Size Zero Syndrome
France is known for fashion. To all models, male and female, Paris is nothing short of a dream of the lifetime. Every model around the world, irrespective of their nationality, dream of cat walking in the parade somewhere in the fashion shows in Paris. The fashion industry somehow has formulated certain criteria for an aspiring model. Male models are preferred to be sculptured bodied (sporting a 6 or 8 pack toned abs) while in the past few decades the code for female models has nonetheless being skinny. Skinny would not be a proper term to put it, perhaps ultra thin would be perfect.
Although racial discrimination is evident even today, with only a handful of dark skinned models having made into international stardom, the exploitation over the shape and size of the models have become more discriminatory than ever, lately. Over years in the fashion industry, a trend caught up that thin models were more preferred, perhaps by the modeling agencies, than others, which necessitated the models to shed their weight more and more so as to sustain in the field. Losing weight had in fact become a survival necessity at a point for them.
The women in the west are greatly influenced by the actress and models. Thus being thin had become a fashion statement and a criterion for being identified as beautiful. If the African kids have become ultra thin due to severe malnourishment scores of teens and youth, especially women, starved to attain their dream shape. This slowly becomes an obsession over time and they shrink to ultra thin from being thin. To Indians, for years, Bollywood has been the gateway of western fashion and right from the early eighties the Bollywood heroines became thinner and thinner, and in the past decades we saw some thinnest stars. This might be because the array of Beauty queens who directly landed into filmdom and theirs’ had set a new definition to beauty among Indian women.
The hour glass shape, though, had always been the dream of the women, only recently it had become an obsession. Years before most women weren’t compromising their health over their beauty. But the modernized culture had imposed a societal pressure among younger generation women lately, that they are even ready to look beautiful outside despite being losing their health in pursuit of achieving it. The craving for thin figure has severely affected the eating patterns of many youngsters; end up in physical weakness and psychological anxiety.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by not just loss of appetite but self-starvation, aiming at maintaining a thin figure. Over time this disorder abstain the patient from consuming food that ensures survival. People suffering from anorexia are extremely concerned about their weight and are always preoccupied about the calories consumed, their weight, and diet to be followed, exercise routines and the like. It’s a bitter truth models who dream of escalating to international stardom in their career end up with this awful disorder.
Though the health of the models and celebrities has been discussed for years, at the fashion industry level, only recently the debate gathered much of public attention. Isabelle Caro, a French model and actress, become a symbol of fight against anorexia nervosa after she posed for the controversial ‘No Aneroxia’ campaign. Also she became the gateway of understanding the disease and the psychological and biological effects of it on models in the fashion world when she appeared in the popular CBS’s ‘The Insider’ show. Her appearance in Channel 4’s show also took the discussion on the disease to public forum. She died in 2010 at the age of 28.
In recent years teens and even pre teens are becoming victims of this dangerous eating disorder, and the price paid for the toned body is too much- in extreme levels costing even life. A thin body /hour glass shape which is often considered by women as one of the defining terms of beauty is as much a beauty taboo as much the one that links fair skin with beauty.
In a more positive move towards fighting aneroxia France has recently become the third nation in the world to ban officially using ultra thin models in fashion shows in France. From now on the modeling agencies are prohibited from hiring female models with BMI less than 18by law, hence punishable with a hefty fine (as much as €75,000) and even a jail term of six months on violation.
Earlier Spain became the first nation to officially ban ultra skin models in 2007 in history, followed by Israel in 2010 imposing similar BMI rules and guidelines.