The discussion around body image, fashion models and ‘real women’ is breaking wide open this month, with the Spring 2010 designer collections winding down, the Glamour magazine ‘real women’ spread hitting the newsstands and Lara Stone saying that she’s tired of being the ‘fat girl’.
We intend to walk a middle ground on this topic, because Anne of Carversville’s commitment to good health and solf-love is equal to our desire that women shake off the tyranny of super models in pursuit of being our Smart Sensuality selves.
The divinely sensual Lara Stone’s proclamation that she’s tired of being called the ‘curvy girl’ totally dismays me.
It’s not the case that Lara Stone can’t get modeling jobs. She is modeling’s ‘it’ girl, and the visible hope of making some progress around the notion that a model must have an unhealthy BMI of 16 to qualify.
I understand that most of us find Lara Stone ‘thin’ and we will never look like her. But this body is considered ‘curvy’ and ‘fleshy’ in the world of models.
Yesterday’s Jezebel called out this mid-September Daily Mail feature on the evolution of British women’s bodies in the last 60 years. America’s stats are very similar.
In a then and now photo, the Daily Mail writes: With measurements of 37-27-39, the average British woman in 1951 “was the classic hour-glass, not far off Hollywood standards.” But now “our hour-glass has rolled into a barrel-like 38-34-40.” Says Lambert, “our vital statistics don’t just carry implications for how we look - they are crucial to our health.”
Our perspective is different from Jezebel’s because I don’t agree with Jezebel’s dismissal of the health issues at stake here: British women’s life expectancy has risen by 10 years since the 50s, but Lambert’s message is clear: the average female body is unhealthy, and unattractive. By all rights, it seems, women should be filled with self-loathing.
I understand the spirit of the commentary but it reflects a “hear no evil; see no evil” response to weight gain that we don’t endorse. If the woman on the right is the new average body, that means countless women are heavier.
The improvement in global mortality rates — driven by infant mortality rate imrovements, as well as longevity — doesn’t mask the fact that just last week doctors announced major health declines by age 70 that are associated with moderate weight gains.
Once our doctor is onboard, we will take an official position on weight for women, but right now we’re sticking to the recommended BMI of 20-25. When women’s brains are atrophying due to obesity, we do ourselves NO favors, by dismissing all information about healthy bodies as a form of beauty-industry tyranny.
Bringing us full-circle on the topic, we are totally chagrined by Lara Stone’s announcement in Europe that she’s tired of feeling fat. Taking up pilates is a good thing, so if Stone turns to moderate exercise and not starvation, perhaps she’ll just develop a bit more muscle lust.
As for the evolution of our bodies, it is a topic of great concern. I spent all last evening researching our brain’s ‘reticular activating system’ or RAS. Our minds don’t have to be sponges soaking up every image in the fashion magazine.
With self-discipline sorely lacking in today’s world, we can say ‘no’ to beauty photos of emaciated women. We can train our brain to hate them, which just might upset the fashion industry and bring changes. Simultaneously, we can also program our brains to a vision of ourselves that is totally healthy and beautiful, with an acceptable range of medically-safe differences.
This should be every woman’s goal — taking control of her own vision of what’s beautiful and healthy, too, in an educated-consumer mindset. It’s about self-love and my focus is to understand why the same old rules aren’t working and never did. Anne
More Lara Stone:
Lara Stone Says: ‘If I Must’ to Keeping US Size 4 Body Anne of Carversville
Smart Sensuality Lara Stone in Steven Klein’s ‘Academy’ Anne of Carversville