We need middle-sized models

Compare Crystal Renn now...

Crystal Renn has made headlines again, not for showing off her plus-sized figure, but for actually looking like a model.

Before her December photo feature in Harper’s Bazaar, Renn wrote a book about her struggles with eating disorders as a teen model. She later graced the catwalk as a plus-sized adult for designers such as Chanel. Her journey from anorexic to plus size has been a controversial one, with supporters and naysayers on all sides, and here’s another twist to keep people talking: now she’s back to thin.

Renn’s bounce from model-thin to plus-size and back again shows just exactly what’s wrong with our eyes, and the fashion industry: there is no healthy middle.

Women who want to become models either have to shave off as many pounds as possible, or, if they want to go the plus-size route, often have to put on pounds in order to fit the bill. Jennie Runk was actually given this choice by a modeling agency. She opted to add 12 pounds, instead of lose 30. Why couldn’t they take her as she was—5’10” and a size 8? You could argue adding weight was the lesser of two evils, but adding weight is never healthy, unless you’re pregnant or underweight.

...to Crystal Renn then. "Ultimate embrace of curves"-- are you sure about that?

You could also argue that plus-sized models aren’t really plus sized, which is often true: Many of the models are a 10 or 12. Those sizes aren’t plus-sized. In fact, they’re among the most-purchased sizes by women in America. (I think the most-purchased size is still a 14.)

So Glamour or French Vogue will showcase so-called plus-sized models on occasion and pat themselves on the back about it, and then let the rest of their content and ads be riddled with photos of coke-snorting anorexics.

For once, I’d like to see a model who didn’t have to lose or add weight to get a job. Instead of showing models who are 5’9” and 110 pounds, let’s see models who are 5’9” and 140 pounds. Let’s see a woman who is actually a size  8. Let’s see a woman like Runk, who was healthy just as she was.

–By Tara Cavanaugh

One thought on “We need middle-sized models

  1. I agree completely and I absolutely cannot stand model industries trying to manipulate the faces of American beauties- and the Crystal Renn case shows it all! It’s clearly not just about “thin looks best” when the agencies told her she had to either lose or gain to stay a cover girl- it’s all about MONEY- what they can advertise her as. And now she’s thin again- I’m sure people are happy about that despite that she clearly has continued eating issues, and how could she not? Struggling with her own internal aversion to herself, whilst being yo-yo’d around at the whim of the fashion world, and all the while being criticized by America for being too thin or too fat. IT’S absolute NONSENSE!
    Having always struggled with an eating disorder myself I may be getting a little too personal with this response, but I have to sorrowfully admit that seeing a mid-sized and HEALTHY (mind AND body) model promoting American fashion may be a very distant reality at best.

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