A new survey has found that a majority of American women “want to see a ban on size zero models used during NY Fashion Week, with 16% admitting that they would prefer to see fuller figured models featured.” The survey was conducted, in a random turn of events, by a Coupon website but, no matter, feedback’s feedback.
According to the press release, the survey was given to 1,947 women from all around the country–of whom 71% identified as being “interested in fashion.” They were also asked to choose their favorite Fashion Week and the majority said New York.
Onto the interesting stuff:
When asked how they felt about the inclusion of size zero models during NY fashion week, 64% of respondents said they did not agree with these models being showcased, while 19% said they did not mind either way, and 17% said they were fine with the models being used.
Furthermore, those respondents who did not agree with size zero models being used were asked to stipulate their reasons why, to which the majority, 62%, said they felt that these women were bad role models for other young women, while 55% said size zero models gave women a false impression of what is acceptable and normal weight-wise. 31% said size zero models looked ‘dangerously unhealthy’ and so it was unsafe for the models themselves to be used.
When asked whether or not they felt that the fashion industry on the whole should stop using size zero models, the majority, 57%, said they should. 16% felt that only fuller figured models should be used in modelling and, when asked what size they thought models on the catwalks and in magazines should be, the most common answer given was ‘size 14’.
We hope it goes without saying that arbitrarily declaring a new size every model should be… solves nothing.
At this point in our pseudo-fashion industry career (on the extreme periphery of the industry, certainly, but the periphery nonetheless) we’ve become pretty ambivalent about everything that pertains to models and catwalks and who’s responsible and all that. It seems overwhelmingly obvious that the industry’s extreme fetishization of thinness is harmful to everyone (and, apparently, bad for business) while at the same time it seems that most criticism is directed toward the models themselves, as if they’re some willowy Eastern European cabal hellbent on ruining our self-esteem and sustained only by celery.
By which we mean, it’s hard to swallow anything that asserts size zero models should be banned as a solution because there’s no reason to be shaming thin women–women who exist in the difficult space between being blindly glorified for their figures and suffering constant socially acceptable derision–“Skinny girls are gross,” “Men prefer [more "womanly"] bodies,” shouts of “Eat something!” on the street (which we’ve observed more than once in New York).
Size zero models aren’t the problem, in and of themselves. The problem is size zero models in the absence of all other sizes. Still, agencies insist that it’s the clients, clients insist that it’s the agencies, retouchers keep blurring the lines of what’s attainable, models insist they’re naturally thin–which we know can’t be entirely true–while young women (and, increasingly, young men) keep getting the message that in order to be fashionable/attractive/sexually desirable, you must be very thin.
Though we inch along, each Fashion Week, making the smallest progress with racial diversity on the runway, sometimes it seems we’ll never see body diversity–especially when we frame the conversation this way.
(Photo of models on the catwalk at Rachel Zoe this week via Getty)