into what Roberto Cavalli's designers consider a size 2? Wear what fits and flatters you! It's just a harmless number, and guess what? You are the only one that knows!
For the designer's, we delve a little deeper. We all know that dressing Hollywood's elite is every designer's dream. That comes down to press and exposure. When Charlize Theron rocks Chanel, we all know it. But whatever happened to making the red carpet special and giving the models back their rightful covers? Between designers and editors, something has got to give if we want this thinning epidemic to get under control. In the 90's, fashion models, such as, Cindy Crawford, Elle McPherson, Rebecca Romaine, and Heidi Klum embodied wholesome and healthy bodies. Those were the faces that graced Vogue, W, and Sports Illustrated. You never saw Cindy, Elle, Rebecca, and Heidi's bodies looking undernourished or sick. What has changed over the past 10 years? The sample sizes have gotten smaller. Models have now been replaced with celebrities- who will do anything to fit into those sample sizes. A woman's body is appreciated by the curves in the bust, waist, and hips. Beautiful couture outfits need to take these shapes and entice women to buy their ready-to-wear collections. Now, there is no need for a model, because the clothes look the same on and off the hanger!
Building self-esteem in our youth is just a preventative measure for guiding girls into a healthier lifestyle. And what happened to exercise? Do you know that the first program to get cut in our school systems is the physical education classes? Before the days of the X-box or the Internet, people in general were more active. Whether it was after school sports teams or playing at the park with friends, calories were being spent by extracurricular activities outdoors. The surgeon general requires 30 minutes of cardio activity daily to maintain a healthy heart, which is the same amount of time that is actually spent checking email, myspace, facebook, twitter, or even playing solitaire on the computer. Yet, somehow, someway, we never have time to walk our dogs on a brisk 30 minute walk or play with our children in the park. As parents, you have the right to encourage this healthy adaption to your daily routine. You are also the person responsible for setting the example of what good body image is and defining the elements of a healthy diet. Yes, children will still watch tv, read magazines, and surf the web, but having a responsible role model in their parents can be just as effective.
Is it just the fashion industry's view of the perfect body that has caused the modeling world to crackdown on their model's weight? Is it just the entertainment industry in general? Will the US ever step up and take notice? Actually many NY designers, along with Vogue editor in chief, Anna Wintour are willing to make conscious efforts in their selection of models that walk in runway shows or pose in fashion editorials. Will it ever be universal? Unfortunately, the mystery of what is too thin will never be completely solved. But on a positive note, at least the powerful influences of the fashion world have stopped to take notice and are now realizing what these unrealistic ideas are doing to millions of American women.
How to be pro-active on your own weight goals is plain and simple. Remember you can make a difference- encourage yourself and the ones around you to be positive about themselves rather than harp on the negatives. Not everyone in the world was meant to be a model or actress. We are all given creative and unique gifts in this world, focus on what makes you a standout! Life is about inspiring others to live their lives to the fullest and healthiest.