Erin Proctor’s Senior Project

Hey Everybody, every year I mentor a senior doing there senior project on photography. This year, I was proud to mentor Erin Proctor. Erin put in 15 hours of work with me. She did a baby session with me, then she worked sports with us, and then came and worked the Blue Ridge Elementary Valentine Dance with us. She also brought one of her friends to the studio and we did a conceptual shoot. Here is a photo we took during that session:

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Of course, Erin was behind the camera on this one. Here she is with her friend:

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Here is Erin’s Paper on her top-Photography-Models and Body Image.

Erin Proctor

Mrs. Hinner

LNG 341

20 November 2013

Modeling Industry Standards and Body Image

            From the time a person wakes up to the time they go to sleep, he or she sees more billboards, magazine covers, television shows, and computer advertisements than they even realize. From driving to the mall to watching television with a friend, endorsements are everywhere. For each bathing suit advertisement the company endorsing the product needs a model. For every hair commercial, shoe commercial, or clothing commercial, the company endorsing the product needs a model. Unfortunately, not all of society can be that ideal girl. The fashion industry needs to become aware that “women come in lots of different sizes and shapes, and we should encourage and celebrate that” (Hellmich). The high standards held by the modeling industry create self-conscious, unhealthy girls with faulty eating habits and a low self-esteem. It is hypothesized that women who look through fashion magazines want to be thinner and are not as satisfied with their bodies (Hamilton). Young girls see the draw to these unreasonably thin models and think that this is how they should look. Even though it is physically impossible for them to be a certain size, they feel like this is what they are supposed to look like (Fiss). The industry’s standards for modeling have become too high for aspiring models and are leading to a generation of young people with eating disorders.

Worldwide, modeling has become the major way to promote new fashions and trends across the globe. Also, young girls striving for a modeling career look up to these models. Although it looks like all glamour and sparkle, modeling has become very dangerous in recent years. It has been stated that the fashion industry is promoting this extreme thinness which is leading to a toxic environment for the models and their eating habits. The rising appeal to be thin is growing increasingly noticeable. Models have become thinner changing society’s attitude and characterizing these models as the new normal (Hamilton). If a runway director or manager tells a model they need to be in a certain dress by next week, obtaining this goal is crucial for the model’s success. It is understandable for a model to be unreasonably thin to obtain a higher status in this industry. To reach a certain goal for their career, many models resort to eating disorders claiming that they are faster and more effective. If models happen to develop an eating disorder, these problems will add up and last much longer than the models career (Treasure).

As previously stated, many models develop unhealthy eating habits when under the pressure of modeling officials’ standards which can be very dangerous. Society became much more aware of this problem in 2006 and 2007 with the death of two models diagnosed with eating disorders. Quite frequently, eating disorders are prevalent in women as well as people with mental health issues or family influence (Pearson). For models, it usually starts out with bad eating habits then gradually develops into an eating disorder with serious health repercussions. According to Murnen, “body dissatisfaction can lead girls to participate in very unhealthy behaviors to try to control weight” (quoted in Hellmich). When this happens, a model’s direct risk of extreme thinness can affect all of the organs in the body, including the brain. For a woman, when her body weight falls, her lepton decreases which can effect a series of hormonal effects. This can result in an increased risk for reproductive and metabolic problems as well as differing mental illnesses (Treasure). Although these risk factors are very common and many times go unseen, the health problems associated with eating disorders greatly outweigh the benefits of a skinnier model for a fashion show.

As fashion magazines and advertisements take over the globe, society is being greatly influenced by what they read or see within the pages. Women that read fashion magazines are said to be more focused with being thin and obsessed with their weight than women that read news magazines (Hamilton).  When young girls who are looking up to these models see that their body type is a double zero, they think that they should look like this. Women become obsessed with being thin, and this has become the new trend. In the past, it would be very unusual to see an overly thin model, such as Twiggy in the 1960’s. During this time, Twiggy became the first model to be seen publicly as an overly thin model. Models and actresses in today’s society are becoming so thin that anorexic models are seen as normal. A big problem concerning this issue is that fashion producers say that their clothes look better on skinnier models. They claim that if the model weighed more that they would not be able to fit in the clothes the company had for them. Even though this problem has become very prevalent in society, most fashion designers say that they will keep using thin models until the media demands heavier models from them (Hellmich).

