Feature

Do models get thinner as women get fatter?

Why the fashion industry presents skinny as the ideal

Fashion is about fantasy, said Robin Givhan in The Washington Post. So fashion models are getting thinner (with the help of Photoshop, in the case of former Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton) as American women get heavier. "The fatter the general population, the thinner the idealized woman." Maybe it's "self-loathing" that makes super-skinny women look so good to the chunkier masses.

There may be "a kernel of truth" to Givhan's theory, said Sadie Stein in Jezebel, but she's missing "something obvious: Modern fashion isn't about beauty," it's about "redefining beauty, and taking out health, which goes against our quite literal instincts." Corsets were bad enough, but we're further from the "natural ideal" than ever in history—"maybe that's why we rebel."

"The backlash isn't always about health or body image, but about wanting a standard of beauty that actually seems semi-attainable," said Sady Doyle in Salon. "At least you could buy a corset (good luck carrying that Photoshop eraser tool around with you at dinner)." It's the fashion industry, not the culture, that's "insisting on emaciated models and greeting larger ones with hostility."

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