• Tue, Jan 8 2013

‘Being Skinny Doesn’t Suit Me,’ Says Thin Model

Daisy Lowe

I’ve always had a big soft spot of Daisy Lowe. I think she’s an excellent model and I always love her style. Plus, she has a pretty bizarre life story and just seems like an overall entertaining person. But a few comments she voiced in a recent interview — as well as the way the article was introduced by the magazine itself — admittedly make me sad.

In Grazia‘s “Happy Body Issue,” the cover of which features Ms. Lowe, she voices her option that ”being skinny just doesn’t suit me.” But according to Google, Lowe is 5’10″ and weighs just 125 pounds, so I think referring to herself as not being skinny is a bit of an overstatement. Obviously, Body Mass Indexes are not the be all, end all of health standards, but according to medical charts, she would be considered underweight.

I understand what she’s saying: losing weight off her frame is not something she desires to do despite indeed being larger than most standard size models, and that’s great.. But (and his isn’t me criticizing Lowe by any means), I find it a little unsettling to hear somebody who is actually quite thin does not consider herself so simply because she is less underweight than other models. It shows that even for very successful models, this precise ideal is unattainable and gives them an oddly imbalanced scale on which to compare themselves.

She goes on to explain some of her past issues in the industry:

“There have definitely been moments when I have been very upset at some shoot when the clothes didn’t fit, and you feel horrendous about yourself. I can sit here and say ‘I love being curvy’ but of course there are pressures to be thinner. Stick you next to a 15 year old Russian model doing the shows and these look like thunder thighs!”

Three things: First, I wish being called curvy — even “relatively so,” as Huffington Post does — would stop being the equivalent of being less thin than a standard size model. You can be very skinny and still be curvy, seriously. You can also be very overweight and not curvy. There’s nothing wrong with any combination, though this case, Lowe is simultaneously thin and curvy, but the latter adjective is being used both by she and HuffPo as the antithesis of thinness.

Second — and this is less related so I apologize ii advance for the tangent — why do people always jump on Eastern European teenage models as the ones to pick on for being on the thinner side of the spectrum? I get that she’s trying to make a point, but it always irks me when people borderline snark those specific standard size models for being thin (even though that’s exactly what the fashion industry has employed them for, and that is not their faults and isn’t fair to criticize), not to mention there are also tons of standard size models from America and elsewhere.

Third, of course it’s bullshit that people don’t always have her size — especially if she was hired to be there. The fact that she has had this happen, as I’m sure it has to plenty of other models, is testimony to the need for a wider range of body types and sizes in the fashion industry in order to lessen the presumption and therefore requirement that almost all models are around the same size when, of course, not all people are.

Daisy Lowe

Curvy: Yes. Thin: Also, yes.

Also, the way that the magazine itself introduces the article really bums me out:

If you’re anything like us, you’re vowing to lose half your body weight and trasnform into Miranda Kerr by February. But, if we’re honest, extreme resolutions are not only unrealistic and boring, they can also leave you feeling worse about yourself that you did before. Which is why the new issue is all about championing the happy body – finding the shape and the size YOU are content with.

So, basically, they’re saying that the people running the magazine want to lose a ton of weight as quickly as possible… despite knowing how risky and unhealthy it may be? And then, after noting how terrible it is to “vow” unrealistic promises, yet admitting they’re avid participants, they inform readers that this one issue of their magazine is about to make you feel oh-so-good about yourself. (Until February, obviously, when you go into debt due to unplanned liposuction because you don’t look like an Angel.)

Besides the “curvy vs. skinny” thing, I don’t think that anything Lowe is saying is inherently wrong — after all, we’re all entitled to our own opinions of our bodies — but I do find it disparaging to hear somebody have a somewhat warped idea of her appearance. I think it’s disheartening to hear about the fashion industry affecting somebody in a way that makes them feel that their bodies are substandard just because they’re a different size (not that there’s anything wrong or substandard about not being thin; it’s her tone and word choice that led me to believe she finds it upsetting). And I really don’t like that this “Happy Body Issue” seems to prefer discussing what she’s actually unhappy about rather than the positive things about her self image. That doesn’t sound all-too-happy to me.

Photo: WENN.com, Daniel Deme/WENN.com

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  • Tania

    I can definitely understand how someone who is skinny might think they aren’t. I have had my mother telling me I need to lose weight since I hit puberty, but everyone else I have ever spoken to has commented on how “thin” I am. But I look in the mirror and see a fat person, because I’ve grown up being told constantly that I am. (For reference: 5’3″, 124lbs.)

    I would imagine being around women who are even skinnier, and having to constantly try on clothes that don’t fit you, plus the young age most models start at would have a similar effect. I feel fat when I try on size whatever pants and they don’t fit, too.

    Or she has this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_dysmorphic_disorder

    • JennyWren

      I’m around the same height and weight as you and I still think I’m huge. I think it’s probably because I lost a bunch of weight (around thirty pounds) a few years ago. Terrified of putting it back on, so I end up scrutinizing every slight bulge for signs of imminent bloatage. Very unhealthy. So it can definitely see how people can be conditioned to only look for the bad things about themselves.

    • Tania

      Yes, exactly. I mean, subjectively I look at her and see she says she’s “curvy” in the fat sense and I roll my eyes, but objectively she’s a human person with normal human person hang-ups.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Oh, totally. I think every person — including celebrities — have their typical insecurities. But it still bums me out to hear her say she sometimes feels the need to lose weight, especially in a body “positive” issue of a magazine. =(

    • Tania

      Oh, yeah, it’s a bummer. But it’s an expected one in her career, even if values are (hopefully) shifting to a more realistic standard. I would love to see short, plump models alongside the tall skinny ones, it would be way more realistic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/enbrown Elizabeth Nolan Brown

    This is the same way I feel about Zooey Deshanel always talking about how she’s not skinny. I get that there’s always an unsaid “In comparison to….” but it’s still just bizarre & a little annoying, even if the Deschanels and Lowes of the world are well-intentioned.

    Also: Yes yes yes yes YES about curviness & skinniness. I read about this kind of stuff all the time and while people often bash curvy as a euphemism for thing, I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever seen anyone point out that skinny women can be curvy. I never know how to describe my body type and this is why. With a small waist, wide hips and a bubble butt, I’ve had men talk about my ‘curves’ all my life. But I’m also pretty thin (underweight by BMI standards, also, though certainly not by looking-at-me standards) and small-chested, so I think if I were to every describe myself as curvy people would think I was nuts.

    • Tania

      I wrote a blog post about the issue I had with “curvy” being a euphemism for “overweight.” I know it sounds nicer, and there is such a negative connotation to the word “fat” that I’d want a better word, too. But with a 25 inch waist and 38 inch hips, I think I qualify as “curvy” by the literal definition of the word… even if I have small boobs.