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Skin & Bones: Not So Haute Anymore?

You may have heard about Spain’s controversial ban on excessively skinny models. We’ve attached a few links to articles about the ban as well as reactions from the fashion industry.

ABC News: New Message to Models: Eat! A Model’s Recent Death and a Ban on Skinny Models from Madrid’s Runway Has the Fashion World Spinning

big-beautiful.jpg Skinny models banned from catwalkThe Sun: Gaultier uses ‘size 20’ model
This article was found in the San Francisco Chronicle on plus-size models and their struggles with the fashion industry:
San Francisco Chronicle: Plus-size models gain new ground but fashion insiders say thin — really, really thin — is still de rigueur on haute couture runways

So what does About-Face think of these recent events?

“I’m thrilled that the fashion industry is thinking about the impact of using thin models, but unfortunately the conversation isn’t centering on how regular women are affected by fashion. I want the industry to have certain health standards for its workers, but that’s not all that matters. How about a little concern for the power of fashion and what it does to society?” — Jennifer

“I was so excited to hear this news I almost screamed aloud. It’s about time someone drew attention to the unhealthy standards set forth by the fashion industry, and at a governmental level! Designers claim that emaciated models are part of their artistic vision, but it seems the only statement they’re making in sending scarily thin women down the runway is that fashion can be deadly. I love the fact that there were doctors on hand turning away models who didn’t fit into a healthy BMI, highlighting that extreme thinness isn’t high fashion, but cause for medical concern. I hope this is a conversation that continues on and off the runway. All I know is that I’m totally rooting for Spain in the next world cup.” — Andi

15 thoughts on “Skin & Bones: Not So Haute Anymore?

  1. this is just nasty! im 16 and my weight is 97 lbs. that is nasty. she is so fat its un healthy!!! im 5 ft and 7 in and im healthy not FAT!! thats just wrong! i mean no one wants to see fat hannging over jeans and junk like that!! EEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWW!! its called “trim spa baby”! ugggg lose some weight fatty patty!

  2. “It’s time we make a change! Women of all sizes are beautiful….I think that all women should be allowed to strut their stuff on the catwalk, just as long as they are healthy, happy and confident in the skin they are in!”

  3. So here is a woman who appears very comfortable with her body. Yet she has fat on her body and we want to assume she is unhealthy. But how do we know she is unhealthy? Did the photo come with her blood pressure and heart rate? She could be a large woman who eats her veggies and works out. We don’t know. We see fat everywhere on her and think she is unhealthy. Our society places so much emphasis on fat- we categorize thin as healthy and good and fat as bad and unhealthy. Yet we know some women are naturally small, and some women are naturally big. The health of these body types is what matters. Yet we have a reaction to fat which is often negative. We all have this reaction and we can be quite mean about it. How about if we believe that beautiful bodies come in all shapes and sizes? When women get to a point of embracing their bodies and loving themselves, we should be delighted for them, as its no easy task. This woman is looking confident and bold in lingerie strutting down the catwalk showing off her hot mama thighs! I don’t know about you all but she is inspiring me to like that jiggle in my behind. This is why all of us at About-Face do this work. We want to see the acceptance of all different body shapes and be committed to challenging our own personal viewpoints and ones that society places on us. For more thoughts visit

  4. I think models should be all sizes. Spain has the right idea. It isn’t about saying someone is too thin, it is about being realistic about what women look like. That being said, why is it that when the media wants to show a plus size model, they always show a photo like that. I am a size 18, curvy and attractive. I look like a normal woman. Why is it that I can see anorexic models, or extremely overweight women with frizzy hair in tacky lingerie?
    How about a plus size model dressed in nice clothes??? That would be a stretch I am sure!!!

  5. wow!!! i am amazed that so many girls think that its ugly to be overweight. i mean i think the only thing thats wrong with this person is she is unhealthy… other than that shes beautiful because she was made different.. I am in college and involved in WSO, (women study organization) for one of our projects this semester i am going to make a life size barbie to show the girls here at college that you dont have to look like that to be beautiful… God loves you for you. besides he does not make mistakes and he created you.. thats something to think about..
    well i am done ranting on with what i believe in, i thought i would tell you i really enjoy this site and look forward to seeing what is new the next time i drop in.

  6. What disturbs me most about this photo of the large-sized model is what was going on behind the scenes. This picture was taken I believe at a fashion show in London after Spain had announced they’d reject models who were underweight. The producer of this show (or the fashion line)…I am not exactly sure who it was but someone in charge was interviewed on TV and said he included this model as a protest to what was going on in Spain. He said something like: “Is this what people want?…Would we (those who oppose unnaturally thin models) prefer to see obese women modeling the latest fashions?”

    So basically, according to that guy, there are only 2 sizes: Size 0 or size 24. As someone who lives somewhere in the middle size-wise, I think this guy (the fashion show producer) is an idiot.

    And the answer to his question is: “No, I don’t want to see either extreme…or at least not ONLY the extremes. Why not a little of everything?” I would like to see a size 12 on the catwalk once in a while and not learn that she’s considered a “plus-sized model.” I believe that’s the national average. If these fashion designers finally recognize that we all are not waifs, then maybe we won’t have to put up with “skinny jeans” anymore.

