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vogue hates teh skinny
June 17, 2009 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Vogue is now frequently "retouching" phptographs to make models look larger...
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist (73 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
A related link
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 1:55 PM on June 17, 2009


I remember reading somewhere that in Playboy and the like, there's a pretty strong inverse relationship between the strength of the economy and the size of models' breasts.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:56 PM on June 17, 2009


The supermodel Erin O’Connor described the stand by the editor of Britain’s most prominent fashion magazine as “a huge breakthrough”.

“The fact that Alexandra Shulman with her enormous influence has opened this conversation means that it will have a huge impact,”


Erin O'Connor appears to be a fan of NLP, as well.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 1:57 PM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Okay I guess I'm a bit extra-geek today but the real 'weird news' item on this page for me is noticing that the Times is using tinyurl... for their own links? (See Twitter box bottom right.)
posted by rokusan at 1:59 PM on June 17, 2009


I suspect the magic of RSS and media re-use is at work there.
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on June 17, 2009


Seems like they should just hire a tailor to let out the clothes designers send them.
posted by stavrogin at 2:11 PM on June 17, 2009


Seems like they should just hire a tailor to let out the clothes designers send them.

Yes, that would be way more economical than Photoshop.

Actually, if it is Vogue who is doing the photoshoots, perhaps they could just insist on larger models. I don't know how that whole system works, though, so maybe that's a ridiculous suggestion.
posted by The World Famous at 2:14 PM on June 17, 2009


Doesn't everybody use URL shorteners on Twitter? How is that weird?
posted by blucevalo at 2:15 PM on June 17, 2009


Why do they bother, I wonder? The "larger" models are still way smaller than your average woman so it seems kind of silly to make the effort to embiggen them.
posted by Never teh Bride at 2:17 PM on June 17, 2009


I think part of the problem is that they do hire the models they want, but then the samples the designers send them are too small for those models.
posted by lampoil at 2:19 PM on June 17, 2009


Yes, that would be way more economical than Photoshop.

From what I can tell, they're hiring models that are skinnier than they want to do the photo shoots because they're the only ones that can fit into the clothing the designers send them and then using photoshop to enlarge the models. So, instead of hiring models that are starving themselves dangerously thin and then hiding the fact that you're using them, Vogue could let out the clothes so they can use models that aren't going to have a heart attack from potassium deficiency at age 14.
posted by stavrogin at 2:19 PM on June 17, 2009


Is this is an attempt to really get down to the bottom of the problem or just a magazine editer passing the blame along to somebody else? I honestly don't know, but it seems a little bit of a cop out as Vogue is hardly powerless in this whole fucking mess.
posted by Sova at 2:21 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Without commenting on the opinion expressed in the 'a related link,' I will say that the slideshow is almost meaningless. The photos were self-selected, then further selected by the compiler. The subjects are in different kinds of clothing, posed in different ways, and photographed from different angles. Few of the photos give any sense of how close to one end or the other of a category the subjects are.

A project where the subjects are male and female, of various ages, spanning a full spectrum of BMIs, photographed in a set of standard poses, and wearing a standard outfit (e.g., shorts and a t-shirt) would give a much better subjective assessment of the meaningfulness of the categories.

Just to reiterate: I'm not commenting on the opinion or editorial stance of the content of the link, only the methodology.
posted by jedicus at 2:23 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Will they start photoshopping the Lanugo back in as well... yub yub!
posted by yeloson at 2:23 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see nothing about "retouching" or phptographs in the manual.

Is this a new feature announced for 5.3?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:23 PM on June 17, 2009


[expletive deleted]: Check the section on GD for all your built-in image processing library needs.
posted by jedicus at 2:30 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


As long as they continue to photoshop them to look like wrinkle-free Zemeckis-animated characters without shadows on their faces, I'm good.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:32 PM on June 17, 2009


Just spent 10 seconds looking at vogue.com. Feel dumber. Saw no models that didn't look underfed. Photoshop fail.
posted by gurple at 2:35 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vogue is hardly powerless in this whole fucking mess.

