The truth about the fashion industry – Size zero to fashion hero?
In this report I will be discussing the fashion industry and the topic of size zero in both men and women. My project title is ‘The Truth about the Fashion Industry’. The way in which this project allows me to fulfil this assignment is that it will inform everyone in or are interested in this topic. The way in which I will monitor my progress against my project plan is that I have make a checklist of what needs to be done and done by a certain deadline.
I have carried out a skills audit and the risks involved in organising my project and the available times that I will need to always meet my deadline otherwise I will be behind on my project. I will manage time and resources as part of my project plan by carefully managing the different sources I will use and make sure that I record exactly where I got it from. The issues involved with working independently are that if you are working in a group or a pair then you have those extra people to help you, but on the other hand you have to reply on the other person a lot, which sometimes can go horribly wrong. The time I have available is until the deadline of April 2011, but that deadline can be changed if needed. I firstly came up with the idea of doing ‘The truth about the fashion industry’ because all my projects relate to the idea.
I am currently studying media which relates to the topic in many different ways such as magazines and how people relate to the celebrities in them and also television programmes which are about dieting and weight loss etc. I am also currently studying photography which also relates to the topic because of photographers and what they take photographs of including smaller sized clothes and people in magazines etc. In this project I will also be discussing why the fashion industry want their models to be size zero, and what drives models to want to become what they call ‘perfect’ and why size zero is the ‘best’ way to be in the world of fashion. Another part of my project will be looking at true life stories and how anorexia affects them, their lives and their family. I will then include detailed research and questionnaires to inform more of the public about what is really going on. I will be getxc ting my information from many different sources such as the internet, books and people. Within these sources I will be researching and recording everything to do with my project, and then picking out specific features that I will want to include to make my project as good as possible.
... ; The fashion industry has been the subject of numerous films and television shows, including the reality show Project Runway and the ... countries through the commoditization and consumption of what is called fashion. People work long hours in one area of the globe ... come to be mass-produced in standard sizes and at fixed prices. Although the fashion industry developed first in Europe and America, ...
The main reason that I chose to do this project was because I am very interested in what the effects are in teenagers and young woman and men, and I also wanted to inform the public who might not know a lot about this topic about what really happens, and if these young people are truly happy with their body after perfecting their size zero bodies. I hope that by doing this project, me myself will learn more about what happens and to then pass my knowledge onto other people so that then they can help people who have a eating disorder.
The term body image refers to the view that a person has of his or her own body size and proportion. Body-image distortion occurs when a person’s view of their body is significantly different from reality. Many factors impact the perception of one’s body image, including the mass media, peer groups, ethnic groups, and family values. There is no such thing as an “ideal” or “perfect” body, and different cultures have different standards and norms for appropriate body size and shape. Even within a particular culture, societal standards shift periodically. As a young female woman, I and my friends have also felt the pressure of trying to fit in with the fashion world. From basic fashion to trying to stand out from the crowd, there has always been a demand in every girl’s life to always try and look your best. This may have stemmed from many reasons, but one of the obvious would be from the world of the celebrity. Since the 1900’s fashion has changed tremendously and then what comes with that is how everyone’s views on the female body has changed and what is ‘perfect’ and what is not. Everyone has their own views and opinions on the size zero subject, but what I’m going to investigate is what really happens and the truth behind why girls want to look this way, and what drives them to completely stop eating.
... analyze and to interpret the concept of a dominant woman image has enhanced. Women whose issue is obesity, for instance, always get stuck ... image of a perfect woman. The characteristics of a dominant image of beauty include small waist, small thigh, big breasts, slim and tall body ... to camouflage my big hip?" (College Graduation) There's a thin figure of an animated girl exhibiting that if she wore ...
Every period of history held its own standards on what was and was not considered beautiful. During the Victorian era, the ideal body type for women was plump, fleshy, and full-figured. ‘They wore restrictive corsets, which made waists artificially tiny while accentuating the hips and buttocks. These corsets also caused a variety of health problems with breathing and digestion.’ At the start of the 1900s, slenderness became more fashionable and more pleasing to the male gaze. There was an increasing interest of women in athletics and physicians began to see body weight as a ‘science’ of calorie counting, ‘ideal weights’, and weigh-ins. At this time the physically perfect woman was 5’4″ tall and weighed 10 stone. By the 1920s, the Victorian hourglass gave way to the thin flapper who bound her breasts to achieve a washboard profile. After World War I, active lifestyles added another dimension. Energy and vitality became central and body fat was perceived to contribute to inefficiency and was seen as a sign of self-indulgence. By the 1950s, a thin woman with a large bust line was considered most attractive. The voluptuous Marilyn Monroe who was a size 14/16 set a new standard for women who now needed to rebuild the curves they had previously tried to bind and restrain.
