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Woland
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Thanks, Bob. That is an interesting article. A few reactions:

1) It's one study - not clear what the methodology was. It appears to be a survey of 3,000 young women.

2) The articles describe the authors as having discovered "peer group pressure is one of the most significant influences on self-image." You didn't know that in elementary school?

3) "The research by LSE economist Dr Joan Costa-Font and Professor Mireia Jofre-Bonet of City University, showed that it is becoming increasingly apparent that standards of physical appearance are important and powerful motivators of human behavior, especially regarding health and food." Indeed. The bookstores and webpages of this fallen world are crammed with advice on achieving health, fitness, and beauty, aren't they?

4) The problem is with the standards or ideals of body habitus -thinness- that the public likes.

5) The question is whether those standards or ideals come from the appearance of fashion models, or whether the appearance of fashion models comes from the standards and ideals that the "peers" who exert the pressure hold.

6) And more importantly, whether regulating the fashion industry would change those standards and ideals the way that the authors of this research study think appropriate.

7) I think that's a dubious proposition.
mastermindreader
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I wonder if proponents of foot binding in China also made the same arguments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_binding
Woland
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That's even more dubious.
LobowolfXXX
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The distinction between involuntarily having one's feet bound and voluntarily not eating enough because you want to look like a girl on a billboard is probably at the heart of my natural inclination to oppose the law (which I'm still sort of mentally fleshing out; I do owe the thread a detailed post still).
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
mastermindreader
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Actually, I see it as almost the same problem - forced (either psychologically or physically) compliance with a societal "norm" of beauty.
LobowolfXXX
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I think the percentage of overweight and obese Americans illustrates that "forced" isn't applicable to both situations in the same way.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
mastermindreader
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I'm not talking about obesity - that's an entirely different problem. People don't become obese because our culture equates fat with beautiful.
LobowolfXXX
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My point was that the fact that so many people are obese or overweight (to say nothing of the merely "average") that I think it's evident that people aren't being "forced" to be otherwise.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
balducci
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Quote:
On 2012-03-24 02:14, LobowolfXXX wrote:

The distinction between involuntarily having one's feet bound ...

I'm not particularly familiar with the practice. So I ask, where did you get the 'involuntary' part from? I just skimmed the wikipedia link that was given, but I didn't see anything about it being forced on anyone.
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
mastermindreader
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It wasn't forced on everyone. It was just a societal norm. Just as "voluntary" anorexia and bulimia have become regular practices in an industry that has a significant influence on modern day societal "norms."
LobowolfXXX
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I didn't read the Wikipedia article, but I had read about the practice before, and my recollection is that children would often (usually or almost always?!) object/protest/etc, and it wouldn't help much.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
mastermindreader
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Well, if you don't like the foot binding analogy, how about the western practice of tight-lacing? Totally voluntary (except for the pressure of meeting societal norms of beauty) but, unlike foot binding, as potentially deadly as modern day anorexia and bulimia.

http://www.morbidoutlook.com/fashion/his......ace.html

Here are some x-rays:

http://www.dangerousminds.net/comments/x......s_19082/

With this in mind, would you object to a law that prohibited modeling agencies from firing women who refused to artificially maintain 18 inch waists?
Woland
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Hi Bob,

The eradication of foot binding was accomplished by making the practice illegal, unless I am mistaken.

The analogy here would be to make bulimia and anorexia illegal. That's not what you want, is it?

The law that we started discussing, beyond its immediate effect of causing unemployment among models whom some bureaucrat decides are too skinny, is apparently supposed to fix the problem of bulimia and anorexia in general, under the belief that skinniness is being imposed on an unwilling or unconscious public by evil fashion designers, etc.

I have not argued that skinniness, bulimia, or anorexia are desirable. I have argued that the penchant for skin'n'bones comes from the public, not from the advertisers, and that restricting the employment of skinny fashion models will not change it.

