Guest Post: The Transformation to a Warped Body ImageJune 8, 2009
This post was contributed by Nicole White, who writes about masters of health care degree. She welcomes your feedback at Nicole.White222 at gmail.com. After graduating from college Nicole started freelancing and writing for online education sites. She has a particular interest in living a healthy and happy lifestyle and loves to write about it and share with others.
Does anybody really know when the exact moment was that it suddenly became chic to look underweight? Centuries ago, it was a sign of poverty to be seen as underweight and subsequently the rich went to great lengths to portray themselves as robust. Even the beginning of the twentieth century observed pop culture icons like Marilyn Monroe exhibiting a healthy weight size for her body type. So the real deliberation is when did this long-lasting fad of appearing “healthy” diminish in lieu of a new overarching trend which now threatens to kill so many young girls today?
Supermodels of the 1980s were entirely different from the related models of today; the “Big Six” of the late 1980s (Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell) were still held to be positive role models for young girls. While most of these supermodels were thinner than the average American woman, they still maintained a seemingly healthy BMI and appeared to enjoy the curves that most women have. However, Kate Moss was the first exception to this otherwise healthy atmosphere and began ushering in a new “heroin chic” look which became the staple of the new fashion world. The media began to question “how thin is too thin” and with this becoming a major topic in the fashion industry, this new breed of model was born.
There are different theories relating to the birth of the overtly thin model in the 1980s: some blame the advent of street drugs like heroin and crack which led to an emaciated body type while others blame the birth of the HIV virus which left many with the same sunken-eye look. Because of these various influences of a new underground culture, a new look was born within the fashion industry and while it was based on seemingly negative connotations, it is a look which has lasted over two decades. Since the beginning of this craze, young girls have been easily influenced by ultra-thin models, ushering in a plethora of eating disorders which have since reached epic proportions. Girls view these models in magazines, on TV, and believe that this is the socially acceptable weight they should be at, regardless of any outside factors like height and bone structure.
The fashion world itself almost promoted this new influx of ultra-thin models and a new “anorexic” message by promoting their models to be smaller and smaller in order to compete on runways and for ad campaigns. What they did not realize for years was that rather than gaining contracts, they were losing many models and followers around the world to the silent killer anorexia. The international modeling industry has since taken drastic steps to curb this new obsession with weight by putting their models through various tests in order to determine if they have a BMI of at least 18.5. Additionally, healthy snacks are now offered backstage at most runway shows and “plus-size” models have begun to make a come-back. However, there are still a great many models and celebrities for that matter who promote this unhealthy look, appealing to girls all over the world. How did it happen that girls in Western countries envy the starving people of third-world nations? Aside from being incredibly selfish and inconsiderate of other peoples’ misery, this has become an international problem created by the fashion industry and an unstoppable force. Many fashion icons contend that the new “thin” look will not be replaced by a more “voluptuous” size 6 look anytime soon, which leaves it in our hands to educate young girls of the dangers this warped body image sends out.