Do Fashion Shows and Magazines Influence Anorexia?

By Ladiyah Beachum

Officials have raised awareness of eating disorders that are visible within models in the fashion industry, during runway shows. This has become a major social issue in the fashion world especially amongst young teenage models. According to an article on the Huffington Post, “When the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) re-released its health guidelines earlier this year, it called for increasing awareness about eating disorder symptoms and recommended a ban on models younger than 16 walking in fashion shows. The goal was industry-specific: To address what the council’s website calls the “overwhelming concern about whether some models are unhealthily thin.”

People think fashion magazines and fashion shows do influence young women to have eating disorders. Young teens that look at fashion magazines for inspiration on a daily basis are normally affected the most. Mostly in fashion magazines models are ultra thin. “The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, nearly 70 percent of girls in grades five through 12 said magazine images influence their ideals of a perfect body. In so-called

“pro-anorexia” forums, posters write about watching fashion shows and combing magazines for “thinspiration,” according to HuffPost.

Researchers have done scientific studies on this issue, based on thin models impact on woman with eating disorders. HuffPost Blogger and Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Susan Albers said, “Exposure to thin models could also play a role. Although thin models are not the cause of eating disorders, they can be a trigger or a factor in maintaining an eating disorder.

Albers added, “In other words, if a woman has a predisposition for an eating disorder and spends a lot of time looking at fashion magazines, this can be one of the factors that triggers feeling bad about her body, which she then turns into eating disorder behavior, like excessive dieting.”

Models are the representations of body image and people are influenced by fashion. Fashion is how people express themselves without words. In order to get ideas, magazines and fashion shows are created for the people to pick and choose what style works for them. The only problem is young woman look at specific models which are typically thin because it is a prime requirement in the high fashion industry according to the HuffPost. The new guidelines of the CFDA stated, “Designers generally produce only one sample size for the runway, and in the last decade there has been a dramatic downward shift in the sample size of some of the top design houses. As a result, models are under increasing pressure to be thinner and thinner, and younger and younger.”

Models are the people everyone depends on when it comes to dressing outside the box. Unfortunately, some young woman get tangles with the specific sizes and they force themselves to lose weight by starving themselves or by vomiting to control their weight.

A Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ann Backer believes that there hasn’t been a specific studies to back up the fact that thin models are the main reason why women develop eating disorders. She thinks Fashion Week influences people’s perception of fashion. Backer said “With Fashion Week, and all those thin models, and clothing that looks best on a size zero – what that does is set a standard of what is socially desirable and prestigious that is likely to have a powerful influence on social norms.”