As far as corsets are concerned, that practice ended when the public's taste changed - not because and it was in response to that change that the immortal fashion designer Paul Poiret developed the draping cloth styles that led to the flattened silhouettes of the roaring twenties, the substitution of the soutien-gorge or the brasierre for the laced corset, and ultimately the "look" that is popular today.

To repeat my refrain, skinny, barely pubescent girls are seen as attractive by a public that has become more and more affected by neoteny and the exaltation of immaturity - physically, socially, culturally, emotionally. Preventing fashion houses from employing skinny models is not going to change that.
mastermindreader
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No, the analogy would not be to make bulimia and anorexia illegal. The analogy - in this case - is to make it illegal for employers to force unsafe practices on their employees.

Preventing fashion houses from employing skinny models will simply result in fewer dead models. This is really nothing more than a workplace safety issue if you look at it that way.

Good thoughts,

Bob
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Quote:
On 2012-03-24 11:07, mastermindreader wrote:
No, the analogy would not be to make bulimia and anorexia illegal. The analogy - in this case - is to make it illegal for employers to force unsafe practices on their employees.

Preventing fashion houses from employing skinny models will simply result in fewer dead models. This is really nothing more than a workplace safety issue if you look at it that way.

Good thoughts,

Bob


While there some overlap, both theoretical and practical, I think there's a difference between preventing employers from forcing unsafe practices, and preventing them from hiring those who look a certain way. Despite the stereotypically ultra-skinny model look (which, btw, I don't find attractive, which is some evidence that the modeling industry doesn't dictate my tastes, anyway), there are models who don't fit that mold. And some who go WAY to the other side (like Anna Nicole Smith, most famously). So the fact that companies are allowed to hire whomever they choose clearly doesn't mean that only anorexic women will have modeling jobs.
Moreover, some women are unhealthily skinny without being anorexic; it's not their responsibility if others resort to unsafe eating practices to approximate the same currently fashionable look.

I think Woland's analogy is actually more apt; by legal degree, women with bound feet were not permitted anywhere. The comparison would be, indeed, that women who are below a certain weight (per their height) are not allowed. Or at least not permitted to get ANY job, which is what the law would be if it were purely a workplace safety issue. But, of course, it's not; it's not really about workplace safety at all. It's not about the models; it's about all the girls and women who look at the models, some of whom will then become unhealthy. They're not passing a law against Starbucks hiring anorexics because it will "simply result in fewer dead barristas."

And that's sort of what drives most of my objection; it's like banning violent video games, or rap or heavy metal lyrics, because some viewers/listeners might imitate what they see. Preventing girls and women from seeing underweight women portrayed as being attractive just doesn't rise to a level where I'd go along with it, and hats really what the law is aimed at - eliminating the consequences of suggesting that an unhealthily skinny woman is attractive. That's far too intrusive for my taste.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
Woland
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Hi Bob,

The article describing the Israeli law that was presented by the O.P. says that the law will require models to prove that they are not malnourished:

Quote:
The new law requires models to produce a medical report no older than three months at every shoot for the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards.


. . . . but as the article notes, this is not really international news:

Quote:
The Madrid fashion show bans women whose BMI is below 18. Milan's fashion week bans models with a BMI below 18.5.


As far as the wider impact of the law goes, the original article also reports:

Quote:
Unrealistic body images in the media are believed to shape eating habits, especially among young people, though there is debate about how influential they are. Other factors include psychological health, trauma like sexual assault, or a tendency within one's family to emphasize physical appearance as a sign of success.

It's not certain that the law will have a measurable impact, because Israeli teens take their cues from both international media and local publications, said Sigal Gooldin, an eating disorder specialist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Social worker Uri Pinus, who treats seven teens with eating disorders at a Jerusalem hospital, said the law was unlikely to affect his patients.


I am all in favor of reducing the number of dead fashion models. I found a list on the ever-reliable Wikipedia, here. From 2000 through now, the list includes 45 female and 8 male fashion models who died during their careers.

