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.
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