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Adrienne

Most Runway Models Meet the BMI Criteria for Anorexia

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A magazine dedicated to plus-size fashion and models has sparked controversy with a feature claiming that most runway models meet the Body Mass Index criteria for anorexia.

Accompanied by a bold shoot that sees a nude plus-size model posing alongside a skinny 'straight-size' model, PLUS Model Magazine says it aims to encourage plus-size consumers to pressure retailers to better cater to them, and stop promoting a skinny ideal.

Size 12 (U.S.) model Katya Zharkova, 28, stars in the shoot, which has a powerful statistic accompanying each image.

 
Plus Model Magazine

Size matters: PLUS Model Magazine has shot size 12 Katya Zharkova pose with a 'straight-size' model to demonstrate the difference between them

 

 

One, printed alongside a photo of the Russian beauty holding a tape measure across her rear, reads: 'Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.'

Another states: 'Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned.

 

'The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction.'

And finally, further highlighting how poorly the fashion world caters to plus-size women, the magazine tells us: '50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, but most standard clothing outlets cater to sizes 14 or smaller.'

 

Body image: The Russian beauty poses with a tape measure around her rear alongside a statistic that shows how different models are from real women

In an accompanying editorial, the magazine's editor-in-chief, Madeline Figueroa-Jones, explains that the feature is a response to a fashion and beauty industry which continues to endorse a skinny ideal that is not always healthy and alienates a huge percentage of the market.

She writes: 'We are bombarded with weight-loss ads every single day, multiple times a day because it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on the fear of being fat.

'Not everyone is meant to be skinny, our bodies are beautiful and we are not talking about health here because not every skinny person is healthy.'

Ms Figueroa-Jones says consumers can no longer identify with models; the disparity between real woman and those that grace ad campaigns and the covers of magazines is to wide now.

 

'Small women cannot be marketed to with pictures of plus-size women, why are we expected to respond to pictures of small size 6 and 8 women?' she asks.

The PLUS Model Magazine feature has generated a mixed response from its readers though.

 

While some have praised the statements the shoot makes, others believe that positively endorsing a fuller figure is as dangerous as advocating a skinny one. 
 

One reader on the magazine's website comments: 'If this article is saying you should feel pretty at any size, fine. but don’t tell me you’re obese and healthy. We have a twisted sense of what healthy is in this country and an even more twisted sense of what people are allowed to say about it.'

Another adds: 'I don’t think the fashion world should support obesity, just as I don’t think it should support anorexia.'

The article has also generated an equal share of agreement, though. Reader Danae writes: 'We all women are brainwashed to believe that we are ugly and men will never look at us if we are not starving... We need more variety of healthy female body images.'

 

Read more here.

 

More photos are available on the link but I didn't post them as they showed more skin. IMO, I'm getting sick and tired of this from both ends. There is NO perfect body, No perfect size, and being skinnier or bigger doesn't neccesarily make you healthier.  Being healthy is what should be the focus.

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Great article find Adrienne!

I too am a bit tired of hearing about peoples body size, as an indicator of their health or beauty but I don't think it is going to stop anytime soon.

Women of all shapes and sizes are equally beautiful as long as they fit their body type and are healthy.

It is only a modern day thing that we like the thin wafe like look of starvation, it hasn't always been the case. Elizabethians, Victorians, The Renassance all loved a women with 'meat' on her bones, and womenly curves. (I think the starved look came to be popular in the 70s)

I guess this is something that changes with time, like a trend. It is so sad that young girls are being pressured to comprimise their health and well being to fit an image that is unrealistic, highly unattainable and impossible to keep. (Even anorexic models have to eat sometimes, and their weight will flactuate) It is unhealthy, quite deadly at that, and just sad. 

I am glad they have printed this article with photos of models from each end of the spectrum.

The "straight" model in this image looks like a child compared to the "plus" sized woman.

 

 

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it doesn't surprise me and i still don't understand who actually finds these thin girls so beautiful that there is such a big pressure one everyone else to look like them! it's crazy!

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I know I'm not petite.... but I never really considered than wearing a size 10 made me "plus sized" **sigh**

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I have quite a bit to say about this article. While I certainly agree with the overall message that companies need to cater to real women, real women come in ALL shapes and sizes. 

The facts in this article are HIGHLY distorted.

 

First of all if the ad has so much merit, why aren't they providing each models Bmi number? I will bet you money that the thin models Bmi is healthier than the plus sized models. 

 

"Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman, today she weighs 23% less."

