City Pulse

By Gillian Weeks

If you’re plugged into the world of fashion news (as we so clearly are here at BeautyNews – we’re a freakin’ hub), then you may have heard something about Spain’s ban on “too-thin” models at their recent Madrid Fashion Week. As a response to the outcry over the Skeletors featured at last year’s event, show officials have outlawed all models with a Body Mass Index (BMI) under 18.5. About 30% of the ladies were sent to the bench.

Model at NY Fashion Week and model Crystal Renn for Dolce & Gabbana, who is considered plus size in the industry.

When I read this last bit of information, my first thought was: only 30%? As a normal-sized woman, part of my defense against the demands of haut couture is to write off models as sick, starved, even masochistic. I tell myself that a body worth parading down the runway isn’t worth the effort to get it. And so it stuns me to think that 70% of these bony broads are what you might call healthy.

It’s clear that Spanish officials are trying to beef up body images, but I’m afraid that if this trend spreads to other fashion capitals, it might have the opposite effect. By ordaining slightly less malnourished women as healthy specimens, they are in effect removing the excuse to abstain from super-thinness (and ensuring that, at least for now, we’ll have no relief from Heidi Klum’s shrill voice yammering on about a size 6 girl being ‘fat’).

In other words, now that we know that a 5’10” model is considered healthy at 129 pounds, what’s to stop us from going to great lengths to match her?

We’d like to know what you think:

Originally published September 2006
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