Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the infuriatingly obtuseand unfoundedscientific study of the day: Researchers from the University of Bologna in Italy, Dr. Davide Dragone and Dr. Luca Savorelli, are claiming not only that “getting rid of super-skinny models could worsen the nation’s obesity epidemic,” but that “introducing larger models will increase unhealthy eating habits.”
According to the Daily Mail, this new report says that using skinny models on the runway increases incentive for people to lose weight. Furthermore, switching to curvier models would have the opposite effectmaking people more comfortable with a heavier weightand therefore, would increase the obesity epidemic. Flawless reasoning, right? The study offers this explanation:
“If being overweight is the average condition and the ideal body weight is thin, increasing the ideal body weight may increase welfare by reducing social pressure. By contrast, health is on average reduced, since people depart even further from their healthy weight. Given that in the US and in Europe people are on average overweight, we conclude that these policies, even when are welfare improving, may foster the obesity epidemic.”
I am assuming that by “welfare,” they mean the countless girls all over the world who suffer from eating disorders because they want to look like models or who are depressed because they can’t reach the impossible ideal. The researchers are one step ahead of me, however, and they defend their claims by saying that, “while [increasing the size of fashion models] may help those with eating disorders, it would be detrimental to the nation as skinny models provide an incentive for weight control.”
It seems kind of silly to talk in circles about the vicious cycle that is the issue of weight in the fashion industry, but the thing that really irks me about this “study” is that it insinuates that models (and models alone) dictate people’s perceptions of what the ideal weight is. That, and the fact that it insinuates that plus-sized models are a detriment to society.
OK, my rant is complete. Do you feel strongly one way or the other about these findings?