The awareness of thin models is not going unnoticed, but this does not mean that all models should be plus size models. A model should be what is realistic to their body type. Going by the standards that some modeling companies have set, the way the model should look based on preferred height and weight would be a completely unreasonable goal for the model to obtain. This explains the fact that the models are not the only ones to blame for this issue. The fashion industry itself should be to blame as well (Givhan). There needs to be a new goal set for society which encourages the models to be fit and healthy. Of course a company would not want to hire an obese person to be on the cover on their magazine. The goals that need to be set by producers are that the models should not be underweight and unhealthy looking, but on the other hand, the models should not be overweight. Modeling and fashion producers are now looking for models that best represent their own body type. These models are fit and healthy which is much more appealing to the eye than an underweight or overweight model. According to Vogue, “too thin is no longer in” (Critchell).

Even though this has been a burgeoning issue for many years, the problem is not going unnoticed. Many designers in the fashion industry are coming up with solutions to decrease these issues. Before Vogue stopped hiring models below the age of sixteen, other companies would see their impressive lead with the younger models and they would hire them. This started the growing awareness for models being too young for the runway. Fashion producers realized that these young teens aspiring to model did not need to be exposed to the fashion industry at such an early age. Designers became aware that these young children did not need to be modeling at that young of an age and banned anyone from the Vogue industry under the age of sixteen (Critchell). After noticing other unrealistic standards, the Madrid Fashion Show banned models that were too thin, saying that on average, a women of five foot nine would need to weigh at least 125 pounds to model (Hellmich). This is to assure that no model looks underweight while on a runway or in a magazine. Also, the Council of Fashion Designers of America adopted an initiative emphasizing healthier working conditions and age limits for models in 2007 (Critchell). The modeling industry believes that putting these rules in place will decrease the self-esteem and eating disorder issues in women.

Although the issue of high industry standards in modeling has been prevalent for many years, the past decade shows great awareness of the problem. Although it may take time to solve this issue, society should not be discouraged. As was with cigarette smoking, these health risks will outweigh the thin look, and people will start listening (Treasure). This issue of not wanting too thin but not wanting heavier models on the runway puts the fashion industry in a bind. Today, designers cannot decide if fashion should respond to consumers with plus size models or to respond with “fantasy models” (Givhan). What the runway needs is a happy-medium with the models so they are not being bone thin, but a healthy and fit thin. The problem is that the idea of beauty that these models are trying to portray cannot actually be acquired by most models. Some think that models in magazines seem to have it all. The models seem to yell off the page that this is what everyone is supposed to look like. They seem to yell off the page that this is what beautiful looks like (Fiss). What society needs is to realize that every girl has a different body type, and each girl is beautiful despite what a fashion designer tells them. Although this controversy has lasted many years, the fashion industry as well as society is recognizing that these healthier, fit looking girls are more appealing to the eye than the bone thin models.

From season to season, the fashion industry comes out with new looks that attract many people. Drawn in by this, women are greatly influenced by these trends and the models wearing this apparel. For most young girls and women, the growing awareness for overly thin models has developed. Eating disorders and self-esteem issues have rooted from this problem. Seeing fashion magazines and advertisements spread over the globe, these overly thin models have become normal for society which leads girls to think that this is what they should look like. Over the past couple of years, fashion designers and producers have displayed an increased interest in this problem and have been working to dissolve this issue.  Many people are speaking out about this issue which is leading fashion designers to reevaluate what they are producing. Fashion producers hope that these problems will be reduced by placing bans and regulations on aspiring models. Overall, with the bans and regulations that fashion designers have placed on models, there has been an increase for healthier models on the front cover of magazines and a decrease of these overly thin models on runways.

Works Cited

Critchell, Samantha. “Vogue Bans Too-Skinny Models from its Pages.” Newsday: n.p. 4 May

2012. SIRS Issue Researcher. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.

Fiss, Caroline. “Fashion Magazines: Setting Standards, Lowering Self Esteem.”

DartNewsOnline. Dart News Online, 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.

Givhan, Robin. “Fashion’s Full-Figured Failure.” Fashion’s Full-Figured Failure. Newsweek, 22

Oct. 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.

Hamilton, Heather, and Sherry L. Turner. “The Influence of Fashion Magazines on the Body

Image Satisfaction of College Women: An Exploratory Analysis.” Free Online Learning. n.d. Student Research Center. Web. 24. Sept. 2013.

Hellmich, Nanci. “Do Thin Models Warp Girls’ Body Image?” USATODAY. Do Thin Models

Warp Girls’ Body Image? USA TODAY, 26 Sept. 2006. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.

Pearson, Catherine. “Fashion and Eating Disorders: How Much Responsibility Does Industry

Have?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 13 Sept. 2011. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.

Treasure, Janet. “Models as a High-Risk Group: The Health Implications of a Size Zero

Culture.” The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2 Nov. 2007. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

 

 

 

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