I wish i could tie you up in my shoes
Make you feel unpretty too
I was told I was beautiful
But what does that mean to you

When I was seventeen, IceBaby and I absolutely loved TLC’s Unpretty- it was a fantastic song, with a saddening video that shook you up just a tad bit.

Flumesday has a witty take on this yahoo article on legislation in fashion. Basically some 21 year old model was insanely underweight; she died and all of a sudden society is waking up to the horrific beauty standards set by the fashion industry.

“Bronx Assemblyman Jose Rivera wants to create a state advisory board to recommend standards and guidelines for the employment of child performers and models under the age of 18 to prevent eating disorders.”

I read about fashion and fashion related news everyday. I know who Karl Lagerfeld hangs out with, what moronic statements Tyra Banks spews out and why Manolo Blahnik himself thinks it superfluous to own 80 pairs of shoes. I see a lot of debate on the issue of how distored beauty standards are causing rampant anorexia in teenagers.

The way I see it, the 21 year old weighing 88 pounds didn’t die of starvation. She died of stupidity. Starvation by choice, isn’t a disease like cancer- it is very much curable, I assure you. In fact allow me to demonstrate- Might I ask for a volunteer. Emaciated 18 year old comes up to the stage. I shove a ham and cheese sandwich into her mouth. And voila, she isn’t starving anymore.

Bulimia, anorexia are nervous disorders brought on by unnatural eating habits (or lack thereof) and the girls who put themselves through this need to have their judgements questioned severely. Of course one could point out that a 14 year old who is considering modelling as a profession isn’t exactly the posterchild for high IQ (one may think I am employing the “models are bimbos” stereotype when in fact, I am employing the “teens are stupid” stereotype). So I’m thinking a well-administered tight slap could do the trick. Whether that needs to be written into the constitution is an altogether different matter. Frankly, all the law would achieve is denying some thin girls of a source of livelihood- that hardly seems fair. It would have absolutely no impact on the depressed non-model teenager who sincerely believes that the boy she has a crush on thinks she’s unattractive and fat and therefore proceeds to hurl her insides into the toilet bowl.

I know I am sitting on a high pedestal made entirely of cheeseburgers and judging these girls like nobody’s business. But believe you me, I am no disgruntled, embittered fatty. I admit I feel a little sorry for them. I’ve read about Russian models who were quite literally starving in dire poverty before the modelling profession took them in. To say that that is ironic is a gross understatement.

This isn’t about mocking models. You’d be completely stupid if you scoffed at the likes of Gisele Bundchen or Adriana Lima for being skinny because let’s face it, they’re beautiful. That is besides the point. You have to choose to not be aggravated by the naked model covering herself with a bag. (On a sidenote, can you imagine how skinny you have to be if a little handbag can safely cover all your naughty bits? I would need five fucking bags and a suitcase) You have to know just how much the model/singer/actress-with-flailing-career was photoshopped- to the point of oblivion. You have to know that the girl modelling the size zero dress and advertising the anti-wrinkles cream is all of 15 years. I know I was goddamned skinny when I was 15 too.

Sometimes I think the industry is to blame for proliferating the idea of the rail-thin female. It is ridden with a sense of epic grandeur and blatantly goes against biology. The industry sees it fit to display their magnificent couture on really tall, really thin women because to them that seems to be best way to do so. (Not everyone is a visionary like John Galliano) (I love the man) But here’s the thing- fashion houses don’t sell clothes only in size zero. Nosiree. You can get big clothes and big shoes and big bags. These people don’t expect their customers to be rail-thin! So it all comes down to choice. I’m not going to put on an orange tutu and thigh-high pleather boots just as I am not about to starve myself.

If you’re wondering whether this is going anywhere, then no it isn’t. I can only say one thing. Starvation is stupid. Noone needs to be told to eat. If you know whether to walk on your legs or your hands, if you can touch your nose with your index finger, then you know that a sandwich deserves to be inside your gut, not regurgitated into your toilet. If noone told you that, it is because noone felt the need to.

