2010 has seen a surge in interest in challenging the fashion beauty standard. This year the dialogue isn't centered on racial diversity or age discrimination. Rather, folks are starting to wonder why models have to be so *#$% skinny. V magazine published a "Size Issue" depicting plus-sized models in fashion editorials, online pseudo-mag Vogue Curvy was launched, and model Crystal Renn smashed through the thick girls' proverbial glass ceiling. Marie Claire is another publication riding the size-sympathy wave and recently hired a plus-sized columnist.
"We try very hard in Marie Claire to cast models who aren't too thin," said EIC Joanna Coles in an interview with The Cut fashion blog. "It's sometimes difficult — occasionally we book people at the last minute and you can't always get what you want. But we're pretty good about it. I think the modeling thing is interesting, and I think people are waking up a bit more to the fact that women want to see slightly realer women."
But is this trend a harbinger for actual change, or just a flash in the pan? Further, is it a trend that "real" women actually want to see? The good PR response, as demonstrated by the above-mentioned magazines, is that it IS good to see models that closer resemble the janes we see in everyday life. However, cruising the comment section of your average blog or online article might portray some surprising attitudes.
For example, The Cut today reported a story about the 16-year old winner of "Australia's Next Top Model" who, at 120 lbs, was asked by show producers to lose weight. Though there are a few commenters that voiced concern, the majority of the comments are of the "tough titties" sort.
"It she wants to model that's what she's gonna have to do. There's no way around it. I'm all for fat acceptance but if you want the glamorous work......tough titties." - harlemgurl
"its not great buts it the reality. if they think she's a wee bit too big for australia, there's no chance in hell the US market would even consider her." - lovelula
"It's the modeling industry. Clothes just look better on thinner frames--has anyone ever wondered why we don't have size 8 mannequins?" - lenalovesyou2
"if she doesn't want to lose the lbs, there's another girl out there who will and will without complaining." - pastaface
"doesnt the fashion industry get it? if you want people to by more clothes, put the clothes on normal sized women." - johnnybgood7
"And people are surprised over the suicide rate of models." - saeda
Perhaps people secretly (are not so) want models to be impossibly thin because there's something about human nature that just loves to worship an attainable status. As the fashion industry becomes more democratized, standards are bound to change. But will this be one of them? Tell us what you think...