Fashion Industry And Anorexia

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Fashion Industry and Anorexia

Fashion Industry and Anorexia

Fashion Industry and Anorexia


The fashion industry's use of emaciated models and tiny clothing sizes is constantly coming under fire. The subsequent impact of the fashion industry's messages that its images convey to viewers has resulted in tense debate between health authorities and the media throughout the last decade. In 2008, the Rudd government announced the appointment of the National Body Image Advisory Group in response to public pressure. This group was established for the purpose of researching and providing the government with recommendations on tackling negative body image in society. The use of underweight models on the catwalk and the unrealistic digital enhancements of models' pictures are just some of the issues that have been focused on by the board. This has not only been a concern voiced by the general public, but also health organizations such as Eating Disorders Victoria.

Literature Review

Anorexia Nervosa a Psychological Disorder

Anorexia nervosa was first identified by physician William Gull in 1873 as an illness; it wasn't formally recognised as a mental disorder until 1980 by the American psychiatric association. In the publication The media and body image: If looks could kill, authors Wyke and Gunter state that Miss America models progressively grew smaller between 1960 and 1980.The Victorian and Adolescent Cohort study conducted in 2003 found that 8.8% of female adolescents had an eating disorder, along with one in 20 Australian women admitting to having an eating disorder, while one in four claimed they knew a sufferer. According to Beyond Blue fact sheet no. 42, anorexia nervosa is a psychological disorder that involves limiting food intake, over-exercising and distorted self body image.

Fashion Models as Role models

Russian born anorexia sufferer Aya (last name withheld), 21, said she was fascinated by the skinny models on the catwalk when she was a teenager. “Especially when you see models like Kate Moss, who are skinny and very popular you get that idea of consequence, as if you get skinny, you will be successful in life,” said Aya. She also said that being young, impressionable and having lower self esteem increased susceptibility to media images. “I think if you're exposed to all those commercials in magazines and stuff, you just question yourself."

The disease may start out innocently enough - with just harsh dieting, intense exercise, and/or the use of laxatives. Over time, however, the person's self image gets distorted. They always see themselves as too fat for success and continue the unhealthy behaviors.Anorexic models are common on catwalks where the pressure to fit into zero size outfits seems intense. As time goes on, an anorexic model may become very weak, develop a variety of health issues, and also show serious signs of depression. Eventually, anorexia nervosa can lead to death.

Digitally Distorted Images and Fillipa Hamillton

Recently in October 2009 there was a scandal involving Ralph Lauren magazine's digital alteration of a photo of fashion model Fillipa Hamillton. When Ralph Lauren released the distorted picture of Ms. Hamillton, she decided to publicly announce the reason ...
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