Fashion Week Backlash: Public Outcry Over Emaciated Models

Erin FetherstonNow that Fashion Week has ended in New York and London, I'm seeing one complaint come up repeatedly about the shows:

The models have gotten too thin.

Skinny models are nothing new, but the latest crop of girls contains a few who are positively uncomfortable to look at.

Check out Martyna Budna, for example, one of the current runway darlings. Looking at her bony shoulders and arms sends shivers down my spine.

And she's hardly the only one who seems to have a problem. Complaints also have been voiced this season about top models Hannah Hardy and Chloe Memisevic.

Despite the concerns, I worry it's going to take actual deaths in the industry for change to happen.


Liz Jones voiced her fears about the too-skinny runway models in the Daily Mail today, saying that audiences have become so accustomed to seeing skeletal models that they don't even realize they're watching a walking health crisis:

It is the drip, drip, drip effect, you see, when so many girls swim like matchsticks before your eyes, a death mask on the face of a teen becomes unremarkable.

And former Marie Claire editor Bonnie Fuller wrote in a post called "Aren't You Sick of Too Skinny Girls?" on The Huffington Post that between New York Fashion Week and the latest swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, "All week we've had to look at tight, taut tummys, stick-thin legs, arms barely bigger than insect tentacles, and perky perfect cleavage."

Meanwhile at Milan Fashion Week, which opened today, the problem of "too skinny girls" is actually being addressed. According to the Associated Press:

Behind the scenes, Milan's department of health is working with a team of "anti-anorexic sentinels" to monitor worryingly thin models in an attempt to rid the industry in Italy of a problem plaguing the fashion world.

"We have 10 volunteers who alert our attention to girls that are particularly thin or bordering on anorexia," Health Officer Giampaolo Landi di Chiavenna told AFP.

I understand wanting to see clothing on a body devoid of fat, but I agree with the critics: When I look at a model and see a mere skeleton covered in skin, I feel repulsed -- and even the clothing looks awful. A model that's too skinny actually detracts from the clothing because you simply can't stop staring at her bony legs and all-too-visible ribcage. Why this is being tolerated at all, I'll never know.

What do you think?


Image via Marc Stamas/Getty Images

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