I wanted to follow up on the post I did about fashion retailers using models who are representative of all body types. Some of the comments I received were very positive and supportive of this notion…others were somewhat apathetic to the situation. Basically saying…the fashion industry is the way it is and there’s really nothing that can be done to change this.
Some of these comments included:
“I’ve worked in fashion for 15 years and models have always been thin. Everyone is making such a big deal about it right now because the fact is, the population is getting fatter. We go around screaming “she is too thin!” but no one says “you are too fat” if you are overweight or obese. The industry hasn’t changed that much, but we are using it as a scapegoat to distract us from the fact that obesity is a HUGE problem (pardon the pun.)
When you were 17 (I am presuming you are 30+?) were you unhappy about a part of your body? Who isn’t? My friend works in eating disorders and says there isn’t actually a huge rise in anorexia/bulimia, etc… We are just making a big deal out of it.”
“When you sell anything you are selling to your target audience for sure, but you are also showing the items in the best possible light. If clothes on plus sized models sold better than clothes on skinnier models, you better believe that every single retailer in the world would be doing it. They all market in the same way because it brings in the most sales and at the end of the day that is what business is about.”
First off, regardless of whether or not there has been an increase in eating disorders, I think it is a GOOD thing that we are “making a big deal out of it.” Whether it is starving yourself or eating too much and unhealthily — it is important to realize that we have a generation of kids that have a really, really messed up relationship with food and, subsequently, their bodies. As a mother, I think this is a BIG DEAL (read my post about my five year old’s truly f*#%ed up concept of what calories are).
Secondly, yes, you do sell to your target market. But, there is a movement within that target market for change. I was so encouraged to see the video blog below by a young girl speaking out about the way she and her peers are marketed to. I don’t think that we give adolescents enough credit. They do think very critically about things and are pushing back. Shrugging and saying, “oh well, that’s the way it’s always been,” is getting kind of old…and ignorant.