At this point in time being ‘curvy’ and being like Marilyn Monroe was exactly what women young and older wanted to be like. ‘She deliberately had the stiletto on her heels of her shoes adjusted. One heel was made shorter than the other so that she swayed and sashayed as she walked. Her swaying hips helped make her appear more vulnerable, increasing her sexual appeal.’ But her body ideal would today be considered too heavy for today’s icons of beauty, although her perfect natural hourglass body was perfect for the 1950s where womanly curves made for the desirable body image of the fashion era. By the 1960s, slenderness became the most important indicator of physical attractiveness following the arrival of model Twiggy. ‘She weighed in at a shapeless six and a half stones,’ and many people said that she had the figure of a prepubescent boy. She is well respected in the model and fashion world today, but many people refer to her as being too thin, an icon for being an unhealthy model, because she was so incredibly thin and idolized for it. Twiggy and the magazines featuring her image polarised critics from the start. Her boyishly thin image was criticized as, and is still blamed for, promoting an “unhealthy” body ideal for women.
... bodies and expect more than nature's reality. They exercise, diet, and many times end up with an eating disorder. The media portrays women ... especially dancer. I know two ballet dancers who stay utterly thin because of the fact that to hold a career in ... are beautiful is a fallacy. I don't find women who are too thin at all sexy. There's something strangely unnatural ...
In recent years Twiggy has spoken out against the trend of waif-thin models, explaining that her own thin weight as a teenager was natural: “I was very skinny, but that was just my natural build. I always ate sensibly – being thin was in my genes.” You can have your own opinion if you think that she really was just naturally skinny, but in reality she may have had an eating disorder at the time. This may have occurred because in this era of course being stick thin was considered the most beautiful. Despite an American public with increasing body weights, Playboy magazine increased the promotion of slimness between 1959 and 1978. ‘Miss America’ contestants were also found to be thinner over time, and winners of the pageant after 1970 consistently weighed less than the other contestants. ‘In 1975 top models and beauty queens weighed only 8% less than the average women. Today they weigh 23% less, a size achievable by less than 5% of today’s female population.’ The effect of this on today’s society and young women would be that they want to look like these models, resulting in restricting their diets to be this ‘perfect’ weight which their body’s may not be able to handle, therefore resulting in them being too thin and then having an eating disorder.
... not eating at all is a problem. Anorexics may be afraid of losing control over the amount of food ... unhealthy but also could cause harm to their body, like becoming anorexia. Also, the media show too many skinny ... So when the media has an opportunity to influence teenagers, and adults to exercise so they could look ... motivating, but does it really work? If a teenager tries this program out, he or she will ...
Between 1970 and 1990, there was an overall increased emphasis on weight loss and body shape in the content of a popular women’s magazine, as well as a shift to using thinner less curvaceous models in their photo shoots. The 1980s beauty ideal remained slim but required a more toned and fit look. Women could no longer just ‘diet’ into the correct size; there was a new pressure to add exercise to achieve the toned look. In some ways this was a good thing to happen to the obsessed body image world, as doing exercise is of course good for you and it keeps you fit and healthy. But then on the other hand having this added pressure onto young vulnerable women would be making things too pressured for them. The 1990s body ideal was very slim and large breasted, think Pamela ‘Baywatch’ Anderson, an almost impossible combination for most western women. Today in our modern Western society, ‘thin is in’ and artificial means such as liposuction are often used to lessen the appearance of hips, buttocks and fat in general. Many celebrities have made being ultra thin trendy; and we’re not talking about women who are naturally skinny, but ones whose weight has plummeted as their fame rises. So in conclusion, body image has been an issue for woman dating all the way back into the 1900’s and is still an important issue today as most women will have an issue with the way they look, most importantly how much they weigh and what they are eating.
Wanting this desired thin body causes many woman to want to diet which can sometimes lead into having an eating disorder in extreme cases. In today’s society, teenagers are the main target as they are the ones most influenced by the showbiz industry.
