Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Even Barbie Is Imperfect

With a body measurement like 39-18-33, it’s hard to believe that ANY woman would be considered to be fat. However, according to popular shoe designer, Christian Louboutin, Barbie’s ankles are "too fat" to wear his shoes. “Huh?” you might be asking. Because if skinny-minnie Barbie has cankles, then I must be obese!

We have all heard and debated about the impact that that the media plays in young girl’s and women’s self-perception. Many blame magazines for the fact that women NEVER seem to be accepting of their appearance. Well, one magazine has stepped up to help change that. Brigitte, Germany's most popular women's magazine, is banning professional models from its pages and replacing them with images of "real life.” Representatives said last week that they would now only publish photographs of "real women" after readers complained they could not identify with the models depicted. Hence, size zero models will no longer grace their pages, as only “normal figures” will be photographed.

Excellent!……right? Most women in the US are not a size 0, 2, 4, 6, …or 8. So, of course seeing a similar silhouette in the media is cause for celebration. However, a notable industry person has something to say about that! German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, has been outspoken in his disdain for showing “real sized women” in the media. In fact, he responded to the news that Brigitte magazine was banning thin models from its pages in favor of "real women" by saying that women who thought of models as bony or anorexic were fat and "chip-eating.” "No one wants to see curvy women," he was quoted as saying on the website of news magazine Focus. No one, that is, except for me and millions of other women. But according to Mr. Lagerfeld, the world of fashion is about "dreams and illusions.” Illusions of unattainable "perfection."

He’s not alone in his thinking, however, because Ralph Lauren has also come under fire for a recent controversy involving a young model. Filippa Hamilton, who has been a model for the designer for several years, was soooooooo Photo-shopped in a recent ad that she looked like a bobble head. According to reports, Lauren apologized for this ridiculously distorted image. Yet, Filippa was ultimately fired and released from her contract despite being 5 feet, 10 inches, 120 pounds….and a size 4. Yet the company claims she’s too fat to fit into their sample clothes. Ralph Lauren does admit that Hamilton was fired, explaining the termination came “as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us.” Filippa’s response to this is…“I think they owe American women an apology, a big apology; I’m very proud of what I look like, and I think a role model should look healthy.”

Hmmm….. I wish Filippa could speak directly into the heart and soul of all young people. Because according to US estimates from The National Institute of Mental Health, between 5% and 10% of girls and women (i.e. 5-10 million people), and 1 million boys and men suffer from eating disorders. Estimates suggest that as many as 15% of young women adopt unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about food.

Bingeing and purging, or complete refusal of food is common place for way to many. But what causes this? Is it the media? Is it social pressures? Well, although many are quick to point the finger at the media outlets, there’s reportedly more to it than that. In fact, there appears to be a definite correlation between physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse and the sufferers of eating disorders. According to studies, a relatively high percent report that they have suffered from some sort of abuse in their lives. With the stats indicating that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are molested before the age of eighteen………well you can just imagine how many may develop an eating disorder! (Please note that not everyone with an eating disorder has been abused).

This may help you if you fear that your child has an eating disorder. How many of these symptoms do you see in them?:

Eating tiny portions or refusing to eat
Intense fear of being fat
Distorted body image
Strenuous exercising (for more than an hour)
Hoarding and hiding food
Eating in secret
Disappearing after eating—often to the bathroom
Large changes in weight, both up and down
Social withdrawal
Hiding weight loss by wearing bulky clothes
Little concern over extreme weight loss
Menstrual irregularities—missing periods
Feeling cold all the time
Cuts and calluses across the top of finger Puffy face
Fine hair on body
Thinning of hair on head, dry and brittle hair

Please address any concerns if you see any of these symptoms in your child. Though they may not indicate an eating disorder, they should raise a red flag. Try not to make them feel bad by embarrassing them. Instead, let them know that you are concerned and want to help. Therapy is key! Eating disorders do not go away on their own. It requires emotional and behavioral interventions. With these treatments, healing will occur!

Happy Parenting,

1 comment:

  1. Great article! I saw model Filippa Hamilton on The Today Show. I can't believe she was fired for being a size 4! The photoshopped picture of her did not look good or healthy; I'm surprised someone authorized it's publication. She mentioned she wasn't sure if she would sue the company.

    Remember the era of the Super Models (Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Helena C.) who were always on the Versace runway? Wish we could see models like that now. They were all beautiful, curvaceous and healthy looking. I believe they were replaced with the "waif" models when Kate Moss gained popularity with her CK ads (early 90s).