Vogue Pretends to Care

vogue, eating disorders, halle berry, photoshop

Extreme photoshopping on celebrities' faces does not send a "healthy" message to readers.

The fashion industry is once again pretending to be “doing” something about the fact that it has a penchant for using emaciated 15 year olds to represent women. This time it is Vogue magazine, and they have launched a pact that states they will no longer use unhealthy models or girls that are under the age of 16.

In theory, it is great that they are doing this. But in reality, I doubt it will make much of a difference. Most importantly, Vogue doesn’t appear to be doing this because they care or are interested, as all of the wording in this pact is vague and non-committal. Have a look at the six points:

“1. We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image.

“2. We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.

vogue, eating disorders, fashion photography, photoshop

If this girl had access to, and was eating "healthy food options," I doubt she'd be this thin.

“3. We will help to structure mentoring programs where more mature models are able to give advice and guidance to younger girls,…

“4. We will encourage producers to create healthy backstage working conditions, including healthy food options and a respect for privacy…

“5. We encourage designers to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes…

“6. We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.”

(Read the full regulations here.)

Words like “we will encourage…” “we will ask that…” and “we will not knowingly…” don’t sounds very serious, do they? It sounds like Vogue is trying to behave like they care, but aren’t willing to actually make any sacrifices. How do they intend on “encouraging” people? Anna Wintour is in the position where she could FORCE people to do things, but it doesn’t sound like this will be the case. The worst is “We encourage designers to consider the consequences…” (Number 5.) Asking someone to consider the consequences of something is not going to be effective, however REFUSING to photograph samples in size 0 would definitely promote change.

fashion photography, obesity, size zero, vogue, models

At least Rihanna isn't stick thin, but she looks like a plastic doll.

And the last one is the most laughable. What is a “message of a healthy body image”? Photoshopping people until they look like they are made of plastic? I think not. The problem here is not the 15 or 14 year old models, it is the fact that for the past 50 or so years, women are represented in magazines by skinny teenagers. It is going to take more than a silly 6 point pact to change this, and I don’t think Vogue have real good intentions here, I think they are doing this for appearances only (ah… the irony.)

But I guess the other thing to note is that I don’t really care that much. I do think that models who appear to be anorexic or are disgustingly thin are not attractive, but I do think that most of the current “top” models are very beautiful. I’m not overly concerned about the fact that we favour slim, young women in the fashion industry, I am used to it and it doesn’t bother me. What does annoy me is when magazines make vague, non-committal pacts to “try” and do things differently. If Vogue is serious about this, then they should DO things, not simply “encourage” them.

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  • http://highpointshoulder.tumblr.com/ HPS

    Yeah I’m with you this is all too vague to the point it doesn’t sound like anything at all.  All they have to say now is that they didn’t knowingly do anything wrong, aka a don’t ask don’t tell situation.  I’m pretty sure as long is Wintour is around skinny teen bitches, and plastic celebs will be the continued norm for Vogue.

  • http://isitthefirst.blogspot.com/ jessica

    riiiiight…. i’m sure the size 0 & 2 editors of vogue will “encourage designers to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes…” 

  • Greta

    I know that it all sounds like a bit much, but I’m on a board for teen girls that try to spread the message about how dangerous eating disorders can be and I know from talking face to face with some of these people, that some really do care. It may not make that huge of a difference but at least there’s a little bit of effort being put into it. Our goal really isn’t to try and change the fashion industry overnight, we just want girls all over the country or the world to understand what are and aren’t okay ways to treat their bodies. In the end it’s a personal decision, but I think people are trying to point out that being unhealthy can cost you a job.

  • AnaO

    Of course, not a word about racial diversity. So all we can hope for is that, among all the white 16-year-olds Vogue features, some will not have all of their ribs visible. Just half of them.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

     Agree, but its not just Wintour, its most of them.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

     Yes, at least there is a small effort. But I wish there would be a larger effort, hopefully, that will come eventually.