Isn't this an example of them using their power to address the mess?
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:43 PM on June 17, 2009


Seems like they should just hire a tailor to let out the clothes designers send them.

I don't know much about fashion designers, but I'm guessing that anything they send the magazines will not have enough extra fabric to "let out" a significant amount. And even if they did, I'd guess they're contractually barred from doing so - designer's "artistic integrity" and all.
posted by chundo at 2:43 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just spent 10 seconds looking at vogue.com. Feel dumber. Saw no models that didn't look underfed. Photoshop fail.

Um, how do you know they weren't thinner in reality? Having never met the model I mean. Maybe they took them from emaciated to underfed with their Photoshop magic. Just a thought.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 2:47 PM on June 17, 2009


Vogue could let out the clothes

We're not talking about catalogue work. I think usually, the dress that is sent to Vogue is the dress. The only one. I don't know how much seam allowance is built into those first-line garments but I don't think designers would appreciate Vogue ripping them up and sewing them back together.

Of course, if Vogue started ripping them up and sewing them back together, designers might start to get the hint that not every model is built like the one on the runway...
posted by muddgirl at 2:47 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Um, how do you know they weren't thinner in reality?

That is a really horrifying thought.
posted by gurple at 2:49 PM on June 17, 2009


The garments are typically sent to magazines six months before they appear in the shops and editors have no choice but to hire models that fit the clothes or fail to cover the latest collections from the leading designers.

If I were doing a photo shoot for Vogue in this situation, I would use mannequins only. No models. It's editorial, bitches! The only problem would be that a mannequin could not do the omg-serious-jumping shot that has been in seemingly every issue of Vogue that I've picked up over the past few years.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 2:58 PM on June 17, 2009


Are there any "before/after" photos? I'd like to see how big "bigger" really means.

The problem with "letting out" the clothes is that they are only on loan to Vogue. They have to return them to the designers when the shoots are over. Designers usually make one "sample" (maybe two, tops) to be used in all shoots/shows/etc. The models have to be super careful not to *breathe* on the clothes in a way that would damage them. So, they can't be "let out" to fit a larger model.

I know this from doing fashion shows with local designers as a model. The model is cast based on whether or not she can fit the clothes, not the other way around.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:00 PM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Of course, if Vogue started ripping them up and sewing them back together, designers might start to get the hint that not every model is built like the one on the runway...

Well, actually, they'd just take their business elsewhere and charge Vogue replacement fees on the clothes, which would then mean that Vogue would probably collapse under a giant weight of debt.

Not that this would be a bad thing, but the designers wouldn't exactly "take a hint."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:01 PM on June 17, 2009


stavrogin: "Yes, that would be way more economical than Photoshop.

From what I can tell, they're hiring models that are skinnier than they want to do the photo shoots because they're the only ones that can fit into the clothing the designers send them and then using photoshop to enlarge the models. So, instead of hiring models that are starving themselves dangerously thin and then hiding the fact that you're using them, Vogue could let out the clothes so they can use models that aren't going to have a heart attack from potassium deficiency at age 14.
"

chundo: "Seems like they should just hire a tailor to let out the clothes designers send them.

I don't know much about fashion designers, but I'm guessing that anything they send the magazines will not have enough extra fabric to "let out" a significant amount. And even if they did, I'd guess they're contractually barred from doing so - designer's "artistic integrity" and all.
"

which raises an interesting question in my mind:

how effective will this photoshopping be if the designers continue making clothes for extremely skinny models? what I mean is: you still have to be extremely skinny to be a model, apparently, even if they photoshop you to be larger. will this photoshopping start a movement that will then result in larger clothes for larger models? will this photoshopping result in declining magazine or ad sales, thereby sending vogue back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs? in other words: will this experiment demonstrate that the true power over female body image lies in the hands of the press, the designers, or a shopping public that could possibly be too accustomed to apparent extreme thinness to respond well to apparent less extreme thinness?

