Website Transition In Progress - Please Excuse the Construction
by Dr. Daniel J. Heller
How do you feel when you flip through the latest copy of Vogue? If you’re like many women, opening up a fashion magazine is like opening up Pandora’s box. The glossy pages unleash a fury of negative emotions that range from shame to envy. The models seem naturally glamorous and effortlessly beautiful. But, as one model is telling the world, looks can be deceiving.
Sara Ziff, a 31-year-old model who has worked for Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, and other big names in fashion, revealed some of the industry’s ugly secrets in a recent interview with Salon. She tells lurid tales of sexual coercion, exploitation of minors, and the great lengths models go to be thin enough for the industry’s notoriously unrealistic standards.
Starvation. Liposuction. Eating disorders. Models have done all of these things to remain competitive in the world of fashion. What’s more, Ziff said, the industry often hires models of 14 or 15 who are pressured into trying to maintain girlish figures, even as they develop into women.
Through these extreme measures, many women are doing long-term damage to their health. Some no longer get their periods due to prolonged malnourishment or eating disorders, Ziff reported.
Her organization, Model Alliance, seeks to support working models and make positive changes to the industry. Model Alliance has uncovered some startling statistics. In an anonymous survey of 85 women in the industry, more than two thirds reported suffering from anxiety or depression, while nearly a third report a history of eating disorders. Six in ten of the models have been asked by their agency to lose weight.
The negative impact of the fashion industry on the body image of women and girls has been well documented. When women see pictures of ultrathin models in magazines, they experience a measurable decline in self-esteem and overall mood, according to research. Meanwhile, the gap between the average American woman and the average fashion model continues to grow.
The truth is, the beauty of fashion models is anything but effortless. These women often suffer mentally and physically to be thin. And sometimes, when these efforts aren’t enough, they are made even smaller through liposuction and even photo editing software.
So what can you do to avoid the ugly affects of high fashion? Unfortunately, many of these images are unavoidable as they are seemingly everywhere: on billboards, television, magazines, online ads, to name a few. But there are simple, healthy ways to feel good about yourself and boost your self-esteem. If you want to lose weight, do so through balanced eating and enjoyable exercise—and rope in a family member or a friend for extra support. Try the PMS Balance Diet to improve your health and reduce your premenstrual symptoms. And practice self-compassion and self-acceptance.
It’s not easy to learn to love yourself in a culture where even famous beauties are told they’re not good enough. But by rejecting fashion’s norms and pressures, you will be happier, healthier, and more at peace. So what can you do today to love yourself as you are?