Causes of death as listed for the female models include the following, if I have not miscounted:

Suicide . . . . . . . . 9
Drug overdose . . . . . 4
Car accident . . . . . 6
Defenestration . . . . 1
Murder . . . . . . . . 5
Breast Cancer . . . . . 1
Anorexia nervosa . . . 4 (and none since 2009)
Helicopter crash . . . 1
Septicemia . . . . . . 1
Drowning . . . . . . . 1

Suicide, murder, and accidents seem to account for far more deaths in this group than do eating disorders, but I agree that reducing these deaths is laudable. If enforced, the Israeli law will certainly reduce the number of deaths due to eating disorders among employed fashion models.

I'm not arguing that point.

I am simply repeating that anorexia nervosa and bulimia are not the result of an image of beauty invented by fashion designers and foisted on an unwitting public.
magicalaurie
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One thing that is being forced is there are certain sizes available on the rack and as a flyer in the paper stated this week: "Plus sizes may not be available in all stores". So you've got, according to Woland, a 15% to 25% representative dictating what goes on the rack for the general population. I say that's disproportionate representation- that is not the "public" telling fashion what we want. I don't want to pay the industry to tell me I'm Xlarge or larger when I'm not even overweight. In fashion, I'd say that 15% to 25% isn't balanced with another 75%-85%. ie. it's close to 100% focus on underweight and that's what goes on the racks and in the magazines and on T.V.- that's not a reflection of "public". And if you think young girls- under 20 are responsible- are influencing themselves in this direction- when this in fact has been going on for longer than they've been alive, even- I say you're sadly and offensively mistaken. To say they are choosing freely to eat less is faulty if in fact they are suffering anorexia. Anorexia is a disease that robs choice from them by distorting "freedom to choose". Choosing eating to stay alive becomes choosing to be lazy, undisciplined and ugly.

Quote:
On 2012-03-22 17:40, Woland wrote:
...We are afraid of growing up (Peter Pan, anyone?) because growing up means growing old, and growing old means dying.

Thus our image of beauty is no longer the Rubenesque (let alone Maillolesque) young woman but a skinny girl...



Many of the photos of these girls in ads would directly dispute fear of "growing up" if you understand what I'm getting at. And growing up and growing old have got nothing on anorexia when it comes to dying. Death can and does find young women.

I thought I saw a reference linking suicide with eating disorders, earlier, FWIW. Might even have been from one of the links posted here. Regardless, we're talking public, Woland, not exclusively "models".
Woland
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Hi magicalaurie, thanks for your continuing interest and discussion. I am not sure we have the same understanding of the fashion market. I don't think that the fashion designers are dictating to the public. I don't think that 15 to 25% of the public is dictating to the other 75%. If fashion manufacturers think that they will be able to sell garments of a certain style in certain sizes, they will make them. They don't make any money at all by failing to have garments on the rack that people will buy.

In a socialist country, manufacturing and marketing decisions are made by centralized boards. For example, in Tito's Yugoslavia, tampons were never manufactured, because there were no women on the planning commissions. (You can read about that in Slavenka Drakulic's book, "How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed.") In a market economy such as ours, however, anyone is free to produce any products they think will sell. No amount of advertising by even the largest of corporations can force an Edsel on the buying public. Fashion houses have much less influence, and must compete with each other in order to meet the desires of the buying public.

There is no money to be made by failing to have on the rack, the sizes that people want to buy.
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Woland
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Lobo,

I missed your comment, which had not yet posted while I was writing about the deaths of fashion models in my response to Bob.

I think you're right, although the law's sponsors could argue that anorexic girls are more likely to be found seeking work as fashion models than baristas. But I think that would be a weak argument, because there are far more jobs for baristas than fashion models, and fashion models are hired on the basis of physical features that go beyond mere skinniness. They have to be perceived as "beautiful" and "glamorous" by the intended audience.
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