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magicalaurie
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Woland
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With respect to growing up, growing old, and dying, magicalaurie, I regret that my poor abilities in English composition have made it difficult for me to be clear.

I agree that anorexia nervosa and bulimia are major mental disorders - psychiatric diseases. And I know that both of them are associated with a measurable mortality rate.

But if we are talking about the general population, and not just fashion models, we should try to understand why a skinny, malnourished, flat-chested, pale and (body)hairless, barely pubescent young woman is considered the acme of beauty by so many people in 2012 - as opposed to the fleshy, buxom, voluptuous woman who might have been the model for Gustave Courbet's "Origine du Monde" in 1866 (to take an example from Jaques Lacan's wall, as it were.)

I assert that this change did not come about as the result of the dressing-room atelier machinations of a few high-powered fashion designers, but that the designers have been responding to much deeper underlying forces in our culture.

I may be wrong, but nobody in this discussion has yet engaged this point, which disappoints me because I think it is a more interesting point of discussion than whether Israeli fashion models need to be protected by laws banning the employment of apparently anorectic girls.

I think the underlying cultural reasons for the preponderance of an anorectic ideal of beauty, and perhaps for the occurrence of anorexia nervosa as a more prevalent psychiatric disorder than it otherwise would be, are to be found in our culture's rejection of adulthood, adult responsibility, adult sexuality, and aging, in favor of a prolonged indulgence in puerile, hedonistic, dependent, and ultimately irresponsible lifestyles.

We have become Peter Pan's Lost Boys (and girls, though Wendy had more sense!) in Never Never Land.

Which is why, to return to our sheep, that this Israeli law will not accomplish what it intends. That's all I'm saying.
Woland
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Thanks for the interesting citation, magicalaurie. The authors make a relatively modest claim:

Quote:
All study analyses, except one, reported that the patients with anorexia nervosa committed suicide more often than their counterparts in the general population.


Without knowing how much more often, it is difficult to know how severe the effect really is.

This publication was also a meta-analysis, which combined the data from 9 studies chosen by the authors. Without reading their entire report, which is not available except to subscribers or members of certain societies that contract with Wiley International, I can't be sure that I would find the results reliable. Why were those 9 studies chosen, for example? And how exactly were the data combined?

The New York Times article by Guy Trebay to which you link includes this paragraph:

Quote:
In this country, where polls drive most things, the industry response gained impetus from a Nielsen Company survey of 25,000 people in 45 countries, which found that 81 percent disapproved of “extreme thinness.” In short order, the modeling agencies that manage the most notoriously underweight women abruptly benched them.


I think that tends to support my argument. The modeling agencies are not trying to force anything on anyone. They are trying to provide models to whom the public will respond.
magicalaurie
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balducci
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Quote:
On 2012-03-24 13:51, Woland wrote:

The New York Times article by Guy Trebay to which you link includes this paragraph:

Quote:
In this country, where polls drive most things, the industry response gained impetus from a Nielsen Company survey of 25,000 people in 45 countries, which found that 81 percent disapproved of “extreme thinness.” In short order, the modeling agencies that manage the most notoriously underweight women abruptly benched them.


I think that tends to support my argument. The modeling agencies are not trying to force anything on anyone. They are trying to provide models to whom the public will respond.

That article was from 2007. If those models had remained 'benched' it might have supported your argument. In fact, it seems the benching lasted a very short while and the industry quickly put thin models back on the runway in very short order.

It sounds a lot more like an industry that was trying to do some quick damage control.
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Woland
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The fact that there are skinny models in the magazines and on the runways doesn't seem to have had much effect on the sizes of the women I see when I walk around the wall, which admittedly is infrequently.
magicalaurie
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What it's done to their self esteem is what we're looking for, Woland.
Woland
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I understand, magicalaurie, but I am not as sure as some are, that it's coming from where they think it is.
landmark
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Quote:
I may be wrong, but nobody in this discussion has yet engaged this point, which disappoints me because I think it is a more interesting point of discussion than whether Israeli fashion models need to be protected by laws banning the employment of apparently anorectic girls.

I think the underlying cultural reasons for the preponderance of an anorectic ideal of beauty, and perhaps for the occurrence of anorexia nervosa as a more prevalent psychiatric disorder than it otherwise would be, are to be found in our culture's rejection of adulthood, adult responsibility, adult sexuality, and aging, in favor of a prolonged indulgence in puerile, hedonistic, dependent, and ultimately irresponsible lifestyles.


I agree this is the much more interesting question.

First though, about the relationship of advertising and "The Zeitgeist." Ideas come from somewhere, they don't come from thin air and magically land in the body politic. While we could argue the chicken--egg thing, advertising and public opinion both influence and mutually reinforce each other in a positive feedback loop. To counteract that loop, advertising is not an illogical place to start. I do agree with Lobo and yourself however, that it's a potentially slippery slope; but laws are a patchwork, not the ideals we would like them to be.

I happen to agree with you that one of the causes of eating disorders is based on a rejection of adult sexuality; but I don't think that can be evaluated correctly without understanding the reasons for that rejection. The clue is that anorexia is largely a disorder that affects females. That is why your Peter Pan thesis is incorrect, and points more to the existing power relations between men and women.

