Gorgeous blogger Tavi of Style Rookie recently posted a link to Washington Post fashion editor Robin Givhan’s column about the uproar du jour over thin models. The column, thankfully, didn’t use the expression “real women” (as in “real women have curves” and, presumably, non-curvy women must be imaginary) but the topic did remind me that I find the expression meaningless and overused. From now on, it is banned. As always, people who use words banned by me by virtue of my authority as Easily Annoyed Person will be Despensered.
I would also like to ban further manufactured outrage over the craptastic Photoshop work in a Ralph Lauren ad.
I don’t think the above disaster says anything about our society as a whole. All it says to me is that a couple of people probably lost their jobs for creating and then approving bad art. Anyone who saw this and thought, “I should look like that” instead of “Wow, someone really fucked up at Ralph Lauren!” is not in his or her right mind anyway, my friends. Such a person would already be crazy in the brain. In my experience, people who are crazy in the brain can turn anything into a problem. As Freud never said, “If it’s not one ad, it’s your mother.” So stop with the wailing and gnashing of teeth already.
Getting back to Robin Givhan, the portion of the column that Tavi highlighted wasn’t specifically about weight:
“It’s always a bit discombobulating when people raise their voices in anger because they’ve gotten wind that designers are making and selling $25,000 dresses. After all, it’s not as if the existence of a dress that costs as much as a car negates the availability of cute $25 frocks at Target. And it isn’t as though edicts have been issued that all women must now dress like one of the superheroes on Balenciaga’s runway.
For personal and sometimes tortured reasons — I can’t have it so no one else can! — observers declare that they just don’t understand the attraction of these strange and expensive clothes. That would be a fair argument if those same complainers lashed out at people who spend thousands of dollars on Redskins season tickets, vintage wines, first-edition books or midlife-crisis cars. But those industries don’t stir nearly as much ire from people who are uninterested in them.
Everyone has a passion that is lost on others.”
I was delighted by these words because they reminded me of my own 2007 post, “Why Does Buyer’s Guilt Focus on Fashion?” And, since I didn’t have a post prepared for today, I thought, “Hey, I could just repeat my post from 2007.”
CLICK HERE TO READ MY POST FROM 2007.
Thumbelina Fashionista says
Hallelujah for this post and the one from 2007, which I somehow missed. You said it perfectly, girlfriend. My mind is percolating now…
“Anyone who saw this and thought, “I should look like that” instead of “Wow, someone really fucked up at Ralph Lauren!” is not in his or her right mind anyway”
Also, I would like to point out that I too want to despenser people who say “real women” and “curvy” especially when they are referring to overweight people. No offense to overweight people (because I’m no skinny minnie myself) but just because you have more meat on your bones does not make you more real than a natural waif.
I am completely against the unbelievable standards set on models with regards to their weight, however, that does not mean that we should call them names yet give a glamorous title to someone who is equally unhealthy albeit in an opposite way.
K @ Blog Goggles says
Went back and read your column – loved it. It’s so true.
Then again, I totally do not understand my boyfriend’s obsession with boats (just like he doesn’t understand mine with shoes) so I’m probably just as guilty. Oops!
Oh gawd, ‘real style for real women’ must be the most hackneyed phrase ever in fashion. Ugh.
Prêt-à-Porter P says
i dont get the big fuss this thing made. the model herself said she wasnt even going to go public w/ the story until she saw the ad. i mean it is so obviously mutated, but however there are “consumers” out there that arent very bright.
great 2007 post!! 🙂
I completely understand your points, and I agree with you for the most part. However, I think a large part of the uproar is in regards to children. Yes, adults should see an ad like that and think, “WTF? Not humanly possible. Also, hilarious.” But children do not have the same capacity for logic. Their cognitive development doesn’t reach that level until well into high school. And sadly, young girls do feel pressure from images like these. Eating disorders are now common in the very young. Hang out with a group of middle schoolers, and you’re bound to hear them talk about dieting. 10% of eating disorders have an onset at 10 years old or younger; 33% report onset between the ages of 11-15. Those are children, and they cannot separate reality from what they see in a magazine or on a billboard. Maybe it’s not the responsibility of the fashion industry to fix that problem, but it’s difficult for anyone else to, and that’s a sad state of affairs for our society.