 

What they are not telling you is that the big reason for that drastic change is not because of models getting thinner, but because of the ridiculous obesity rate making the average woman larger in comparison to 20 years ago. 

 

The obesity rate per state 20 years ago                                                                            Compared to the most recent year of data 2010

map8.jpg map26.jpg

 

Secondly stating that most models meet the standard criteria for anorexia sounds nice in writing, but its a gross misuse of terminology,

 

 

Anorexia, or anorexia nervosa, is characterized by an intense refusal to maintain a normal body weight-for-height. For adults, this USUALLY means that the individual has a body mass index, or BMI, less than 18.5 or that the individual is less than 85 percent of ideal body weight. This means they can be MONITORED for anorexia, but does not mean that they in fact are anorexic.

 

According to the World Health Organization, normal weight is considered to be a BMI of 18.5 to 24.99. A BMI of 17 to 18.49 is consider to be mild thinness, 16 to 16.99 is considered to be moderate thinness, and less than 16 is considered to be severe thinness. Because anorexia is defined as having a below normal body weight for height, a BMI below 18.5 would meet the criteria for anorexia.

 

 

OK so lets run some numbers and see what that means on a real woman Let's just say the average model is 5'8". In order for her BMI to be considered the Normal weight range she would need to weigh 122lbs. Drop that weight by just 1 lb, which by bmi standards is only considered to be mild thinness and she falls under the category of testable for anorexia. In order for her to be categorized into the severely underweight category she would need to weigh less than 102lbs. That's a TWENTY pound weight difference.   That means you do NOT have to be unhealthy or severely underweight, hell you can even just be "mildly thin" to fall into the category of testable for anorexia. are aren't almost ALL models "mildly thin"? doh.gif   One of the reasons this personally bothers me is because I am someone who is very thin naturally and have dealt with societies warped views as to what a healthy woman should look like. Growing up everyone referred to me as "Amberexic" because of my appearance, and I've felt first hand that the pressure to look "normal" is not just placed on overweight girls.   I ran my Bmi measurements to help show how wrong the numbers are.   I am 5'2" and weigh 87 lbs and am 100% healthy at that weight. that makes my Bmi 15.91 which is in the severely underweight category.   Sorry in advance for the stupid looking halloween photo, but I ts the only body shot i have. I wanted to find a picture that accurately depicts that not all girls who are by the numbers thin look anorexic or are unhealthy   227186_506063939555_290400957_292983_8528_n.jpg   I still have curves and you dont see my ribs protruding out of my body like these ads are trying suggest. And I could gain 14 lbs and STILL be in that "anorexic" category.   The shock value models that they are trying to suggest likely have Bmi's well below mine. A girl who is 9 inches taller than myself should not weigh the same as me, but in order for her to look like this pic below, they would need to. THAT is what true anorexia looks like. It's a disease that kills people, not a term to describe thin women   03-239.jpg     And my final thought is that this ad is not acknowledging that many high end designers and most major fashion shows now by law require models to maintain a certain bmi of 18 or else they cannot walk in the shows. Thats half a point below the average bmi and obviously all these "mildly thin" models are still walking therefore obviously fall into the healthy category.    Sorry for the long rant, but it hits home to me that people don't realize that judgement and misunderstanding fall onto both sides. 30% of americans are OBESE, not overweight with a Bmi over 30  (5 Whole points higher than normal), yet girls with Bmi's less than 1 point under normal are pegged as anorexic and unhealthy. I'll never get it    

 

 

 

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First and foremost, BMI is a greatly outdated form of body measurement. It is a straight height = weight formula and that is where it is incredibly flawed. 

 

It does not take hair, organs or bone structure into the equation.  I am 5' 2" and have a fairly broad body structure, my shoulder span alone is 40 inches (Just had my measurements taken yesterday for a custom dress which is why I know this). Another woman who is the same height can be more petite and yet, according to the BMI index, we should weight the same.

 

Anyone who wants to get a true measurment should look into getting a caliper testing or a water test. That will give you a much more accurate reading for *your* body.

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I've never liked the BMI calculator. I think it's highly inaccurate.

Heck, I am 6.5 months pregnant and my BMI is still below 24.99. I am very healthy and at an ideal weight for being this far along.

 

Amber you don't look anorexic at all, you were probably called that by jealous people. You look very healthy and not starved.

You look to be an ideal weight for your body type.

People can be so mean and insensitve growing up.

