Anorexia nervosa and bulima nervosa are two eating disorders commonly associated with women and models. The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that roughly ten million women at any given time suffer from an eating disorder. Mirasol also reports that one in every 200 American women suffer from anorexia. Anorexia is also the most lethal mental illness (yes, even beating depression), killing 5%-10% of those who contract the illness in the first ten years, and 18-20% in the first 20 years.
Obviously aware of this problem, Star Models, a model agency based out of Brazil, created an ad campaign called "You Are Not A Sketch" with the goal of empowering women to be more than sticks and bones and to "say no to anorexia".
|Picture from Star Models' campaign|
One could take into example two ladies, Isabella Caro and Valeria Lukyanova. Caro was a model who suffered from extreme anorexia and looked exactly like a living sketch. The public noticed her when she modeled for an anti-anorexia campaign. Due to her extreme anorexia, Caro passed away November of 2010. Lukyanova makes a living off of emulating how Barbie looks. She has only gone under the knife once for breast implants and uses Photoshop and makeup to ultimately look like a Barbie doll. The majority of people on the Internet have expressed repulsion of Lukyanova's body, but from what the media knows, she is a fit girl not currently suffering from anorexia or bulimia.
|Caro, left, and Lukyanova, right, represent two radical body image problems.|
I'm assuming none of my readers agree with what the Swedish modeling agency did. I'm also assuming that none of you disagree with the ad campaign or are offended by it. However, the message that Star Models' sent out will not be adhered to until the majority of brands begin to accept real women to represent them. The message they sent out was comforting, but not wide spread and I doubt it will prevent many people from being self destructive.
All of that said, I have never suffered from an eating disorder so I could be way off base. I just know that we will not be able to change our view of beauty without the cooperation of those who propagate the current definition of beauty. This idea of being small (to the point of unhealthy), and thus being considered beautiful, is so driven into the public's brains that it'll be difficult to change anytime soon, which means it'll be difficult to prevent eating disorders.
Agree? Disagree? The talk doesn't stop here! Leave a comment, let's discuss.
I also was to say that I do acknowledge that men can suffer from eating disorders. For the sake of the article, I focused on women. I'm also not skinny shaming. Being happy with your weight is important unless it begins to heavily impede on your health.