I'm inclined to think it's a combination of the three, obviously, but another way of putting it is "can one of these three ignite a movement without the explicit cooperation of the other two?"
posted by shmegegge at 3:02 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm for putting slightly bigger (less tiny) girls and women in the clothes and watching the seams split on the catwalk, esp. if it really is "the dress."
And Alex Shulman has real arms, i.e. a little bit of meat on the bones, in a good, Michelle way, of course.
posted by emhutchinson at 3:03 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Isn't this an example of them using their power to address the mess?

Yes, exactly.



Um, how do you know they weren't thinner in reality?

That is a really horrifying thought.


Now you're catching on.

If the designers are so enamored of the idea that models are just "hangers" for their clothes, why don't they just have actual hangers on track that goes up the runway and back? Because for most people, those models are seriously weird-looking.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:11 PM on June 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


I remember reading somewhere that in Playboy and the like, there's a pretty strong inverse relationship between the strength of the economy and the size of models' breasts.

That sounds pretty ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 3:16 PM on June 17, 2009


While I'm all for fashion magazines using more realistically-shaped women, I'd much rather for them to start using actual women, instead of girls who'd have a difficult time getting past even the most incompetent nightclub bouncer.

I really can't understand who they're trying to appeal to sometimes - women who think "wow, that would've looked great on me back when was an overprivileged rich kid playing dressups with mom's clothes"...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:18 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe in a few years we could switch to robot models. That would solve a lot of these problems. Plus it would be awesome.

Anyway, it would be nice to see before/after pictures. I don't really care about anything they wrote in the article, frankly. I'm just curious what this 'photoshop enlargement' actually looks like.
posted by delmoi at 3:19 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just curious what this 'photoshop enlargement' actually looks like.

Maybe they photoshop out vertical stripes, and replace them with horizontals? And black stockings are replaced with skintone. There are so many ways you can achieve the look you're after if you know what you're doing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:24 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


If the designers are so enamored of the idea that models are just "hangers" for their clothes

This idea is actually kindof new to me, but once someone told me that it might be that clothes lay better in some ways on flatter, thinner models, it went a long way in explaining to me why fashion industry has been involved in this crazy push to a size 0 social aesthetic, despite the fact that, yes, many of the models do look kindof strange. And it matches my experience: I do think more clothing looked better on me when I was slimmer myself.

But at the same time, it all seems so lazy... and in general, most one-off designer fashion I see looks crazy and self-indulgent to me even on an aesthetic level, rather than something most people would (or even could) actually wear.

I suppose there's always the argument that it's art and artists should make what they're driven to make, and that's a principle I'm often ready to defend. However, clothing seems like it should be different to me, like architecture, because of how closely it's connected with practical everyday concerns.

Well, actually, they'd just take their business elsewhere and charge Vogue replacement fees on the clothes, which would then mean that Vogue would probably collapse under a giant weight of debt.

This brings up a chicken and egg question. Are designers famous and influential because outlets like Vogue cover them, or are these outlets only in a position of influence because they're close to influential and famous designers?

Either way, if Vogue cared to do so (and if they're photoshopping, it seems like they might) I have to wonder if they couldn't simply find designers who like to do work in larger sizes and dedicate some portion of their coverage to highlighting that work. There's even an artistic argument that it'd be better than misrepresenting work done by those who prefer to focus on small sizes.

(I am so not fashion conscious -- potentially even fashion handicapped -- that I probably shouldn't be commenting on this topic lest I say something extremely silly or stupid. But hey, it's the Internet, my privilege, right?)
posted by weston at 3:31 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas: "While I'm all for fashion magazines using more realistically-shaped women, I'd much rather for them to start using actual women, instead of girls who'd have a difficult time getting past even the most incompetent nightclub bouncer.

