It appears that the Province of Quebec has gone and done what few other places would or had the will to do in North America, that is, setting out a new standard that will change the way the models and the fashion industry work. The unhealthy, abnormal skinny is out and normal is in. Although the charter is a voluntary one, I have to give the Quebec fashion industry much credit for taking the initiative to get as far as it has gone.
The main scope of the charter is to promote health, but it is a means to bring awareness to the public and members of the industries to take into consideration that the desired standards set out by the fashion industry are unattainable by just about everyone. The charter does not provide regulations and other forms of controls; it has no teeth, but is does bring a guiding light to those who work in the industry. This should also bring a measure of standard to the general public as well.
I compare this to the French Renaissance because the resistances to change will be hard felt among other parties in the fashion industry, mainly those who advertise and the vendors who market the garments and the consumer who has being carefully programmed over the decades. The fashion designers are mostly to blame too as what they see as the ideal person is often conjured up into a human body that is unnatural and unhealthy.
Then there is the standard of art, beauty and sexism. Like the renaissance, art became all the rage, so much so that fashion took on bazaar looks, and from that beauty became something artificial, something that strayed away from natural-normal look and lost its functionality in everyday living. Perhaps it was the sexuality of fashion that has kept in step throughout this era. Today the desired look is a 44 to 50 kg woman of average hight whose hips to waist ratio is something like 0.25.
I remember in my third year of University studying evolutionary psychology, the concept of sexuality and its role in how we survive, that natural selection may not be as hard-wired as we thought. Sexual attraction at a basic level serves to be both a tool for insuring that a species continues to advance and populate, and that only the most desirable offspring are made. The idea that the unhealthy members of the species do not continue to add back into the population so to insure that any negative genetic traits are kept out of the population is a mechanism to maintaining a healthy viable population. So why would modern man see an unhealthy women, the 44kg model, as a desirable sex symbol when she is considered in the evolutionary sense unable to reproduce? So culture must be the blame here, and this means we can change it.
The last point I want to make is that I see, as the underlying problem, are the corporations and marketing companies who make their living from this. Sex is the great marketing tool, and seeing something, tagging it to a sex symbol, has being the staple of advertising ever since the dawn of mass media. Today we see obesity as the extreme of undesirability and look to the other extreme of eating disorders, anorexia, as the most desirable, yet somewhere in the middle is normal. I think we all can conclude that what is projected out from the media is a far cry from normal, but we are lured into the images of the skinny model as the standard that we subconsciously value. I firmly believe that the media must project the true representation of society rather then a make belief world of fantasy
Please see: Quebec ‘charter’ fights use of skinny models, CBC.ca News World, October 16, 2009.