  7. God that lady really is quite vile looking. That is just too fat to be allowed, and if you guys think that is attractive…well, that goes more to show you delusions than anything else.

  8. I second that comment about 5’7″ 98 pounds as being disgusting thin.
    But I also think that women is definately overweight.
    Hello middle ground?

  9. Human beings come in all shapes and sizes. Bigger, much bigger, small, much smaller, middle size, male, female, sort of male but not quite, sort of female but not quite, in the middle, male but want to be female, with very pale skin, with very black skin, with all sorts of other colour skin, with skin that has different colours all over, with legs, without legs, with one leg, with two heads, very fit, quite fit, unfit, very unfit, never moves except for eyes and mouth, with wide eyes, with narrow eyes, with blue eyes, with mottled eyes, with no eyes, very tall, very short, very young, very old, very wise, very analytical, very immediate, with a wonderful smile, with a frown that can silence a room, very happy, very sad, sometimes mega-high sometimes mega-low, with a long life, with a very short life, always half asleep, always completely switched on and awake, attracted to men, attracted to women, attracted to both, loving sex, hating sex, casually dressed, very smart, colourfully dressed, ….. [how long could this list be?]

    In this context a discussion of what’s overweight and what’s underweight, what’s ‘attractive’ and what’s ‘disgusting’ (quoting other comments above) seem to rather miss the point. The issue is about disempowerment, not body shape.

    Lets think about how we can get to a point where a catwalk show is what we all look at when we want to think about what we could wear to look good – whether male, female, very tall, very short, with one leg… [and so on]

    Will we really have got anywhere if we have catwalk shows where there are lots of different sizes of women being sexy, but where it is only (or mainly) women, and only able bodied women, and only women of a certain age range?

    Don’t get me wrong – this blog is (and should be) about the massive pressure for women to always be different to what they are in terms of size. But lets remember that disempowerment and devaluation have a habit of being one step ahead of us.

  10. This comment is regarding the girl who said this is down right nasty and who is 5 7 and 98 pounds. All I have to say is who are you to say that to someone. This is a woman who is confident and glowing, who knows she doesn’t have to be 5 7 and 98 pounds to strut down a runway. She gives empowerment to woman who are shot down by people like YOU every day. Yes she could be unhealthy, but who is anyone to say whether she is or not. Someone who took the time to degrade and make fun of a fellow woman should not be a loud to experience the life that God gave to you. Use the brain and the mouth that was given to you for good, because obviously your not using the rest of your body. Another thing I want to add is the guy who used this model to make a point is an idiot. People protest the way skinny models because the majority of the world is a lot larger than the models used. Woman want to see what the clothes would look like on them not a broom stick. I know I can’t change what you think or what you believe in, I just wish people would think about what they say before its said. Think more about everyone else, because I bet you don’t want to be made fun of because of your size, or of the way you look. Just thank God for what was given to you, dont’ make him regret his descision of giving you life. Use it for him not for the one below.

  11. Frankly I think what it all boils down to is a very basic idea…“whatever floats your boat“. I myself am a size 22 and I am 5’11’. I find that there is a definite upheaval in fashion models that are plus sized. It doesn’t mean that there must only be large or thin women…healthy is as healthy does. Both physically and mentally. The rest is what it is. Some of us are built larger than others. I myself eat healthy and exercise, I have great blood pressure and no health problems what so ever. Defining health by body image is irresponsible on the behalf of both groups. All bodies are different. This isn’t a war between “the fatties and the thinnies”, we aren’t segregated. We drink from the same water fountains and we pee in the same bathrooms. I agree with one of the comments above me…let’s see A LOT more variety. FOR ARTS SAKE! Art isn’t just about either skinny or fat. It’s about a creative idea.
    Name Ruth
    Age 20
    Location Miami,Fl

  12. Media and fashion should be displaying HEALTHY models. Not waifs and not women who are overweight or morbidly obese. For those of you who say “who’s to say what is healthy” doctors are. Health standards are. Body fat percentages and BMI’s are good indicators too. How about they require BMI of 18.5-24.9 ONLY which are ratios considered healthy by medical standards. Using unhealthy models should not be permitted period. You can’t say underweight is bad and gives people a skewed perception but it is ok for models who are morbidly obese to strut their stuff. Neither are acceptable. It’s all or nothing. The display of any unhealthy model is wrong. Both lead to unhealthy perceptions of what are acceptable body weights.

  13. Rennai:
    There’s a good deal of work going on around the notion that the health standards / doctors you mention are simply wrong. Many of us reject the idea that health can be measured by body size (big or small). The belief is that all that ‘doctors’ have observed is that there is a link between ‘unfit’/’sedentary lifestyle’/’poor diet’ and ‘unhealthy’.

    However, I do think you (kind of) have a point when you say “it’s all or nothing”.If we assume that there are some very thin, yet healthy, women, and we want catwalks to also display bigger (?and healthy?) women, then there would seem to be something of an issue with ‘banning size zero’ or whatever. One thing I’m passionate about is that work about ‘size acceptance’ doesn’t result in ‘skinny’ becoming unacceptable.

  14. IT IS ABOUT DAMN TIME. I AM A BIG GIRL AND BIG GIRLS ARE THE SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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