There's only one way to get the fashion tyrants to stop parading Auschwitz-thin models down runways. That's for young women to reject them as role models. Stop buying the clothes they peddle. Understand that a sales pitch is designed to put the other guy's hand in your pocket and that it's a lead you need not follow. Designers who hire the emaciated would toss them more quickly than last week's garbage were anorexia to lose its tonic as a revenue generator.
It's been three months since the fashion heroines (and heroes) who run Madrid's Fashington Week banned models whose body mass index falls shy of World Health Organization standards.
And it's been a month since the last of two Latin American models died due to complications from anorexia:
Last month, 21-year-old Brazilian Ana Carolina Reston died of kidney malfunction due to anorexia nervosa and bulimia, weighing just 88 pounds. Her diet consisted of only eating apples and tomatoes. In August, Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos died of a heart attack during a fashion show, reportedly after eating just lettuce leaves and Diet Coke for the three months before her death.
So now fashion's ruling nation, Italy, has issued a "National Manifesto of Self-Regulation" not only to respond to international concerns about anorexic models but also to give public-relations cover to fashion designers who insist on nonrecognition of the problem, like Stefano Gabbana, who told Women's Wear Daily, "Backstage we have food and I always see models eatingsometimes more than me."
But this problem would not exist if young women didn't cave in to advertising pressure to undereat, would it? As one who is deeply skeptical of sales pitches, I wonder how to pass that message along to today's media-saturated youth. Just because you see it on the Internet, or on TV or in magazines, that doesn't mean it's good for you.