Are Models Skinny Because We're Fat?

Column blaming the thin trend on society's obesity gets lots of attention
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2009 12:37 PM CDT
Left: a digitally altered Ralph Lauren advertisement of model Filippa Hamilton. Right: a runway photo of Hamilton in New York from Sept. 15, 2006. Hamilton says she was fired for being too fat.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Robin Givhan's recent Washington Post piece attempting to explain why models are so skinny—"the fatter the general population, the thinner the idealized woman," she wrote—spawned a number of responses in varying degrees of outrage. Read on for a sample:

  • "'The culture' isn't insisting on emaciated models and greeting larger ones with hostility; the fashion industry is, and as such, it seems increasingly out of touch with consumer demands," writes Sady Doyle in Salon.

  • "Givhan's argument, while it surely contains a kernel of truth, also denies something obvious: modern fashion isn't about beauty, and that's new," writes Sadie on Jezebel. "It's redefining beauty, and taking out health, which goes against our quite literal instincts. Maybe that's why we rebel, and object in ways we don't even fully understand."
  • "Outlets like Glamour and Marie Claire are pushing acceptance of plus-size models more than ever," writes Alisa Gould-Simon for BlackBook. "So, perhaps altogether the trends toward uber-thinness and embracing larger body types just helps to show that the fashion industry is living in a state of extremes. However, in this case it seems pretty clear that the former is the chicken and the latter the egg."
(Read more Robin Givhan stories.)