Monday, December 21, 2009

A brief guide to promoting diversity in fashion

-Celebrate the pale, delicate-featured, nine-foot-tall, emaciated model with one tiny, barely-visible bit of non-white heritage. Sure, she's one flat-iron treatment away from a 'white' appearance, but this model represents change.

-Pity the nine-foot-tall, shockingly gorgeous, perfect-breasted, professionally-successful size four Dutch model because sometimes people give her a hard time about not being a size two. Denounce the oppression face by women of this model's physical appearance in our society.

-Bring color to the pages of Vogue by painting said Dutch model brown.


Matt said...

That first model has a sort of interesting face, and looked nice in the first, casual photo (though too skinny) but clicking through the slide show really reinforced my belief that runway models are, in general, not very attractive. I guess they are good for showing off clothes, but otherwise, ugly. Also, I wish people wouldn't talk about having the "blood" of some ethnic group. Heritage, ancestry, all things like that would be fine, but "blood" is just silly and misleading.

As for the second woman, I don't suppose that not being able to get a job as a runway model counts as an injustice. Or, if it did, we would have nearly achieved a perfect world.

´´Saray´´ said...

Why did not they hire a black model instead? Surely there are lots of gorgeous black models and many were available for this modelling work. I find these days media (and companies) go to any lenghts to cause controversy with the sole aim of increasing media coverage and subsequently sales.

By the way I stumbled upon your blog a couple of days ago and I love the issues you write about.

Greetings from Spain! :)

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


"As for the second woman, I don't suppose that not being able to get a job as a runway model counts as an injustice."

The thing is, this woman is an incredibly successful model. I'm embarrassed to know this, but she's apparently the new 'face' of Louis Vuitton. Basically, she's mentioned every so often in the context of how she's just a tiny bit larger than the other models, and how this causes her to be insecure. We are meant to stand in solidarity with this woman so devastatingly punished by society's beauty standards, as though if all were just in the world, a woman with that tall and that blonde should never feel bad about her looks. As though somehow celebrating this particular classically-perfect-looking woman reveals one's support for women who actually fail to meet these standards.

Matt said...

Yes- I agree. It's a very weird thing. (It's especially odd since, as you get at a bit sideways, by "society's" beauty standards, as opposed to the weird standards of runway models, she's _much better_ looking than the people she's being unfavorably compared to. It's a bit like feeling bad for the "too short" 6'2" NBA player.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Yes, I should have been more precise. Her only 'flaw' as a runway model is that she fits 95% of what's looked for in a runway model, but 100% of what's looked for, period. Somehow this leads many to think of her as representing The Average Woman up against unfair beauty standards.