Calling thinner girls (and guys) anorexic, manorexic < I hate that word....is just as hurtful as calling "plus" size girls heavy or big. Why can't we all just except the variety of body types and be happy, proud and healthy. Name calling can do so much damage to youth (and adults)

 

I thought that runway modeling companies and modeling agencies were trying to change their standards to include healthier body images. I may be wrong but I thought I read this awhile back.

 

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Wow that definitely help put it into perspective that your that far along and still in a completely healthy range.

I know I have seen numerous articles about models being turned away from shows because they did not meet minimum Bmi requirements. the hope was to discourage last minute binge dieting before shows.

 

I know I personally went to school with a ton of gorgeous tall lanky, thin girls who were shaped that way naturally. You cannot assume someone has a deadly mental and physical disease just because they are thin. Anorexia can be diagnosed just from dangerous dieting, low caloric intake, and unhealthy avoidance of food. Someone can be 500 lbs and have anorexia....it is an eating disorder, not a thin person disorder. Saying that every thin person is in the category to be tested for anorexia is the same as saying every overweight person falls into the category for diabetes testing. Not every "fat" person is a diabetic waiting to have a heart attack, just as not every thin person is on the brink of death from starvation.

 

This is just MY personal opinion i am not saying it is correct or trying to stir the pot, But as Americans we are going through a SERIOUS obesity epidemic. 30% of us are OBESE. That is not being a little chunky, a little naturally curvy but to the point of serious medical issues. While I do believe women should feel and be treated as beautiful at every size, I do not feel like our growing waistlines should be encouraged or flaunted as being ideal anymore than girls should feel pressured to look like a size 0 or fit into the childrens clothing sections. 

I hear a lot of complaints that many mainstream stores only go up to a size 18/20 and that the majority of women are bigger than that. Just because that is true right now, does not mean that is really healthy. Like I said you cannot judge someones overall health based on appearance, but being that size without a doubt raises your risk for a multitude of health issues. 

The measurements for a size 20:

45 in bust

38 in waist

48 inch hip

The probability of a woman having those measurements in a healthy manner with a normal percentage of body fat and muscle is very rare. Even notorious curvy pin up girls like Marilyn Monroe with measurement of 36-23-37 would fall into a size 4 waist, size 8/10 hip....small in comparison to our average woman today due to the obesity rates.

Again these are just my opinions, but I feel like with what our country is going through we should be promoting HEALTHY living....good diet, exercise, and body image. Girls who are encouraging women to stay overweight to prove a point about whats beautiful are just as guilty as women telling girls to be a size 0 regardless of the health risks. 

 

 

 

Originally Posted by katana View Post

I've never liked the BMI calculator. I think it's highly inaccurate.

Heck, I am 6.5 months pregnant and my BMI is still below 24.99. I am very healthy and at an ideal weight for being this far along.

 

Amber you don't look anorexic at all, you were probably called that by jealous people. You look very healthy and not starved.

You look to be an ideal weight for your body type.

People can be so mean and insensitve growing up.

Calling thinner girls (and guys) anorexic, manorexic < I hate that word....is just as hurtful as calling "plus" size girls heavy or big. Why can't we all just except the variety of body types and be happy, proud and healthy. Name calling can do so much damage to youth (and adults)

 

I thought that runway modeling companies and modeling agencies were trying to change their standards to include healthier body images. I may be wrong but I thought I read this awhile back.

 



 

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I definitely agree that we should be promoting a healthy body image as opposed to a certain size.

Western culture (and other places in the world) are absolutely having a problem with obesity right now.

 

 

"Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman, today she weighs 23% less."

 

What they are not telling you is that the big reason for that drastic change is not because of models getting thinner, but because of the ridiculous obesity rate making the average woman larger in comparison to 20 years ago.<<< That was my thought exactly upon reading the above quote.

 

I don't think there are many groups that are encouraging women to stay obese or plus sized, but their focus should definitely be on health not the scale.

 

 

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I guess I just meant more of the "were big and beautiful" attitude I've seen circulating and in magazines more frequently. I'd feel 100% behind it if these women were reporting that their cholesterol, heart health and all were given a thumbs up by their doctor, but the majority are more focused on outward appearance than inward health. 

 

I really appreciate magazines like Self, who have "health" stories on women trying to become THEIR healthiest self. Sometimes you will see a woman who is 30 lbs overweight, loses 5 (but the right 5 lbs) through healthy eating and exercise and her before and after vitals are INSANELY improved. She's still gorgeous and curvy, but she has her health in check.

