The recent blog post covering Alberta Ferretti’s spread shot by Steven Meisel garnered some strong responses and opinions on the subject of health and beauty. It was great to hear so many people speak out, although privately, in support of healthy models and the mass media. But it raises the question, “who is setting the standard?”
The industry standard for both models and actors is lead by the overwhelming physical judgment placed on artists and their work. For models especially, the world of fashion has had some outspoken proponents in the effort of redefining how women view themselves and their body image. It’s a serious concern and one well-worth exploring, but we’ll save that for another blog. If we stick with the facts, we know that the industry standard for models is, for women, taller than 5’ 8” who have measurements near a size 0-2 and perfectly symmetrical features. Contrast that fact with the average woman, who is a size 14 and stretches to reach 5’ 4” and we admit to circulating unrealistic body styles in our national media.
So who decides that the size 2 is beautiful? Before we take a stab at answering such a loaded question, let’s consider the chain reaction of the marketing world. The #1 rated supermodel internationally right now is Lara Stone who is 5’10” and has a 35 in hip with a 24 in waist. Does this suggest why Lara is rated the top female model today?
The bottom line is that advertising agencies want to sell product. If a cover model spawns high sales, she will continue to be featured. Who buys the magazines? We do, as a population. If we are the ones purchasing and therefore leading the advertising agencies to continue the trend that we are also attacking as being unhealthy, who can we say is setting the standard?
My personal beliefs on the industry standard are not expressed in this blog post, but I am acknowledging the outcry for healthy body images. As a company, The Avenue is also partnering with The Network, whose focus is to change the world and industry by promoting models who can act as role models. Setting a standard of healthy body styles and giving back to the community are two important aspects of beauty, too! As a decision maker, you have a choice, too. Will you choose to continue the trend or will you choose to be an agent for change?