I really can't understand who they're trying to appeal to sometimes - women who think "wow, that would've looked great on me back when was an overprivileged rich kid playing dressups with mom's clothes"...?
"

This is pure speculation, but I've always suspected that it's something similar to McDonald's goal of appealing to children: get them when they're young and you've got a customer for life, even if they don't have purchasing power yet.
posted by shmegegge at 3:32 PM on June 17, 2009


Well, actually, they'd just take their business elsewhere and charge Vogue replacement fees on the clothes, which would then mean that Vogue would probably collapse under a giant weight of debt.

Not that this would be a bad thing, but the designers wouldn't exactly "take a hint."


No, they would just take their advertising elsewhere, and Vogue would collapse from lack of revenue. Like any other print publication, Vogue is dependent on advertising revenue for survival. The big, expensive double-page-spreads at the front of the magazine are mostly bought by the big name designers. Refusing to photograph and show these designers is not really an option.

Uburovias, designers probably make more money from their diffusion lines and perfumes and handbags than from the clothes. The clothes merely exist to support the sales of cheaper products that are accessible to a wide range of consumers.
posted by girlgenius at 3:41 PM on June 17, 2009


The blog linked in another FPP today has an entry about this that includes one before/after. It took me a second to see it--look at the chest and the legs.

Frankly, if they can get them to send them a 2 or 4 instead of a 0, so that they can get at least to models that are very underweight instead of models that are showing ribs and knob knees, it's not exactly a huge blow for average sized women everywhere. But it may make a difference for the models themselves, for whom going from "dangerously thin" to just plain old "too thin" could actually allow them to stay alive and make a living at the same time.

Me, I'd like to see more people my size modeling clothes, not even as role models or for the good of all women or anything like that, but just so that I can see clothes that come in my size, on someone my size, so that I can know whether I might want to buy them. But that's not really Vogue's job. Not necessarily, anyway.
posted by lampoil at 3:47 PM on June 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Using larger models instead of photoshopping models to look larger would be great, but it would never happen. We would simply get images of larger models photoshopped to remove the effects of being larger: Folds erased and skin tightened, larger chests raised unnaturally high, waists taken in, and so on.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:57 PM on June 17, 2009


t took me a second to see it--look at the chest and the legs.

I think it's interesting that the effect is to create an image of a model that's super-skinny, but doesn't suffer from the drawbacks of being super-skinny, like the visible ribcage and concave thighs. Her actual body size hasn't changed much. (It looks like her waist was expanded some minimal amount, but it took some staring at the gaps between her waist and arms to come to that conclusion.)

I wouldn't call that photoshopping to make the model look larger; it's photoshopping to make the model look healthier, rather than of a closer-to-average size. They overlap a little bit, but not entirely.

I can't help but feel extremely ambivalent about it, because although it's nice that the result is slightly less promotion of the deathly thin aesthetic, it also seems like it's presenting that size as more "normal". Which it isn't, at all.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:07 PM on June 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


To be fair to clothing designers, I will still hate them for being conspicuous consumptionists even when they stop being sexist.
posted by DU at 4:13 PM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


So, instead of hiring models that are starving themselves dangerously thin and then hiding the fact that you're using them, Vogue could let out the clothes so they can use models that aren't going to have a heart attack from potassium deficiency at age 14.

From where did you get the idea that clothing is something that can simply be let out? Where does the extra fabric come from?
posted by jacquilynne at 4:23 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suppose there's always the argument that it's art and artists should make what they're driven to make, and that's a principle I'm often ready to defend. However, clothing seems like it should be different to me, like architecture, because of how closely it's connected with practical everyday concerns.

But some clothing does fit the practical mode. "High fashion" is basically pure art for clothes, I don't see the issue with that. Even 99% of thin women won't ever wear these clothes. They're simply not meant for practical purposes.

Not all size 0 women are starving themselves, however. I'm sure many models do, but it's not like there's no natural size 0 out there. My wife has been that size for a long time, she eats normally and her doctor says she's otherwise healthy (and it's really not easy for her to put on weight --- I wish I was so lucky).
posted by wildcrdj at 4:31 PM on June 17, 2009


designers probably make more money from their diffusion lines and perfumes and handbags than from the clothes. The clothes merely exist to support the sales of cheaper products that are accessible to a wide range of consumers.