I just fear due to the obesity rates more women take for granted that just because 1/3 women physically look like her she must be "normal" and have no cause for concern about her health. And thats 1/3 women being obese, that's not even included the large majority that are overweight.

 

At least with the groups of people I know I hear girls say they think its nice to not be "the fat girl" anymore because the majority of people look the way they do. I recently went to mini high school reunion with about 16 girls (friends brought friends) and i was the ONLY one besides one other girl who was not obviously obese. That kind of shocked me that all the sudden I'm the minority...I'm the "skinny witch" as they called me lol

 

Actually its really weird that this just happened, but my sister in law got married 2 months ago and wants to get her health in order. She's currently a size 20, the biggest size most retailers carry (and the one everyone wants expanded) and to me looks very much like the average sized woman I see around. this is a picture of her on her wedding day with me, wearing the ONLY dress davids bridal had in stock in a size 20 (they won a wedding she had to buy a dress in 3 days)

391379_553402697305_290401363_1182705_1078484824_n.jpg

 

As you can see she's obviously gorgeous and at the time was pro "why the hell does no one carry bigger sizes?". She deems herself a little chunky, but proportionate at 230 lbs, and to the eye she's not someone youd call very large.

Well today she had her doctors appointment and just told me she is NINETY pounds overweight....that is my 100% of my ENTIRE body weight added onto her in her in fat. I don't think most women realize that their frames are actually smaller than they think, and there is a difference between having healthy curves, boobs, hips and having an excessive amount of fat on an otherwise small skeletal structure. Like I said I dont think anyone has a size 20 measurement purely in bone structure and healthy weight. 

 

I just wish more women would take it seriously and stop with the "plus sized and proud" thing and focus more on being "real, healthy women of all shapes and sizes". again just my opinion

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Originally Posted by katana View Post

 

I definitely agree that we should be promoting a healthy body image as opposed to a certain size.

Western culture (and other places in the world) are absolutely having a problem with obesity right now.

 

 

"Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman, today she weighs 23% less."

 

What they are not telling you is that the big reason for that drastic change is not because of models getting thinner, but because of the ridiculous obesity rate making the average woman larger in comparison to 20 years ago.<<< That was my thought exactly upon reading the above quote.

 

I don't think there are many groups that are encouraging women to stay obese or plus sized, but their focus should definitely be on health not the scale.

 

 

 

This isn't 100% accurate either.  Marilyn Manroe, who was a very beautiful woman was a size 16 in her time.  Today that roughly translates to a size 12.

 

Good luck being a model being a size 12.

 

It's not all because of the obesity rate and its not all about models becoming thinner. Its both.

 

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Originally Posted by Pancua View Post

 

 

This isn't 100% accurate either.  Marilyn Manroe, who was a very beautiful woman was a size 16 in her time.  Today that roughly translates to a size 12.

 

Good luck being a model being a size 12.

 

It's not all because of the obesity rate and its not all about models becoming thinner. Its both.

 

 

I just went by her measurements because each company has a different idea of what a size means. Hell I wear both size 1 and size 11 jeans depending on the brand. 

her waist was 23 inches.....that is TINY by any standard and not a 12 in todays society, closer to a 4

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Originally Posted by Amber Blevins View Post

 

 

 

I just went by her measurements because each company has a different idea of what a size means. Hell I wear both size 1 and size 11 jeans depending on the brand. 

her waist was 23 inches.....that is TINY by any standard and not a 12 in todays society, closer to a 4

 

Sorry but you cannot go by her waist size for the simple fact that one of her most unique characteristics was her extreme hourglass shape.

 

Diane von Furstenberg has even stated, on several interviews, how surprised she was that a size 12/14 go to a size 8 in the 25 years she's been in the clothing business. I don't think it's any one culprit.

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Originally Posted by Pancua View Post

 

 

Sorry but you cannot go by her waist size for the simple fact that one of her most unique characteristics was her extreme hourglass shape.

 

Her measurements were 36-23-37. None of those measurements correspond with a size 12. Her largest measurement is size 10 bust 8 at the hip with a size 0 waist. 

 

PopFur_size_chart.gif

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Originally Posted by Amber Blevins View Post

 

 

 

Her measurements were 36-23-37. None of those measurements correspond with a size 12. Her largest measurement is size 10 bust 8 at the hip with a size 0 waist. 

 

PopFur_size_chart.gif

 

A size 10 in whose design? Could be a size 12 as you yourself pointed out earlier since everyone designs differently.

 

My whole point in this is that its not just the models, its not just the obesity. I said all I am going to on this.