‘Eating disorders: The facts on teenagers
• It is thought that one in 100 teenagers has some kind of eating disorder
• Around 10 per cent of teenagers with eating disorders are boys.
• About 90 per cent of people with eating disorders are aged between 12 and 25.
... her book, Eating Disorders: Obesity, Anorexia Nervosa, and the Person Within. She believed that anorexics had "sever body-image disturbances that ... easy to recognize. They are difficulty swallowing and retaining food, swollen and infected salivary glands, damage to the ... psychological problems. Eating disorders are the way some people deal with stress. In today's society, teenagers are pressured into ...
• More than half of teenage girls are, or think they should be on diets. They usually want to lose all or some of the 18 kilograms (40 pounds) that females naturally gain between the ages of 8 and 14. About three per cent of these teenagers to go to far, becoming anorexic or bulimic.
• About 1.2 million people in the United Kingdom experience eating disorders.
• About 8 million people in the USA experience eating disorders.’
In this modern age, there is a growing trend for teenagers to go on diets. In a recent survey, 40 per cent of American young teenagers reported that they dieted either ‘sometimes’ or ‘very often’. While the majority of teenagers who go on diets don’t develop anorexia, they are still in danger of damaging their health. It can be harmful to cut down on food in the teenage years. This is a time when young people’s bodies are growing fast and they need regular supplies of healthy food.
So why does anorexia start? It usually starts with a decision to lose weight and there can be many reasons behind this choice. Every teenager who struggles with food has their own, individual reasons for developing their disorder. However, many young people face similar pressures which help to contribute to eating disorders. In the early stages of anorexia, the teenager may decide to cut back of fattening foods, stop eating snacks between meals, or simply reduce portion sizes. All of this behaviour looks like an ordinary diet, which means that the first stages of anorexia can often go unnoticed. Friends and family may even praise the dieter fro losing weight, but this cutting down on food can mark the start of a serious eating disorder. Most teenagers don’t diet for long. Without enough food to keep them going, they soon become hungry and tired and decide to give up the diet. But, in a few cases, this doesn’t happen and the teenagers become at risk of developing anorexia.
• In the UK it is thought that one in 100 females has anorexia, and one in 1,000 males.
• The highest rates of anorexia are found in girls aged between 13 and 19.
• Anorexia most commonly starts in the early to mid teens.
• Anorexia is one of the most common mental illnesses for young women.
... Corinthians make." (pg. 325) One can not tie food for the stomach and body for sex. He thought that his was a ... belly and the belly for food." He says that the "Stomach and food are passing things", "But the body, the personality, the man ... from the relatively accurate observation that food and stomach were made for each other that the body and sexual release were identically ...
As anorexics try and avoid eating, they find themselves thinking more and more about food. Sometimes this obsession can take the form of counting calories – the units of energy contained in food. Many anorexics memorize exactly how many calories are counted in each type of food, so that they can work out ‘fattening’ each food is. Some even weigh out portions of food that are planning to eat, so they can calculate precisely how many calories they will consume. Even though they are eating very little food themselves, it is very common for anorexic teenagers to take a great interest in cooking. They may start to read recipe books. Or they may cook elaborate meals for their family that they don’t eat themselves. All of these activities reflect the anorexics’ unhealthy relationship with food. Teenager’s bodies are developing and growing very fast, so they need to consume a large number of calories. The number of calories a teenage girl needs to be active and healthy has been estimated at 2,200, while active teenage boys need 2,800 calories. However, most anorexics consume fewer than 1,000 calories per day. When they cut down so drastically on the calories they consume, they are putting their health in very serious danger.
All anorexics have a distorted body image. An anorexic boy may look in the mirror and see himself as fat even though he is really dangerously thin. An anorexic girl may become so scared of being overweight that she sees extra weight on her stomach and thighs despite the fact that she is seriously underweight. Many people with anorexia push themselves to exercise, to burn off the calories they have consumed. Teenagers who are developing anorexia will often start to walk faster than before. They may avoid sitting down and relaxing, and prefer to stand up or pace about. As anorexia takes hold, teenagers may start to play more sport, or begin a regular exercise programme, such as doing lots of sit-ups, or swimming many lengths of the pool. It is common for anorexics to set themselves higher and higher goals, so they do a little more exercise every day. This punishing programme of exercise can take up large amounts of time, making teenagers with anorexia even cut off from their friends. Excessive exercise can also leave then feeling exhausted and weak.
