Thursday, January 12, 2012

skinny models and yellow journalism

Saw this link today with the sensationalist headline: "Most runway models meet the BMI criteria for anorexia." Of course I knew it was just yellow journalism, successfully designed to drive up click-thru traffic. And of course I clicked on it.

I have several thoughts about the article, and probably none of them are going to win me any friends.

First, the article in question is in a magazine aimed at plus-size female readers, so of course they want to make their readers feel good, but they do it by denigrating the models as freakish. Tearing down anybody to make someone else feel better is not okay in my book.

Second, there's the quote, "Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less." That is probably true, but without knowing where they got their numbers I'm willing to bet that the difference comes less from the models getting skinnier and more from the "average woman" getting fatter. This should not be news to anybody; we all have eyes.

Third, humans––I'm going to say Americans because this is basically a first-world problem––have this constant demand for bigger better faster more––it's in our cars, our movies, our music, our social mores, and our perceptions of what is sexy. Ergo, it's inevitable that those perceptions will become more and more polarized to accommodate personal bent. So of COURSE the models are going to get skinnier, as the gulf between the haves and the have-nots widens, because the universe requires balance, and the everyday is a good deal fatter than it used to be.

We are saturated with input and numb to everything but the next shock, or the next bite of sweet/salty/sour/bitter. We are all overfed--literally--to the point of stupor. Here we sit in front of our computers sucking down Diet Coke or designer coffee, bitching about how some magazine doesn't feature women who look like me. Duh! Advertising isn't there to make you feel good about yourself! Advertising is there to make you feel wanting, so you go out and buy yet another thing to fill the hole.

Here's an idea: put down the magazine, step away from the internet, close the refrigerator. Go outside for a walk. Breathe deeply. Stop thinking about things that only serve to get people riled up. Strife is not healthy.


Shirley, surely said...

So that's what I've been doing wrong! I haven't been building strife/problems into my life, so things have been "fine" to me, hence I hear from people who like hearing about my humdrum life. Maybe I should take out ads for that! No, won't ever work...

Holly said...

Poor Shirley, are you needing more conflict in your life?