There Should be a Minimum Weight Limit For Professional Models
Should there be a minimum weight limit for professional models?
In our modern and media influenced society there is an increasing presentation of beauty in women, using extremely thin models. Petite, skinny and beautiful models are frequently size zero (UK size 4) and labelled as such, promote this body type to the public. But how much influence does the media have upon the way people perceive themselves? Is the impact of the media positive and encouraging people to think about the way they look, or is the impact negative creating pressure, stress and anxiety?
Size zero bust is 31.5 inches (80cm), waist 23 inches (60cm) and hips 34 inches (86 cm). To put these measurements into perspective, the average waist of a British eight-year old is 22 inches (56cm).
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It is said by doctors that an adult woman is at risk of a large number of health problems if her BMI...
It is said by doctors that an adult woman is at risk of a large number of health problems if her BMI (body mass index) falls below the recommended 18. These include osteoporosis and loss of the menstrual cycle. If a young model is extremely skinny she needs medical help and should not be allowed to work until she is back to a healthy weight.
Thin models are idolised for a reason. They have the best figure to present a designer's work and that is what they are being paid to do. Putting weight restrictions in place is not allowing them to do their jobs.
Many models are under pressure from agents and designers to be thin. As a result, many develop eati...
Many models are under pressure from agents and designers to be thin. As a result, many develop eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa. In the recent past, several models have died as a consequence of eating disorders and a need to be thin. Others turn to drugs in order to fight their body’s natural craving for food. Having minimum physical standards would ensure that young girls could not be put under pressure to adopt extreme diets. Such an objective standard would be much better than asking for doctors certificates or having age restrictions, both of which could be got round by dishonest agents.
Weight restrictions are ineffective. For example, BMI only takes into account weight and height but not bone density and fat percentage. Many models are teenagers who eat normally but are naturally skinny. Why should they be stopped from working? In some instances it has been more effective to ask the model to provide a certificate from a doctor proving they are healthy. Given that very young models (often 14 or 15 years old) are also exploited financially and sexually, perhaps it would be best to have minimum ages for modelling instead.
Many girls idolise models and feel the need to mirror their thinness. Models of a very low weight a...
Many girls idolise models and feel the need to mirror their thinness. Models of a very low weight are setting bad examples to these girls and can be held responsible for the increasing number of girls with eating disorders. The fact that some websites celebrate anorexia and hold up skeletal models as examples to follow shows how influential fashion can be. The fashion industry must take responsibility for its actions and avoid promoting extreme thinness as a desirable norm.
The fashion industry is not to blame for eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and are not simply triggered by models and images of thin people. It is better that today people are able to discuss eating disorders openly than in the past, when it was hushed up and help was hard to find.
Fashion is promoting an unhealthy image for women to aspire to. Studies have found that most women ...
Fashion is promoting an unhealthy image for women to aspire to. Studies have found that most women feel that they are overweight, even if they are healthily normal for their height. This leads them to feel guilty and depressed, to start fad diets and buy unnecessary slimming products. We should be promoting bigger, healthier sizes so that fashion will reflect real women and not the unhealthily thin minority.
We cannot campaign against models when we do not hold other role models accountable. Many rock stars take drugs and we do not stop them performing/ producing records. Footballers get drunk, beat people up and sleep around, yet they are not banned from playing. Even with thin celebrities, fashion models are far from the only examples to be found. Many actresses and pop stars are also very slim, as are many female athletes (e.g. gymnasts, distance runners) – should they also be banned? And what about other kinds of female role models? Should we ban skinny teachers, doctors or businesswomen?
Very thin models need to be protected by the state from themselves. Many models are too young to be...
Very thin models need to be protected by the state from themselves. Many models are too young to be considered fully adult in any case, and so restricting their freedom to prevent them harming themselves is easy to justify. And even very thin adult models may not be able to freely decide about their own bodies and health. Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness and sufferers are not in a condition to make rational decisions to protect their own health. Combine this with the low education of many models, and the pressures on them from agents and the fashion industry, and it is time the state stepped in to protect them.
We should not pass rules and laws against thin models working. They are grown women who are capable of making their own decisions about their bodies and their careers. For many of them modelling has been a dream they have followed for many years – just like gymnasts, bodybuilders or actresses. Should we punish anyone who is single-minded in pursuing their ambitions, just because we disapprove of them? And any attack on women’s right of control over their own bodies risks removing their right to choose in other areas, such as abortion.
The fashion industry leads opinion and so making a change to the kind of models used will have a big...
The fashion industry leads opinion and so making a change to the kind of models used will have a big impact. Only a few thousand people will ever attend catwalk shows or buy the incredibly expensive clothes they showcase. However, these include many leading celebrities whose lives are covered in every detail by tabloid magazines read by many millions. And the clothes themselves hugely influence high-street fashions, which in turn often only look good on unhealthily thin girls. Forcing the fashion industry to make changes will therefore ripple through society in a way no other action can do.
The fashion industry is far from being the main opinion former. The media, and particularly tabloid newspapers and celebrity magazines is much more important in promoting views of women. The very magazines which run scare stories about size zero models also run unflattering pictures of female celebrities, criticizing them for putting on weight. If any industry needs to be the target of new laws, it should be the media.\
It is also wrong to blame fashion as one united industry. Although some designers often use very slim models, others aim to dress a more traditional, curvy shape (e.g. Versace). There are also differences from country to country in the kind of models which are preferred.\
Voluntary codes will never be effective. Designers will always claim that favourite models should b...
Voluntary codes will never be effective. Designers will always claim that favourite models should be exempt from the agreed codes. The system will end up being policed by the very people who are responsible for the problems today – agents, designers and photographers. To be credible, action must have the force of law.
Even if we should act to keep worryingly thin models off the catwalks, writing new laws is not the best way to do it. Laws are a blunt instrument which cannot consider what is best in the case of each individual model. And fashion is an international business; unless all countries sign up to the same laws the problem will not be solved. Instead the fashion industry should develop its own voluntary code, to which all the leading designers and agents are committed. This will ensure willing cooperation with new rules, and also work across the whole world.
Size zero models should be banned.
Using female models that are size zero suggests that the only way to be beautiful is to be size zero. Size zero fashion icons have a dangerous influence upon follwers of fashion and can lead to physical and mental complaints. According to the National Institue of Mental Health, an estimated 0.5% to 3.7% of women will suffer from anorexia in their lifetime; 1.1% to 4.2% for bulimia and 2% to 5% for binge eating disorder. The majority of the population is not size zero and therefore using size zero models is discriminatory. However, if the media was to stop using images of size zero models, then cases of eating disorders would decrease.
The media is simply a reflection of society, and society’s own perceptions. Alexandra Shulman, editor of the British Vogue says that “magazines simply sell images that people want to see, and that the public wouldn’t find a size 14 model attractive.”
CA: By banning size zero and using larger models, people will be less interested in following the fashion trends and the consumption of magazines is likely to decrease.
What do you think?