Monday, March 12, 2007

today : wearing complicity well

Ana Carolina Reston -dead at 21 from anorexia nervosa

The insanity of the recent and ongoing debate about 'size zero' models and actresses is quite stunning. The argument goes like this: the fashion industry is in no way to blame for the illnes and occassionally death that is brought upon its models because it is a model's job to fit into the clothes that the designers make.

Workplace laws in much of the world, as far as I know, are there to protect employers from damaging the health of their employees. If a coal mining company refused to change their health and safety policy on the grounds that 'sometimes miners get killed by falling roofs - that's what they get paid for' we would be rightly outraged.

The other claim that the fashionistas make is that is nothing to do with them that millions of people are neurotically obsessed with their body shape. I'm not just talking here about anorexic youngsters but the mass of people who spend their lives crash dieting, buying exercise equipment and whose worries about their bodies is perhaps not quite as out of control as those with clinical eating disorders, but verges on the obsessional nontheless.

What astounds me in the arguments bandied is that the representatives of the fashion and fashion media world really appear to be as shallow as their stereotype dictates. It is just not logical to deny responsibility for aspirant images whilst at the same time photoshopping photos to make people look smooth skinned and skinny. Perhaps nobody is prepared to break ranks but their self-delusion and self-justification comes across as monumental as someone like, for example, the Emperor Nero. Their logic is that of the driver who says : I drive better when I've had a few drinks, the rapist who just knows every woman is begging for it, or the person with their hand on the Auschwitz gas valve who was just following orders.

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