 

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Originally Posted by Pancua View Post

 

 

A size 10 in whose design? Could be a size 12 as you yourself pointed out earlier since everyone designs differently.

 

My whole point in this is that its not just the models, its not just the obesity. I said all I am going to on this.

 

 

these are generally accepted conversion charts that arent brand specific. its how you truly identify someones real size, which could vary drastically brand to brand. 

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F the fat girls! They don't deserve to see the clothing that they will buy and wear marketed on girls that look like them because it's unhealthy to promote that image! They should constantly be pounded with images of thin healthier woman and it should be harder for them to find clothing that fits them.  If we continuously remind them of just how unhealthy and unattractive they are, it will make them want to lose weight and become healthier. 

 

And how dare they be proud of their unhealthy bodies and attempt to have decent self esteem before they thin down to a healthy standard! The nerve!

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total newb here, but I just wanted to add in that there's been a decent little dent in research that's showing that both urban and wild animals are showing a pretty startling weight gain across the board as well.  

 

I realize that was a total digression from what the original discussion was about lol.  I just wanted to point out that there are others factors than diet and exercise working against society. 

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Originally Posted by SarahNerd View Post

 

F the fat girls! They don't deserve to see the clothing that they will buy and wear marketed on girls that look like them because it's unhealthy to promote that image! They should constantly be pounded with images of thin healthier woman and it should be harder for them to find clothing that fits them.  If we continuously remind them of just how unhealthy and unattractive they are, it will make them want to lose weight and become healthier. 

 

And how dare they be proud of their unhealthy bodies and attempt to have decent self esteem before they thin down to a healthy standard! The nerve!

 

Rigth? not to mention that those images women are getting pounded with are photoshopped all to hell to begin with.  

 

and God forbid you're fat AND poor.  That's the makings of bootstrapper rant right there!  lol.

 

 

I'll totally concede that I don't know much about the board culture here, but in all my days on the internets there are a few discussion that never end well.  and this is one of them.   

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Originally Posted by tulipity View Post

 

 

 

Rigth? not to mention that those images women are getting pounded with are photoshopped all to hell to begin with.  

 

and God forbid you're fat AND poor.  That's the makings of bootstrapper rant right there!  lol.

 

 

I'll totally concede that I don't know much about the board culture here, but in all my days on the internets there are a few discussion that never end well.  and this is one of them.   

Yea I've been in quite a few of them myself but still haven't learned to stay away. 

 

 

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Originally Posted by SarahNerd View Post

 

Yea I've been in quite a few of them myself but still haven't learned to stay away. 

 

 

 

That's why I stated my peace and walked away.  Even if I hadn't, I doubt anyone here could get as uppity as some of the characters you and I have watched on that other board. :D

 

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And I may be opening a whole new can of worms here, but being called too thin doesn't carry anywhere near the same bad stigma or pressure to be "normal" as being obese does.

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Originally Posted by SarahNerd View Post

 

F the fat girls! They don't deserve to see the clothing that they will buy and wear marketed on girls that look like them because it's unhealthy to promote that image! They should constantly be pounded with images of thin healthier woman and it should be harder for them to find clothing that fits them.  If we continuously remind them of just how unhealthy and unattractive they are, it will make them want to lose weight and become healthier. 

 

And how dare they be proud of their unhealthy bodies and attempt to have decent self esteem before they thin down to a healthy standard! The nerve!

 

I don't think anyone said clothing should be marketed on "thin" women. Healthy women yes, which come in ALL shapes and sizes. The ads out now a days are unrealistic and do absolutely promote poor body image for all women. We should be focused on being happy any healthy as a society.

the fact is we have serious obesity issues....1/3 women are obsese and it doesnt need to be glorified, we need to try and change it. that does NOT mean turning every "fat" girl into a waif, it means getting their weight to level manageable and healthy for THEM so they dont die 20 years prematurely. That has nothing to do with clothing sizes or beauty marketing, it has to do with quality and length of life. I personally do not think we should be promoting "obesity" as an ideal anymore than an unhealthy image of being rail thin...that is very different from a gorgeous curvy girl with a few extra pounds on her that is healthy inside and out. I for one WISH i had some real curves as I have the body of a 12 year old girl >.<

 

The majority of my family is dead due to problems related to obesity. every grandparent, aunt, uncle, 2 cousins, even my step brother died from causes directly related to being morbidly overweight. If measures had been taken for them to have a wake up call instead of being told to be "proud" of their weight then they may not be in coffins right now. Its far past just appearances and it honestly does kill people. 

 

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