Very true - there's a term for it that I think I read on Trendwatching.

That is, present a glamorous but inaccessible lifestyle, then allow Jody Public to buy into it by purchasing something within her means.

It's exactly the same sort of principle as the fact that marques like Ferrari & Lamborghini make far more money from the sale of licensed caps, keyrings and jackets (etc) than they ever do from the sale of cars.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:38 PM on June 17, 2009


My wife has been that size for a long time

But she's probably not also 5'8" or taller. I mean, maybe she is, I don't want to make assumptions. But I don't think it'd be a stretch to say that almost all women who are naturally size 0 are average height at most, while these models are, across the board, above average height.
posted by lampoil at 4:39 PM on June 17, 2009


I wouldn't call that photoshopping to make the model look larger; it's photoshopping to make the model look healthier, rather than of a closer-to-average size. They overlap a little bit, but not entirely.

Exactly. To be more explicit, this photo alteration is presenting as unreasonable an expectation of beauty as other magazine alterations do. Now, it's not enough to be thin; we have to be thin without the uncomfortable aspects of slenderness. Dress size 0 but with no visible bones. 100 lbs. with large boobs.

I honestly don't have a problem with thin models - it is possible to be 6' and naturally 120 lbs or so. But it's also true that some models have to starve themselves down to that weight. However, as a proponent of body positivity, I find "thin-shaming" to be as abhorrent of fat-shaming.
posted by muddgirl at 4:54 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I don't wanna tell you how to do your job, but could you make the model bigger?"
posted by weston at 4:57 PM on June 17, 2009


Oh my. That before/after picture... I want to give the after picture a kitten and a cheeseburger and the before picture a pile of kittens and then wrap her in a blanket and feed her an entire chicken.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:57 PM on June 17, 2009


But some clothing does fit the practical mode. "High fashion" is basically pure art for clothes, I don't see the issue with that. Even 99% of thin women won't ever wear these clothes. They're simply not meant for practical purposes.

That's a good point. Maybe the issue is how well this is understood vs whether the clothing and the models are misunderstood as ideals.
posted by weston at 4:59 PM on June 17, 2009


I want to give the after picture a kitten and a cheeseburger and the before picture a pile of kittens and then wrap her in a blanket and feed her an entire chicken.

That is exactly the kind of thin-shaming I was talking about. It's as ridiculous and insulting to look at her and assume she's not eating enough cheeseburgers as it is to look at fat old me and assume I'm eating too many cheeseburgers.
posted by muddgirl at 5:00 PM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not trying to thin-shame anyone.

I don't think it's ridiculous or insulting to think that someone who is paid to be thin and will be fired for not being able to fit into clothes that are, as mentioned in this article, too small for your average model to fit into is probably not eating cheeseburgers.

I've met plenty of naturally thin women who ate more in one sitting than I do in one day (literally). Most of the women I know who are naturally a size 0 have a very high metabolism and eat pretty much whatever they want pretty much constantly. They also look healthy. Thin, but healthy. They do not look frail. They do not look like they will break when I touch them. Pound for pound, they may be the same height/weight as these models, but they do not have the appearance of being starved because this is their natural size.

If models, many of whom are naturally thin, are being pressured into being even thinner to get bookings, it isn't a huge leap of doom to think "Gee, they're probably not eating very well if they have to fit into this dress that is three square inches of cloth that they couldn't have fit into last year at this time because they were modeling four square inch cloth designs."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:07 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's as ridiculous and insulting to look at her and assume she's not eating enough cheeseburgers as it is to look at fat old me and assume I'm eating too many cheeseburgers.

