Model Concentration Camps?

Crowds of posh individuals parading a cavalcade of scantly clad undernourished victims. Sound familiar?

HEALTH What took place in Germany and Poland during WWII was an atrocity—even by the standards of modern Germans. [1] It left such a dark stain on modern-day humanity that some, in an effort to soothe their consciences, deny the holocaust actually took place. [2] So why does the fashion industry, by and large, repeatedly reenact the incident with the public exhibition of anorexic models? As sub-zero sized runway models have struggled to squeeze into petite garments, some have been told that they are "too fat" to wear designer clothing. [3,4]

Anorexia nervosa is not limited to professionals striving for ideal fashion model weight. It affects a growing number of impressionable young girls emulating what is depicted in haut couture magazines. So what's wrong with being thin? Anorexia nervosa goes beyond petite. It's an eating disorder that involves an inability to stay at the minimum body weight considered healthy for the person's age and height. Persons with this disorder may have an intense fear of weight gain even when they are underweight. [5]

Though anorexic, I struggled to get in designer clothing despite my measurements being 27, 21, 27.5. —Inga R.

Some would argue that there is a difference between the unwilling starvation of millions [6] and the "voluntary" participation in a commercial industry. Yet the story coming from models willing to speak up is that they became enslaved to the extreme dieting in order to continue working. [4]

If the viewing of emaciated victims in concentration camps is disturbing, why is watching models with similar stature entertaining? Are attendees disconnected from reality? If, in the words of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Germans are 'filled with shame,' why are the consciences of anorexia-promoting fashion designers not troubled? Do they possess a warped sense of anatomical utopia?

Reversing The Trend

Effecting a change requires a systemwide overhaul. First, there needs to be more jobs offered to healthy-weight models. In recent years, an increasing number of thicker, fuller and rounder curved models are representing cosmetic lines, clothing and other products. It seems when they are too heavy for the runway, they can pose for magazine ads that have the advantage of retouching. [7] In a show of support, Vogue Italia featured three plus-size models on its June 2011 magazine cover. [8] Next, fashion show audiences must, as one voice, stop attending events that promote unhealthy body weight. To remain profitable, more designers will be forced to use models that represent realistic human form. Finally, those suffering from anorexia nervosa should receive appropriate treatment; they require proper nutrition and a support system to build self-esteem.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed Israel's parliament in March 2008 by saying "The Shoah (Hebrew word for Holocaust) fills us Germans with shame." [9]

Tags: deprivation, dietitian, eating disorders, exploited women, psychology, skinny

References
  1. Germany asks Israel's forgiveness over Holocaust. independent.co.uk
  2. Holocaust denial. wikipedia.org
  3. Are size zero models too thin for the catwalk? DailyMail.co.uk
  4. Exposed: How the fashion industry rejected anorexic Inga as 'too big'. mirror.co.uk
  5. Anorexia nervosa nih.gov
  6. Concentration Camps, 1933-1939. ushmm.org
  7. Image of ultra-thin Ralph Lauren model sparks outrage. shine.yahoo.com
  8. Vogue Italia Puts Three Plus-Size Models On June Cover. huffingtonpost.com
  9. In Israel, German leader cites Holocaust shame. msnbc.msn.com
  10. Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia. adam.about.net