Topshop 'Anorexic' Model Is No Big Deal

Lindsay Mannering
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topshop model
This Topshop image replaced the previous
Topshop came under fire from eating-disorder support groups for using a contestable image of a super-skinny teen model on the website's homepage. The 18-year-old model Codie Young, who's rumored to be 5'10" and a size zero, looks rail thin in the Topshop ad images -- anorexia researchers propose that images like these could cause young girls to aspire to an unhealthy body type.

Topshop removed the controversial image and replaced it with a photo of Codie looking less gaunt in a red dress and yellow coat. While I think it's great that Topshop acknowledged that their first image made Codie look too thin, maybe the bigger issue here is that I didn't even notice. I'm so accustomed to seeing angular models that it didn't even faze me.

I am, and maybe you are, too, so used to seeing models who look like they're 6 feet tall and 90 pounds that I don't even realize it's wrong anymore. I'll notice a photoshop fail here and there when an arm goes missing or a waist is obliterated, but thinness? That's normal in the ads I see, even though it's not normal in real-life.

Topshop did the right thing by removing the image at issue, but I think it's probably more of a PR move and customer service angle than an admission that they published a photo that was out of fashion industry bounds.

And as you can see, Topshop's replacement photo isn't that much better. Why? Because Codie is your run-of-the-mill very thin fashion model. Models like her are ubiquitous. She still looks way underweight and of course skinnier than your average teen, and I dare say that the look in her eyes is one of confusion and hunger (I get that way around noon -- I start staring wide-eyed like a zombie on the search for any morsel of sustenance), but that doesn't make her unusual. Which is why I didn't see anything abnormal at first. And why it doesn't seem like a big deal.

Topshop is defending their model and says she's a healthy young woman. Codie denies she's anorexic and says she's naturally thin. Shocker.

Do you think Topshop's model is too thin?


Photo via topshop.com

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