I also read this today and it appears quite fitting,

Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, “No, thank you,” to dessert that night. And for what!- Erma Bombeck

P.S. If anyone asks, the orange tutu is MY idea and for the record it would look absolutely lovely and it would totally match my new orange leather wedges. Hmmm.. I wonder where I can find one..


10 thoughts on “Unpretty

  1. hey..not my first time here.. but the first time i am commenting..love the way u write..neways about this particular post.. all i can say is that we men HATE Pencil thin.. dont know why girls want to be super thin.. cos women are by default beautiful and look good no matter what..

  2. Awesome post! Hilarious and common-sensical in just the right proportions.I read an article in the NYT (I think) recently that had an interesting theory on why rail-thin is now in where once curvy types were. Apparently it turns out if you chart models’ proportions to the participation of women in the workforce, the graphs coincide exactly. Which was why back in the roaring twenties, thin models wearing manly suits and ties were hot, but immediately after the depression, when women just went back home because there weren’t any jobs, it was Marylin Monroe time. Basically, it depends on whether the men who run the fashion industry (and the men for whom real live women diet and dress) see women as equals (masculinise them) or as domestic divas (bring on the curves). There’s a profound observation just waiting to be made right there, but damned if I can put it in words. All I know is that thin models are a small price to pay for workplace equality… (and yes, I’m wilfully avoiding asking why there needs to be a prie in the first place. We just aren’t there yet, don’t you know it?)

  3. The funny thing is Jups, you know Posh Beckham who is like a size -4 or something – she has refused to have stick thin models to launch her fashion line as she doesn’t want to ‘promote body-image issues’ and the like and has gotten curvier aka ‘normaler’ women to model her clothes. It’s the way fashion goes – do we blame the models/young girls wanting to be thin or the industry that promotes it? I wonder if we saw curvier models on the catwalk in a mass assault whether women would start aspiring to be like that? Image is a choice and it’s a thin (excuse the pun) line between that choice and conforming, fantasy as portrayed on the catwalk and reality of everyday life.Tyra Banks is being called ‘fat’ after retiring from modeling and being told thing that she has no right to give aspiring models advice (on ANTM) as she is not of that same standard – she spoke out about it and said ‘that she doesn’t need to adhere to those model standards any more and it’s her experience that they should draw on rather than her body’. Heheh like the idea for the orange tutu as well…:P

  4. That is pretty simplistic thinking. While “anorexia nervosa” has a psychological component to it, it is very much a disease just as alcoholism and drug addiction are. The very fact that these people, mostly women, have lost the basic sense of self-preservation that requires enough consumption to survive, should signal that something is seriously wrong with their mental state and rational judgement. Just as we think of someone with bipolar disorder or serious depression as afflicted and not knowingly responsible for their misery. I think anyone would agree that the inability to stop oneself from starving and dying is pretty sad not stupid.

  5. RJ- What you said just melted my heart..Icas- Thanks Wendelin- That is so depressing.. although I dont buy these studies. I read one that proves taller women are paid more and lighter people are paid more (regardless of race i.e. a lighter black man may earn more than a darker brown man or some such).. Bah. What’s a short, “full-figured” girl like me gonna do in this big bad prejudiced world?Naveen- you’re right.. sigh.. but i type everyday and i just dont feel like publishingSilvara- Yeah I read abt Posh spice’s proclamation.. it’s quite laughable, especially since miss spice looks quite like a human lollipop. Tyra Banks is brave for showing up in that bathing suit, but a mildly-bloated supermodel should be the LAST person on earth talking about loving your body. It is insulting to my intelligence to that of any regular woman!Anon- Do you honestly believe these women have no clue that their nervous system is fucking up? And that refusing to eat just might be a clue? Notice how these models, starlets go about glorifying their “struggles” with anorexia/bulimia? Yeah, you’re a hero.Did you read about that astrochick who ran around america in a diaper?Of course something is wrong with their judgement. Of course it is sad. Stupidity is pretty sad.Oh and this is a cynical space with cynical observations. Given your knack for all-knowing comments, I thought you knew that already.

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