We’re used to the importance of presentation in the world of politics, but no-one does it quite so blatently as the fashion world. We’ve seen it in the waif-like size of girl/women models, an acknowledged under-representation of ethnic diversity on the cat walk and now male models are also under pressure to down-size.
In the Melbourne Age, one male model, David, described the reality:
In Milan, I trimmed down to about 76kg so I would fit the clothes. I am 6’2″, so for me I would say that’s underweight,” he says. “Paris tends to be even skinnier than Milan. You’ve got designers like Dior who always go for anaemic, 17-year-old bodies…
While critical eyes have been fixed on skeletal female models – with jutting ribs and collar bones, pencil-thin pegs and wan complexions – their male counterparts have been quietly wasting away.”
The New York TImes observed:
Far from inspiring a spate of industry breast-beating, as occurred after the international news media got hold of the deaths of two young female models who died from eating disorders, the trend favoring very skinny male models has been accepted as a matter or course.
In terms of image, the current preference is for beauty that is not fully evolved. ‘People are afraid to look over 21 or make any statement of what it means to be adult,’ Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People’s Revolution, a fashion branding and production company said.
Body image is a topic that is easy to dismiss as unimportant. But it has real consequences for those who emulate the extreme – and their families. It can also be seen as part of the world of “image” as described in the post Brand Key: Our cultural lack of substance made real.