Back to advertising: while the fashion industry may not directly gain from pushing smaller and smaller sizes as the ideal, many other industries benefit from this message. As long as people can be made to feel deficient, they can be sold something to help alleviate their anxieties over their alleged abnormalities. This is the larger framework in which the consumer society works, and as such, the various media echo and reinforce that message.
Woland
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Hi landmark,

I'd like to hear more about these ideas:

Quote:
I happen to agree with you that one of the causes of eating disorders is based on a rejection of adult sexuality; but I don't think that can be evaluated correctly without understanding the reasons for that rejection. The clue is that anorexia is largely a disorder that affects females. That is why your Peter Pan thesis is incorrect, and points more to the existing power relations between men and women.


I think we are likely to agree on more than you may think.

By the way, a focus on presumed deficiencies is not limited to commercial advertising, but is also a major theme in political movements based on resentment and envy.
magicalaurie
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magicalaurie
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http://ciremag.com/2010/03/10/designers-......ho-does/

"Yes, trends are typically dictated NOT by the latest and greatest fashion designer, but by small fabric mills in Italy or the UK. Once they attend these shows and see the available fabrics and materials, they get inspiration for how the collection will unfold."

"Every man should own the following “basics” in his wardrobe: A navy blazer, a grey flannel suit, a well-fitting white shirt, a collection of oxford cloth button-down shirts, straight-fitting dark denim, neutral-colored v-neck sweater in merino wool or cashmere, and classic wingtip brogues in brown."

"EC: What less expensive items would you recommend would be essential to their wardrobe?

MF: I always brag about what the merchants at J. Crew are doing in menswear. You can get everything you need from their store or catalog. As I say above, invest in some button-up shirts (solids, basic stripes, and some checks or plaids), some v-neck or crew neck tees, a chambray shirt and some straight-fitting Levi’s jeans."

" 'Modernized tradition' as I call it will continue to influence the men’s market for quite some time. You’ll continue to find that masculine styles and innovative styling will inspire men of all ages."
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2012-03-25 13:35, magicalaurie wrote:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/fashio......nted=all


Well tailored emo by way of Dachau is ... updated traditional?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Woland
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Thanks, magicalaurie, for posting some interesting articles. These paragraphs from the Times piece that Jonathan looked at interested me:

Quote:
“The look is different from when I started in the business eight years ago,” Mr. Ballou said last week during a photo shoot at the Milk Studios in lower Manhattan. In many of the model castings, which tend to be dominated by a handful of people, the body style that now dominates is the one Charles Atlas made a career out of trying to improve.

“The first thing I did when I moved to New York was immediately start going to the gym,” the designer John Bartlett said. That was in the long-ago 1980s. But the idea of bulking up now seems retro when musicians and taste arbiters like Devendra Banhart boast of having starved themselves in order to look good in clothes.

“The eye has changed,” Mr. Bartlett said. “Clothes now are tighter and tighter. Guys are younger and younger. Everyone is influenced by what Europe shows.”{Emphasis added.}


And then there's this:

Quote:
“I personally think that it’s the consumer that’s doing this, and fashion is just responding,” said Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People’s Revolution, a fashion branding and production company. “No one wants a beautiful women or a beautiful man anymore.”

In terms of image, the current preference is for beauty that is not fully evolved. “People are afraid to look over 21 or make any statement of what it means to be adult,” Ms. Cutrone said.


And this!

Quote:
For models like Demián Tkach, a 26-year-old Argentine who was recently discovered by the photographer Bruce Weber, the tightening tape measure may cut off a career.

Mr. Tkach said that when he came here from Mexico, where he had been working: “My agency asked me to lose some muscle. I lost a little bit to help them, because I understand the designers are not looking for a male image anymore. They’re looking for some kind of androgyne.”


What we have witnessed in our culture, and what we continue to see, is a flight from adulthood, and in addition, an acceptance of passivity and weakness. This is neoteny gone wild. The prevalence of bulimia and anorexia nervosa are manifestations of it.

Of course the more widely prevalent eating disorder, if such it be, is obesity. There are undoubtedly many reasons for that, too. But I once met a 400-pound young woman who told me she could not succeed with a diet because whenever her weight got down to 300 pounds, she felt she had become too attractive to men, and that frightened her. In her case, her obesity was a flight from adult sexuality. Despite my impression that there is less (scientific) to Freud than many people think, I find quite interesting his observation that to the unconscious mind, opposites are identical.
Jonathan Townsend
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Fashion as circus makes a kind of sense. Flight from adulthood makes a personal kind of sense when responsibility is not given with authority (notice no rites of passage beyond high school graduation).

There has been some talk of children getting "dressed" for school where peer pressure and consumption are also generating some backlash and a call for school uniforms - perhaps by Dior?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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balducci
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Quote:
On 2012-03-25 16:52, tommy wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZLeG1W5JQ4

You got one of those for the 2007 remake? Smile
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.
Woland
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Thank you, tommy. For some reason, those film clips made me think of Peter Weir's 1975 Picnic at Hanging Rock. A long, evocative commercial for corsets, white cotton dresses, lace, and black silk stockings. It seemed much more mysterious in the theater when I saw it, probably in 1979 or 1980, than it does now, on YouTube (I had to check). Ah well. But then there was (of course) the friendly group of women in the row just ahead of me who oohed and aahed as the girls were getting dressed during the title sequence, and audibly gasped with pleasure at the deshabillement of Anne-Louise Lambert at around 30 minutes 40 seconds into the film, here. At any rate, Gheorge Zamfir's music was magical.

But these girls, filmed 45 years ago, were rather willowy even then. The girls filmed at "St Trinian's" in the fifties and early sixties were fuller-figured, even in adolescence.

Remember Twiggy?
tommy
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Twiggy was simply magical and is the only model I can remember.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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