WEIGHT AND IMAGE DISORDERS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY
As we scroll through our social media accounts, our feeds seem constantly bombarded with images of models in their most appealing bodies and various suggestions for our younger generations to get that body. Harmful weight control practices are proven to be a severe problem in the fashion industry, even today, despite all the criticism that these practices have received over the years. A study shows that "Over 62 percent models are asked to lose weight. That's from a sample of people who are (on average) already considered underweight by World Health Organization standards. We're talking about people who have a BMI that already would put them in the unhealthy category to lose more weight." Further, "there's 54 percent who are told they wouldn't be able to find jobs if they don't comprehend the instructions." Models don't wake up in the morning and put starving on their schedule for the day, but when their livelihood depends on it, they're left with no choice but to go ahead and adopt a toxic work environment. In an enquiry set up by the British fashion council, Dr. Key found that about 20% to 40% of fashion models are currently experiencing an eating dis-order.
When these models showcase their flawless bodies over social media, younger generations are deeply affected, resulting in building an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia themselves. Many people succumb to taking laxatives for weight loss, hunger control pills, and many such medicines out there, which can sooner or later become harmful and become an addiction. It is also imperative to note how many celebrities and big hot shots promote such dietary pills, including in-ternet sensation The Kardashians and how easily our younger generations are influenced. These young girls become obsessed with their image trying to emulate celebrities and models. The word "model" in itself is so dangerous since it implies the rest of us should be like these people; accord-ing to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of a model is "an example for imitation or emulation."
Moreover, researchers have associated eating disorder with many social, cultural, and psychologi-cal factors. When we hear one of the world's top models, Kate moss, says, "nothing tastes better than being skinny," the weight stigma among people's mindset that thinner is, of course, better re-mains intact. In a recent study, scholars have also concluded that 60% of people facing eating dis-orders have been bullied or teased at some point in their lives, which has resulted in depression, ultimately resulting in adopting such techniques. We live in dangerous times when websites pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia are available for people to encourage each other. But what are we promot-ing here? Instead of redefining beauty, it is a society that, for the most part, reinforces the same old beauty, and especially weight standards.
The fashion industry is adopting changes in recent years. According to Regulatory Review, "Euro-pean regulators have stepped up to combat the fashion industry's practice of using underweight models, citing not only the health risks faced but also a message for young girls who idolize and emulate them. Different countries have employed vastly different regulatory approaches, ranging from France's weight minimums to the United Kingdom's requirement that fashion ads employ "a sense of responsibility to consumers." But we have to understand that as long as weight shaming is a huge part of bullying activities and the narrative behind socially defined 'ideal body' doesn't change, the system doesn't help reduce the rapidly increasing eating disorder among people.
The change unquestionably takes place after every dilemma that faces our society. But that change should also begin at home. We should take an obligation as an individual to stop body-shaming our peers, friends, colleagues and especially ourselves. In a society where people face poor body is-sues, deal with lower self-esteem, and wrecked up confidence by their social media presence, it is our responsibility to uplift each other. To respect the boundaries, accept each shape and size, and stop idealizing a particular physique. Every human being is beautiful, so let us start recognizing each human for who they indeed are beyond their appearances.