The fashion industry has long had an obsession with super-thin models. But this body type is far from the norm, and health and wellness experts have criticized the fashion industry for perpetuating a false body image myth that many young women and girls emulate.
Problems can arise when girls with a more traditional body type try to look like models, and in doing so, they can face eating disorders, depression, mental health issues and other problems. Now, a group of 19 editors from the leading fashion magazine Vogue have announced that they will no longer utilize models that are under the age of 16 and appear to have an eating disorder.
Psychiatrists like Dr. Robbie Campbell, president of the Eating Disorder Foundation of Canada have celebrated Vogue’s decision saying, “It’s a move toward healthy modeling, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, healthy habits, healthy temperament, which all leads to a healthy body image.”
But critics say that although the move is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t go nearly far enough, citing digital editing of photos that portray a highly unrealistic body ideal and ongoing problems with girls over 16 with eating disorders.
Fashion organizations in Spain and Italy regulate models using a Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement and Israel has passed an anti-skinny model law to address the problem, but most of the worldwide fashion industry is unregulated.
Is Vogue’s decision a watershed moment, a step in the right direction or a PR stunt? How should the fashion industry be regulated?
Susan Linn, president, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Audrey Brashich, former teen model, author of "Author of All Made Up: A Girl's Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty"
Kathryn Hagen, chair of fashion design, Woodbury University