Some anorexics don’t just restrict their food intake. They also purge their bodies of food by making themselves vomit or by taking laxatives. This kind of behaviour also occurs among people with bulimia. It can be extremely damaging to the anorexics health, especially when he or she is dangerously underweight. Anorexics may also use other methods to keep their weight very low. They may smoke heavily or drink large amounts of alcohol to reduce their appetite. They may take diet pills to speed up the rate at which their body uses up its food. This has the effect of making them feel even weaker. They may also take diuretic pills. Diuretics make a person urinate frequently, so the body loses lots of water; this causes weight loss. However, taking diuretics can lead to dangerous dehydration, which leaves the body without enough water to function properly.
People with anorexia wage a constant battle with feelings of hunger and exhaustion. Without enough food in their stomachs, they suffer from gnawing hunger pains. They also experience weakness and exhaustion because they are not eating enough food to provide their body with the energy it needs. In this state of weakness, even the smallest physical effort becomes much harder. But despite their exhaustion, most anorexics still exercise excessively, making themselves even more tired. Many anorexics also find it very difficult to sleep, and this makes their feelings of tiredness even more extreme. Many anorexics are perfectionists. They are used to driving themselves to do their best, so when they decide to diet; they bring their usual determination and will-power to the task of losing weight. Sadly, they soon become locked into the misery of anorexia. As well as feeling driven to restrict their food intake and to exercise, many anorexics try very hard to keep up with their other activities as well. They still push themselves to excel at school, in spite of feeling weak and tired all the time. This effort is made especially hard because anorexia affects the ability to concentrate.
As well as feeling hungry and tired, anorexics feel cold most of the time. There are two reasons for this:
• Anorexics lack the usual covering of fat to keep warm;
• Anorexics suffer from poor circulation. As a result of fasting, the body
does not receive enough energy to keep going as normal, so the heart reacts be slowing down and pumping blood around the body less vigorously than usual. This means that anorexics find it very hard to keep warm, and they usually have icy fingers and toes.
One of the symptoms of anorexia is a loss of concentration. Apart from the distractions of feeling hungry, cold and miserable, anorexics find that their mental abilities are not as sharp as they used to be. Many teenage anorexics spend hours slaving over their homework, and still find their grades slipping. Meanwhile, all their hours of hard work and study have the effect of making them even more cut off from their friends and family. As well as all the physical symptoms of anorexia, teens with the disorder experience many negative psychological effects. They may become anxious, depressed, moody and irritable and often feel despair at their inability to cope with the demands of their lives. Many teenagers with anorexia stop taking part in social events. They spend more and more time on their own, feeling isolated and cut off. Often, anorexics come into conflict with the people around them – especially when they are urged to eat. This makes them feel very lonely and misunderstood as they struggle alone with the disorder. Some teenage anorexics feel so isolated and despairing that they have thoughts of suicide, and a few even make the tragic decision to kill themselves.
So how does having anorexia link in with the trend of size zero and the fashion industry? The average woman sees 400-600 advertisements per day. By the time she is 17 years old, she has seen over 250,000 commercials. With the constant message of beauty and perfection reminding women every day of their flaws, many girls are self-conscious about their appearance, especially their weight. Unfortunately for some, that concern can grow into an obsession, and turn into an eating disorder.
When doing my research into anorexia, I decided I needed to actually interview an anorexia sufferer. I knew someone who was experiencing anorexia and this was my distant friend Perry Jones. I’ve known her for about 7 years now and we met when we started doing ballet dancing together. She’s about 5 years older than me so this makes her 22. I asked her if I could interview her about what she’s been through and bravely let me and said I could even use her real name. Before the interview took place, we both did some research and she knew the questions I was going to ask so she could prepare her answers. I asked her to be as detailed as possible so I could really understand what she’s been through on a personal level.
Anorexia Interview 12/02/11: Perry Jones
Me: What does it mean to you to be anorexic?
