Posted by: Ask Arden | February 20, 2010

Are too thin models also too young?

I read a very timely article in the Journal News about the pressure of models, some under the age of 16, having to fit in a sample 0 size and the predominance of eating disorders.

Although there has been some shift in the fashion industry, brought on by the death of a model three years ago that died from an eating disorder, with Spain and Italy adopting mandatory weight guidelines, unfortunately the Council of Fashion Designers of America opted instead for voluntary measures that put an emphasis on nutritional and emotional counseling. I think that was a good first step but not enough of a deterrent because increasingly there are models from Eastern Europe and the United States that have been red flagged for being way too under nourished and dangerously under weight.

Two issues are currently being addressed. Too many models are underage and the sample size is a 0. There is a move to increase the size to a 4. Still very small when you think about the average size of most teenagers, a 6-12, but at least it’s an attempt to go in the right direction.

As an Eating Disorder specialist obviously there needs to be more stringent mandatory weight and age guidelines that will protect both the physical and mental health of budding models and those that are feeling the pressure of losing “a few pounds” to fit into an absolutely unrealistic size meant for an 8 year old female.

I do pray that the emphasis moves to that models, like us, are human folks that come in all different sizes, shapes and colors and that the fashion industry continues to embrace that as a fact of life.

To my Moms and teenagers, you must all challenge the notion that you can’t be too thin.You must not look upon these exceptionally emaciated models as a prototype of beauty. Embracing who you are and loving your self and body is the work, as women, that we need to be mindful of every day of our lives.

Blessings and love,
Arden

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