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Monday, July 16, 2007

We don’t need another (skinny) hero

It has been said many times that people should never meet their heroes. This is true. Equally true, I think, is that one should never read about them either, because that experience is almost always equally disappointing (unless of course your hero is Boris Johnson, in which case you should devour every calculatedly- buffoonish word the man utters).
Today, a ‘hero’ of mine (OK, someone I’d previously quite admired) proved this very point.

Today, the ever lovely model Erin O’Connor is quoted in the paper as saying that it would ‘compromise the dignity’ of models if the fashion industry were to be legally obliged to stick to a minimum-BMI when hiring models for shoots and catwalk shows.

Oh Erin.

Loss of dignity? You truly believe that asking the fashion industry not to chuck sick, emaciated child-women down a catwalk is any less ‘dignified’ than allowing those same naïve little girls to puke and shit themselves into a skeletal shape with the aid of laxatives, amphetamines and a well-placed digit down the throat?
That’s a shame. Not for me, mind, cos I’m middle-aged and I just LOVE a pie, but for those young girls’ equally naïve peers, who read the magazines, see the pictures, and actually believe Victoria Beckham, Nicole Richie et al when they tell us that they are naturally thin and eat saveloy and chips at least thrice weekly.

It’s also truly a shame that Erin sees fit to use the word ‘dignity’ when the inquiry of which she was a part, The Model Health Enquiry, which set out supposedly to address serious problems within the modelling industry, has so stunningly failed to address any of the issues it was supposed to.

Perhaps ironically, given its self-absorbed vanity, the fashion industry is and has always been entirely unable to see its own reflection clearly. (The fable wasn’t called The Emperor’s New Clothes for nothing). Nonetheless, to freely admit that, according to the findings of your own inquiry, “as many as 40% of models may have eating disorders and almost all the models the panel spoke to confessed to having an unhealthy relationship with food”, and to then do NOTHING about it is, in my opinion, rather undignified.

Moreover, what kind of insult to our intelligence - not to mention the democratic process - is it to entrust legislative powers over abuses in the modelling industry to models and their AGENTS?
Sarah Doukas, the head of one of the country’s largest modelling agencies, is against the idea of banning the use of models who’ve been found to have taken drugs, you say? Well now, that does surprise me.

Asking the fashion industry to police itself a bit like asking supermarkets to decide for themselves whether their putting local retailers out of business is anti-competitive.
Oh yeah, the government did that too, didn’t it?

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