Topshop took down the above image of 18-year-old model Codie Young after a hailstorm of criticism from anorexia support groups claiming the image would encourage disordered eating in teenage girls. Topshop (and Young herself) insist she is naturally slim but the chain removed the image and swapped it with another, in which Young’s figure is obscured by a coat.
“Topshop is confident that Codie is a healthy young woman and we do not feel it necessary to remove her from our imagery,” said a spokesman for Topshop, “However we do recognize regretfully that the angle this image has been shot at may accentuate Codie’s proportions making her head look bigger and neck longer in proportion to her body . . . We have taken down that specific image at the earliest opportunity. Topshop is proud of its heritage of celebrating individual-looking girls who offer an alternative more unusual beauty.” He also insisted that Codie was not an (American) size 0.
…Which she is. According to her. She responded on her blog:
Firstly this is very hurtful to me as I am naturally skinny; and anyone who knows me would know that I have been naturally skinny my entire life as my dad is 6’5 tall and skinny an my mum is also skinny, not to mention that my entire family on my dads side are all tall and skinny like me! … And finally yes okay I maybe an American size 0-2 and a UK size 8 so what. There are overweight/obese people who are a size 34 or 18 but know one says anything to them because you don’t want to affend them! Just because someone eats a lot doesn’t make them healthy. Just like not eating anything doesnt make you healthy. And funny enough saying I’m anorexic affends me just as being called obese affends overweight people, but the differences is that im not anorexic!
Setting aside the fact that plenty of “overweight/obese” people take shit all the time, the issue here really isn’t Codie being naturally thin. It’s that Topshop chose to use her and photographed (or Photoshopped) her in a way that exaggerated her small frame.
So. What’s the problem here:
And here’s Codie on the cover of Vogue Australia… next to, grimly, the headline: “The Model Weight Debate.”