Don't be silly. There's no such thing as too many cheeseburgers.
posted by rokusan at 5:08 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, actually, they'd just take their business elsewhere and charge Vogue replacement fees on the clothes, which would then mean that Vogue would probably collapse under a giant weight of debt.

sorry, grapefruitmoon; i couldn't disagree with you more. vogue is essentially free publicity for the new ines, which is what makes the fashion houses their moolah. the designers can take their toys and go home, but they don't have many else to play who are in the league with vogue.

i never felt there was any talent or creativity in designing for stick-thin models. when i was at my lowest weight, i could wear almost anything & it looked good; now that i'm ... not at my lowest weight ... finding clothes that fit and look halfway decent is MUCH more difficult.

and delmoi: i can totally see this ... there's a pretty strong inverse relationship between the strength of the economy and the size of models' breasts. when times are tough, people have to be more realistic; i.e., leaner times = bigger breasts and, consequently, clothes because *real people* will be buying them; not people who are stuck in their money-buys-everything fantasy land.

and please note: it is women themselves who help to fuel this nonsense.
posted by msconduct at 5:09 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The model is getting paid to be thin, but some girl who is the same height and weight, who is active and eats healthy, will look at statements like "Eat a sandwich!" and assume that she is too skinny to be beautiful.

Again, I absolutely deplore practices in the fashion industry that encourage unhealthy eating habits. I despise the fact that the only person who looks like me in magazines of ANY type is Beth Ditto. But we risk going too far in the other direction when we focus on eating more instead of on the underlying causes of anorexic models.
posted by muddgirl at 5:13 PM on June 17, 2009


I KAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:43 PM on June 17, 2009


The model is getting paid to be thin, but some girl who is the same height and weight, who is active and eats healthy, will look at statements like "Eat a sandwich!" and assume that she is too skinny to be beautiful.

Yeah, I will probably stab the next person who says "No, no give HER the cake. She really needs it."

Fuck you, lady!
posted by liquorice at 5:46 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


But we risk going too far in the other direction when we focus on eating more instead of on the underlying causes of anorexic models.

Uh, did you not read my second comment? Wherein I posited some underlying causes for anorexia among models? Namely, getting fired if they don't lose weight?

I think you're a) mis-reading me and b) viewing the discussion through the filter of whatever your own issues are. We're all guilty of B at one time or another. As for A, please read my second comment again.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:53 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of people are putting words in my mouth when I said *I* wanted to give the model a cheeseburger.

I did not say she never ate a cheeseburger.

I did not say *she* needed the cheeseburger.

I did not say that the *solution* to the problem of possibly too-thin models was EAT MOAR.

Really. I just said I wanted to give her a cheeseburger. And a kitten. No one seems to notice the kitten, the blanket, or the entire chicken. Or the fact that this is tongue in cheek. On the internet.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:56 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, grapefruitmoon. It's just a joke. It's just my own issues clouding, what, my opinion?

I'm not accusing you of being a horrible person. I'm pointing out how a personal, individual statement plays into societies' fucked-up narrative that women have to be a certain way or else (and even if they are a certain way, it's not good enough). I think that analysis fits in with the content of this post and with the discourse on modeling and the fashion industry in general.
posted by muddgirl at 6:19 PM on June 17, 2009


There was a time when top models looked lik this. That'a Suzy Parker, if you're too young to recognize her, and top designers manage to provide clothes that fit. But I suspect that even houses like Chanel and Balanciaga understood that they were providing apparel as well as "art." I get the feeling that there's a rather large fashion disconnect these days.
posted by path at 6:19 PM on June 17, 2009


As a gay man who finds stocky guys attractive, I can only say...

where are the photos of men in this post?
posted by hippybear at 6:21 PM on June 17, 2009


I'm pointing out how a personal, individual statement plays into societies' fucked-up narrative that women have to be a certain way or else (and even if they are a certain way, it's not good enough).

Fair enough, I just think that extrapolating from this issue within the modeling world (which is in and of itself a total mind-fuck in terms of feminism, sizeism, etc.) out into life at-large in terms of pressures placed on women is enough to make anyone's head explode. For which they may nor may not want to consider eating a cheeseburger.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:21 PM on June 17, 2009


No one seems to notice the kitten, the blanket, or the entire chicken.

Oh, we hadn't even started on those parts.