Perry: Anorexia feels like a desperate means of survival. From the outside, it can look like a slow form of suicide, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. It has been, and is, an attempt to feel safe in a world which does not feel safe to me. The two words that come up most strongly are restriction and conflict. I restrict food and water, my body, my voice, my experiences, even my breath. When I think of conflict, I think of my struggle to be seen, while being afraid to be seen–for fear of being hurt. There is also conflict about wanting to act powerfully, but being afraid to feel power in my body. Also, I want to live a life of kindness, yet part of me tries to brutally annihilate another part: my body. Being anorexic means being so terrified of nourishment that I need a signed contract with myself to take in even the smallest amounts of food or water. It means running miles every day, even when I’m sick or exhausted or injured. It means wearing clothes that are three sizes too big, so I don’t feel my body, so I can hide. It means being obsessed with food, eating, weight, and body size. For me, anorexia includes eating and throwing up many times over to try to purge the pain I feel inside me. It means constantly lying to myself and others about whatever I feel the need to hide. It means being terrified of having monthly cycles, of having breasts, of experiencing womanhood.
Me: What influenced you to become anorexic?
Perry: What influenced me were the ideas, products, and health information stories that are featured in the media. What we are seeing these days is an influence toward extreme thinness of body shape. Just pass by any local magazine rack, turn on the television, or watch a popular film and try not to be bombarded with waif-like celebrities and with images and ideas that imply people will be successful, happy, and socially acceptable if they are thin. Television news-magazines, such as Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood regularly feature stories about the latest “celebrity slim-down,” tabloid stories focus on a standard of beauty that emphasizes thinness a “size 0” dress size over health and well being.
Me: What happened to your school-life, love-life, family-life and social-life during the year-plus that you were fighting anorexia?
Perry: They collapsed. My family life became fraught with arguments. I used to walk for hours just to escape the heat of the house, and the constant attention on my food and behaviour. School-life was a little easier, but I withdrew absolutely, and people began not to approach me. I started to get what I would understand later were panic attacks, and I’d retreat to the bathroom for ages. Unable to pay attention in class, and embarrassed by the noises my stomach made all the time, I started to skip classes for the first time. I was in a position of leadership (I was school captain) which made things much harder. I often had to give speeches, and be present at events. When I think of my final year at school (which is when I was sickest), I remember struggling to get up stairs, and little else. My social-life was non-existent. Someone told me that they had stopped asking me out to things because I never came. I couldn’t sustain conversations. There was no space at all for a love-life.
Me: How long did it take for your loved ones to notice your disordered eating?
Perry: It wasn’t noticed for a number of months, by anyone — least of all myself. It developed so incrementally that by the time I was already very ill, the idea of anorexia hadn’t really occurred to me. When my psychiatrist told me that I was very sick, and that I had anorexia nervosa, I remember registering a strange sense of shock. My parents had picked up on it before I did, but because I was so badly-tempered (because of the lack of food over weeks) they chose to write me a note instead of confronting me directly. I will always remember the part of it that suggested that I let Mum make an appointment with a nutritionist “to discuss my ideas on food.” There was a part of me that realized a small problem at that point. From memory, my friends and teachers only really started to notice when I came back to school after summer, having lost a lot of weight. Again, no one directly approached me about it. Some of my friends made jokes, because they didn’t know what else to say. A couple of teachers started asking me more regularly “how I was,” with that significant undertone that suggests they know something is wrong. A close friend wrote me a letter, like my parents, rather than confront me verbally. I treasure that letter. It was the one incident of someone else reaching out to me outside my family that I remember, and it meant so much to me.
Me: In the beginning you joined “pro-ana” groups online. Can you describe your experiences and why you decided to join?
Perry: I went first to pro-anorexia sites, after reading an article about them. They’re awful places, with weight-loss challenges, “thinspiration,” and tips and motivations, but they gave me what I needed: Contact with people who knew what was going on. I made some deep friendships that I continue to keep today. One of the girls I met on one of these sites is now one of my closest friends, in real-time. It was only through these pro-ana sites that I came to the realization that what I was going through was not peculiar to me, myself, but that it was shared and that the things I thought were madness particular to me, were actually widespread hallmarks of a disease. In that way, the pro-anorexia sites actually helped me to acknowledge that I had a problem. On the other hand, of course, they represent close-knit communities of generally-young girls tied together by common illness. When you lack that sort of bond in real life, the urge to remain close “within” those communities is very strong, and was one of the reasons I didn’t want to get better. Luckily, a group of us decided that our lives were not being helped by the site we were on, and we decided to start a new site, a positive site that valued people as individuals, rather than as victims of a disease.