Yesha Callahan

Don’t Blame The Models?

Recently The Daily Beastwriter Robin Givhan,  explored the notion that fashion models aren’t the ones to blame for their skinny looks and ability to make millions and wear clothes the average sized 14 woman can’t fit a thigh into. She writes:

The fashion industry simply loves a skinny young girl. And for the average woman, fashion continues to deliver a brutal, frustrating fantasy. But are the models to blame for women’s psychic battering? To most critics, skinny models seem to exacerbate the occurrence of eating disorders. But over time, it hasn’t mattered if the models-of-the-day were waifs or Amazons. Experts say there’s no evidence that the rate of eating disorders has spiked or plummeted accordingly. So apparently size doesn’t matter. Rather, fashion’s sin is that it peddles dissatisfaction. What one has is never quite pretty enough, luxurious enough, glamorous enough—and, with obesity on the rise and baby boomers settling into retirement—thin, toned, and tight enough.

Preying on a woman’s insecurities about their body isn’t limited to models or the fashion industry. You can’t pass a channel on television without seeing commercials for weight loss programs or pills. For the longest, these commercials have been specifically targeted towards women, but last year Charles Barkley’s commercials for Weight Watchers put men under the microscope.

Is the fashion industry responsible for ‘peddling dissatisfaction’? We’ve all read the stories about underage models, that have barely reached puberty, as well as the effort to try to keep emaciated looking models off the runway, but is that good enough?  Does ‘good enough’ even matter when the fashion industry’s bottom line is making money? “Why can’t we make peace with fashion? Perhaps because we can’t decide if it is a commodity industry that should respond to a marketplace filled with size 14 women, or if it is an art form that should be free to weave elusive fantasies”, says Givhan. Instead of t-shirts like, “Don’t Feed The Models”, maybe they should be changed to “Don’t Blame The Models” instead because they’re only doing the job they were hired for.

  1. October 22, 2012 - Reply

    As a slim-built woman I am personally sick of this movement by “average sized” women to demonize slim women because of their insecurities. Its like because america is an obese nation now, we have to down skinny people to make fat people feel better about themselves. Some people ARE just naturally thin, why hate? Sorry to sound insensitive but im SO tired of it. REAL WOMEN HAVE VAGINAS!!!

  2. October 22, 2012 - Reply

    Exactly Shay, 80% of our black women are overweight. Of that 80%, 60% are obese. This is in the US. These models are normal looking, it’s all the other women who are fat. And before I get screamed at, fat by definition, is just having “excess fat or flesh”. You are supposed to be like dogs, to be healthy, you should be able to see ribs, and muscle. We are not supposed to be covered in fat, our history for 3 million years is hunter gatherer, lots and lots of exercise, little food. The current black woman knows very little about these ideas.

    • October 22, 2012 - Reply


      Nope. Some of these women are underweight. I am a naturally thin woman and tall as well, but I have a normal diet and look healthy and slender not emaciated. You won’t see my ribs.

      In the modeling world, they get thin women and then pressure them to be skinner. Have you seen America’s Next Top Model? Those are naturally thin women. Some are considered too big for the fashion world. Heidi Klum is a naturally thin woman, but I think it was she who mentioned how women like her go work for Victoria’s Secret because they were considered too big for the runway. I think that is why Tyra Banks left the runway. I think there is a big difference between the Naomi Campbells, Linda Evangelistas, Christy Turlingtons, and Cindy Crawfords vs. what the runway models look like now.

      I am the last person to be rallying for fat acceptance, but some of these models are way too thin. Who knows maybe the designers are trying to save money by using less material lol.

      I think the woman in this photo actually looks naturally thin. Kate Moss is a perfect example of a naturally thin woman, but she looks pretty healthy to me.

      • October 22, 2012 - Reply


        Thank you so much Shay, your absolutely right. It’s ridiculously annoying how (insecure) people are constantly putting down slim people, but God help us if a slimmer person points out the unhealthy excess fat dangling from an elbow.

        ?!?, You’re also right. There is naturally skinny and then there is forcefully being mal-nurished and toothpick esque..

    • October 23, 2012 - Reply


      @ Guest you sound so ignorant…you should NOT be able to see most peoples ribs if they are healthy…No, we should not be covered in fat as MOST AMERICANS are…I also agree with the posters though…stop hating because if I were 5’10 and slim I would be a modeling

  3. October 23, 2012 - Reply

    Can we PLEASE stop the weight wars?

    • October 23, 2012 - Reply


      It never seems to end….

  4. October 23, 2012 - Reply

    LOL – no it appeals to gay white men!

    Because a young skinny woman with the facial aesthetics of a woman REPRESENT A “PRETTY BOY!”

    just how they like them. Teenage boys – RAWWWWRRR

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