What, she's so thin that she needs a blanket because her own body fat isn't enough to keep her warm?!?? And a kitten, too, to soak up some of the poor kitty's body heat, because she doesn't eat enough to keep her own blood warm?!?? And a whole chicken - as opposed to lean chicken meat - can only mean that you think she needs to eat all the fatty chicken skin, right?!??

I'm surprised you didn't cut out all the beating around the bush, and just say she should be strapped down & forced to receive massive injections of rich creamery butter straight into her stomach.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:37 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


mmm butter-boarding...

/drool
posted by supermedusa at 7:46 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Without commenting on the opinion expressed in the 'a related link,' I will say that the slideshow is almost meaningless.

That slideshow was never meant to be scientific. She's trying to make a point, and exaggerating a bit to make sure you get it.

Also, Vogue.com is the American edition. Alexandra Shulman is the editor of British Vogue.

I'm glad to see this happen, but we have a long way to go.

The thing that pisses me off most about super-tall, super-skinny models is that, as a shortie, I have no idea how something is going to look on me. Also, some clothing lines are made for heavier women, but they show them in on model-types all pinned in the back to fit them. I think they look good in the ad or catalog, go to the store all excited to try on the petite size, get the size that fits my shoulders, and find myself swimming in excess material around the torso.
posted by zinfandel at 8:12 PM on June 17, 2009


I think we're all missing the most relevant bit here- Vogue staffers can't keep any of the samples and wear them themselves anymore.
posted by fshgrl at 11:46 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are you suggesting that The Devil Wears Prada wasn't true to life?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:06 AM on June 18, 2009


The thing that pisses me off most about super-tall, super-skinny models is that, as a shortie, I have no idea how something is going to look on me.

As a "super-tall" but just regularly-thin woman, I can reassure you -- I have no idea how those clothes will look on me either. Mass-produced clothes are not cut or sewn the same way that couture clothes are, and many times, even the couture size 0 stuff is strategically pinned once on the models to make it look more form-fitting than it is in reality. When clothes shopping, I get problems with gaps too and very often have to retouch stuff. I've given up on ever finding a dress that fits me (which is seriously annoying when I try on cute ones, hoping they'll be the exception, but alas, 'tis not to be) and sew my own.

On that note -- as a general rule, clothes cannot be let out. (They can be taken in.) There are several reasons. Seam allowance (distance from raw fabric edge to seam) is usually about 1cm for professionally-made clothes. So if you have, say, a dress with seams on each side, you could perhaps let it out 1.5cm -- total! -- by getting dangerously close to the raw edge. Dangerous as in, that close to the edges, the fabric is weaker and the dress could literally fall apart. Removing the seams also carries an extremely good chance of damaging the fabric, not to mention ruining the look if it was cut so that patterns on the fabric would match up. Look at your own clothes' seams -- there isn't much to work with, and that's done on purpose, in order to save on fabric costs (smaller seam allowance = less fabric used). Plus all of that is assuming they used a straightforward seam -- something like a French seam, often used in couture, simply wouldn't be possible to let out without irreparably damaging the fabric.

As for the post subject, it's nice to see that a big fashion editor is listening to her public. I haven't read mainstream fashion mags in two decades, since they have little to no relevance to my reality. Apart from photos I catch online, all the models I see are in pattern books and sewing magazines, and the men and women in them come in a wide range of sizes. Some of them even look like me, and the clothes fit the same when I've sewed them! Such a breath of fresh air. (When they're real people as opposed to illustrated, anyway. Pattern-illustrated-people totally look like clothes hangers, must admit.)
posted by fraula at 5:07 AM on June 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


What if my cheeseburger was made out of kittens?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:36 AM on June 18, 2009


I have to say, I'm not really all that impressed that Vogue is "fattening up" their models with Photoshop. The problem with the fashion industry is that they have this weird need to identify The Perfect Figure (as if that were possible), and then exhibit all their clothes on the rare few people who happen to have The Perfect Figure, consciously and subconsciously instilling in the people of the world, through the huge variety of media, a burning desire to look exactly like the models. Everybody knows this is unrealistic, damaging, and not even a representation of what most people (when they really think about it) consider true beauty.

