Last night on the CBS evening news with Katie Couric , the debate over modeling weight guidelines continued. Kate Dillon, a model who defies industry standards with her full figure, said that she was upset that the American fashion industry would not adopt the strict guidelines that Spain and Italy had endorsed.
Taking a step back from the catwalk, it is understandable why the industry is resistant - they don't want to be forced into hiring (or not hiring) who they see as the proper fit models. That would seem to be reasonable, except for the unreasonable fact that the 21st century norm happens to be the anorexic model. And Kate is certainly one to talk, as she wrestled with anorexia for years. Think about it: a size 00 never existed in the fashion industry until this past year. By creating it, they are now saying that it's a normal standard. Size 4 is the usual sample size, going up to a six or down to a 2 depending on how the cut fits. But what Kate said on air tonight was that if the fashion industry of America would help women get healthy by having a weight standard, then women like herself would not try and starve themselves to death.
Tyra Banks this week came out swinging -and winning- by declaring that on a 5'10" frame, 161pounds is not FAT, it's normal. After an unflattering photo of her in a swimsuit was splashed all over the tabloids and the internet, she appeared on her show in the same suit, proudly displaying her curves. She has become a spokesperson for the hypocrisy of the tabloids that attempt to feign interest in helping with headlines such as " 3 models have died from anorexia, Kate Bosworth are you listening?" but just can't help themselves with, "Tyra gains 40 pounds and is no longer a Top Model".
We know that every woman has her own set of bone structure and health guidelines that are appropriate for her. Yes, there are women who are naturally thin. And yes, the standard of beauty changes every decade. But never before have we seen the "Lollipop Heads on a Stick" look that has become the familiar front page image gracing the covers of the celebrity magazines. Fashion is a huge industry, and one that is emulated all over the world. There is art and beauty to be found in it. But with it comes responsibility, and to deny the industry's powerful impact on women everywhere is a blatant disregard for the truth.
For young girls growing up in this size 00 decade, we must turn the spotlight upon the role models who reject this unrealistic notion of beauty. This week they had strong and articulate voices coming from Tyra Banks, Kate Dillon and Kate Winslet. And hopefully young women will take note that one of the biggest stars of moment, Jennifer Hudson is a BIG and beautiful girl. In response to the slivers of women parading down the catwalk and the red carpet, let's hope her words ring true, "And I'm telling you, I'm not going."