Breaking news at the NY Times: fashion models may be dangerously thin.
Well, knock me over with a feather.
Here’s an excerpt, since free access to this gripping article will disappear in a couple a days.
“At a Vogue party on Monday for a young designer competition, the model Jessica Stam expressed […] dismay. ‘There are a lot of girls doing the shows who are very thin and frail,’ she said. ‘I don’t know if they are healthy or not, but I don’t think the frail, fragile look is very feminine, and I don’t think it’s attractive.’ ”
Dismayed young Jessica Stam knows what time it is. She knows that, despite the urgency with which one modeling agent remonstrates against couture’s eating-disorder culture (“We are minutes away from a catastrophe!”), nobody really gives a rat’s ass about the actual health of runway models; femininity and attractiveness, those fluid concepts defined according to the whims of misogynist male designers, are all that matter.
Femininity and attractiveness: the ultimate measures of success in the cut-throat world of competitive womanhood; the logos of the sub-humanity to which all loyal subjects of male dominance aspire. Loyal subject Jessica Stam “expresses dismay” about sick-thin models, not, one suspects, out of humanitarian saintliness, but out of fear. Hers is the fear shared by all members of the sex class: that the misogynist asswipes who call the shots have changed the beauty rules again. That they have redefined femininity and attractiveness such that Jessica Stam will no longer be able to qualify. After all, it takes a real commitment to fashion/patriarchal ideology to follow it into anorexia. Young Jess may not have the cojones.
But once enough women learn that ‘near-death’ is the new ‘pretty’, models who can breathe on their own will become passé, and designers will raise the bar again. Next year, look for Michael Kors’ models, skeletons on life support, to be wheeled down the runway on gurneys, gurgling.