I guess I might give Vogue a few points for tying to downplay the idea that you must be absolutely rail-thin, because although there are naturally rail-thin people, most of us would be very sick if we looked that way. So maybe a few cases of anorexia will be staved off.

But overall? This just smells of another round of "no no, we changed our minds, THIS is the perfect way to be". Any convergence on one size and shape of person is just not that impressive in my book.

I grew up in this culture, and despite not having television as a child, never reading teen magazines, being informed and aware of body image issues from a very young age, being surrounded by healthy, confident people who always told me I looked wonderful just the way I was, and generally doing everything I could to purge myself of this twisted thinking... it found its way in to my mind. Of course, when I have thoughts along the lines of "I don't look enough like that model" I know they're not objectively true, and I know where they came from, and I can mostly ignore them. But this mental virus has infected so much of our culture that, as a culture, our thinking is very narrow. I that as a culture, we can't tell the difference between something that we naturally find beautiful (human beings DO have SOME sense of aesthetics) and something we've been told is beautiful, sexy, desirable, or correct. So, yeah, perhaps this is a good step, but most of the problems we suffer as consumers of media (no matter HOW hard we try not to be) are not going to be solved by the average model looking a little heavier. No matter how healthy the ideal, if there's just one ideal, we're back where we started. How about some variety?
posted by Cygnet at 8:59 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


then exhibit all their clothes on the rare few people who happen to have The Perfect Figure,

Well, yes and no. There definitely is a huge idealization of thin-ness, no question there, but the reason that clothes are exhibited on rail-thin models is that the lines of the clothes flow better on someone who is little more than a "clothes hanger." Thin models show off the clothes, whereas more normal sized models on the runway become more about the model than the clothes.

Remember: The model is chosen to fit the clothes, NOT the other way around.

The problem here is that designers have taken this to a level that is totally absurd where they really would do better to have robot clothes hangers walking on the runway so that we can stop pretending that we're talking about a human ideal and own up to the reality that they just don't want one ounce of body fat disturbing the draping effect of their fabrics.

The reason Vogue is "fattening them up" is to try and plug up the dike here: the models who were already thin are losing weight to fit into sample sizes that get smaller and smaller, which is then leading other women to feel that THEY have to lose weight, and we can't really do shit about the designers, but maybe we can make them LOOK better. It's damage control, plain and simple.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:58 PM on June 19, 2009


Mmm, I'm sure you're totally correct, grapefruitmoon. It's just that I consider the fashion designers, as well as the magazine owners, to be part of the fashion industry in this context. I do get a sense from this thread of how difficult it would be to convince the designers to start treating models like actual people, lest it interfere with the draping of their clothes, but I guess I don't really have much sympathy. I suppose I understand that Vogue can't show off XFANCYDESIGNER clothes without getting tiny models to fit them, but I think that means they have an ethical obligation NOT to show those clothes. Yeah, that would pretty much change the magazine completely. Which is exactly what I would like.
posted by Cygnet at 4:50 AM on June 20, 2009


I do get a sense from this thread of how difficult it would be to convince the designers to start treating models like actual people, lest it interfere with the draping of their clothes, but I guess I don't really have much sympathy

Oh, I've got no sympathy. I'm just putting it out there that the "ideal" here has come from the designer, not the other way around (which is the commonly held misperception).

Honestly, if a designer wants to make something that human flesh will interfere with, it should be put on a mannequin or a robot. If it's meant to be worn by a person, the artistic integrity of the designer's "vision" or whatever won't be messed up by putting it on A PERSON. Let's just be honest here, if we want clothes to be designed as art-objects, great! Stop putting them on people! If you're gonna use PEOPLE, well, then, start designing clothes that fit on them!

This is probably never going to happen.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:20 AM on June 20, 2009


Am I the only one who thinks this is a short-term stunt from Vogue?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:44 AM on June 20, 2009


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