You Are Not A Fashion Sketch

Have you ever seen a fashion sketch and wished you looked like that? So glamorous!

But here’s “you” as a fashion sketch:

123

Not so glamorous after all.

Star Models, A Brazilian modeling agency, released this series as an anti-anorexia PSA advertisement.

The ads may help a bit. At the same time, when we are constantly bombarded with the notion that hyper-thin feminine bodies is what fashion looks like, the ideal becomes unconsciously embedded in our brains — along with eating disorders imprinted on our bodies. Maybe anorexia, maybe bulimia, maybe obsessive or over-vigilent eating.

And while we like to draw firm boundaries between what’s normal and what’s not, anorexia has become more normalized than abnormal, says Women’s Studies professor, Susan Bordo.

It’s hard to change our ways of seeing by trying to convince individuals alone. Modeling agencies and fashion magazines must change, too, says Tristan Bridges, PhD.

But that can be difficult when impossible ideals promote so many sales. Women trying to achieve skinny bodies can buy gym memberships, exercise equipment, Jenny Craig memberships, Weight Watchers frozen dinners, or clothing that pulls in, pushes up, and camouflages.

Until our world begins to change just keep chanting, “I am not a fashion sketch, I am not a fashion sketch, I am not a fashion sketch” and hope for the best.

Source: Sociological Images

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 31, 2013, in body image, feminism, psychology, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. This is very sad because I have seen friends and family members struggle with anorexia and it is a horrible disease – not glamorous at all. I always wanted to be thin but for some reason it just does not seem to be possible for me. I have always been a size M no matter how much I exercised or ate healthy. However, witnessing how much anorexia damages a person and his/hers entire family, made me realize that it is not worth going through to fit into a smaller size so I decided to embrace my body instead and it made me happier. These models usually look happy and beautiful but anorexia makes you look and feel the complete opposite. Bones sticking out everywhere, fury body, bad skin, hair loss, organs failing and a dysfunctional brain due to the lack of nutrition. My cousin have been struggling with the disease for almost a decade and when she was at her worst, she even refused to use lotion even though her skin was cracking, because she was afraid of it making her gain weight and when she was admitted to the hospital and was force fed, she would make sure to stand up as much as she could in order to burn as many calories as possible. It did not only affect her, her mother had to quit her job in order to keep an eye on her and take care of her. It all started with one of those diets and the obsession with counting calories just never stopped. This outrageous ideal should be discouraged because it is not natural or healthy.

  2. I don’t think the ads will help that much. The rather lame mantra “you are not a fashion sketch” can’t hope to compete with the visceral power of an image, especially not an image with the unquestioned “beautiful and glamorous if and only if thin” meme embedded in it. The mantra is a less catchy “real women have curves,” and that meme isn’t that subversive either. It implies that “ideal (i.e. beautiful and glamorous) women don’t have curves,” ignoring the reality that beauty and glamor are possible at any size.

    The website The Judgment Of Paris, which promotes the American size 14 and up as a feminine beauty ideal, has a good post about the PSAs.

    “You are not a sketch,” the text reads. A rather slippery statement, when you think about it, because it slyly suggests that the problem is not the corpse-like sketch itself, but women who compare themselves to the sketch.

    Ergo, even the slogan is a ploy to let the fashion industry off the hook and to further pathologize women.

    […]

    In fact, personal comparison to visual art is natural and inevitable. It’s not women that have the problem: it’s the fashion industry.

    In short, it’s not women comparing themselves to the sketch that’s the problem.

    The problem is the sketch.

    The solution?

    Change the sketch.

    Change the sketch to exhibit soft, natural, voluptuous femininity, not hideous emaciation. Change the sketch to show clothing on a well-fed womanly body, not on a cadaverous, stick-thin frame.

    The post also shows a Russian plus-size modeling company’s alternate “sketch”. A PSA that juxtaposed a graphic like this with actual plus-size models would make a powerful statement indeed.

    • I agree. My admonition to just keep repeating the mantra “you are not a fashion sketch” was a bit tongue-in-cheek. Really, we need much more to change than that.

      The only thing that might be somewhat helpful is taking a look at how bad real women look when they are that skinny. That helped me a bit, I will have to say.

  3. Cannot determine how to write email to you – from your blog. Wanted to run a couple ideas by you, ref: early female psychoanalysts and their influence on Freud and his developing theories…Let me know…My email is: roldeschulte@gmail.com

  4. So sad that being extremely unhealthy has become idealised! There is something wrong with a society that says there is something wrong with a normal, healthy woman’s body!
    Those pictures are interesting, and sadly, not too crazy far off from some actual photos in magazines.

  5. This is so true!

    Because of my medication I take for Bipolar I gained 9 kills. It was the first time in my life I had curves. Some loved and others like my husband ( recently ex) made me feel overweight and shocking about myself.

    I exercised like mad to get it off and now I’m too thin! Damned if you do… damned if you don’t, right? Lol
    Hugs Paula xx

  6. Yeah, I am not a fashion sketch, I am not a model, and I am not the ultra-skinny girl on the cover of books either. It’s ridiculous that this is somehow our “ideal” and yet it’s so unhealthy and damaging. I can see even how my little five-year-old girls have started to pick up the idea that being too skinny is the ideal, and I can assure you they aren’t learning that at home.

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