Seen these two pictures of fashion models? They’ve been making the social-media rounds (though the second one has been around for a couple of years).
This is “plus sized” model Katie Halchishick, showing what changes would have to be made to her body if she wanted to look like a Barbie doll (she doesn’t).
And this is 20 year old, 5’11”, 175 lb model Lizzie Miller, who has been told by some “plus sized” clothing designers that she’s “too fat” too model their clothes.
Lizzie Miller, by the way, is my height and weighs about 10 lbs more than I do. I don’t know where she’s putting the extra 10 lbs because she looks a lot better than I do naked, but then, 20 generally looks a little firmer and smoother than 46, and she probably hasn’t birthed two live human beings out of that body yet. Anyhow, I’m not going to be posting nude pics of myself on the blog anytime soon (collective sigh of relief from readers).
A recent article points out that “plus sized” in model-speak now means sizes 6 – 14. At a time when illnesses linked to obesity are killing people, and eating disorders are also killing people, advertisers are forcing women’s ideal body images ever further from reality. The average fashion model now weighs 23% less than the average woman At a time when people need genuine information and help with living healthier lifestyles, what we’re being given instead is body hatred — the least likely thing to motivate people to permanent, healthy change. And we’re buying into the self-hatred, and so are our daughters, and that makes me sick.
This is not an easy society in which to be raising kids at all, but raising a daughter is especially difficult. It’s so hard to send the right messages and help her block out the wrong ones. So hard to balance the message that you should never judge yourself by the size or shape or condition of your body, with the equally important message that this is the only body they’re ever going to issue you, and you should do all you can to keep it in optimum working order. Looks are a so much more immediate and powerful motivator for young girls than health and fitness. Yet wanting to have the perfect-looking body is the one motivator that will always, always come back to bite you on the butt — whether that butt is curvy or flat as a pancake. Because you will never be good enough for a world where a size 6 model is “plus sized.” And you’ll go crazy trying.