This above photo from a Plus Model Magazine has gone majorly viral with it’s side-by-side comparison between Katya Zharkova, a US size 12 (who is actually smaller than the average sized American woman, who wears a size 14) hugging a rail-thin fashion model with the quote “Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for anorexia.” It should be noted that anorexia is primarily a mental health issue, but it’s true that most models fall below (sometimes well below) what is considered a healthy Body Mass Index.
The editorial the photo was featured in included a call to action for consumers to voice their opinion, and demand fashion models that are the size of real women (or at least in the “healthy” BMI range, which is between 18.5–24.9. You can click here to play around with a BMI calculator to figure out what that means, but basically if a woman is 5’8″ and 110 lbs, she has a BMI of 16.7, which is WAAAAY below healthy.)
Here’s some statistics from Plus Model Magazine:
-Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.
- Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned. The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction.
- Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.
- 50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, but most standard clothing outlets cater to sizes 14 or smaller.
My opinion on this: I personally don’t have a problem with models having more “ideal” bodies than most of us, but there should be more toned models sporting healthy weights, as well as a wider range of sizes in models. Right now there seem to be two categories: mainstream models who are much smaller than average, some even to the point of being unhealthy, and “plus-sized” models, who are usually regulated to the fringe. All women and body types needs to be represented, especially the under-represented types in the healthy range. Being overweight shouldn’t necessarily be celebrated, because it is unhealthy, but being too thin is also unhealthy, and that’s extremely over-celebrated. Girls and women should have a more healthy “ideal” example made for them, which might ultimately result in less cases of eating disorders (including binge eating disorders that can lead to obesity.) And yes, as some commenter are pointing out, a size 14 (the average US size), for most women falls above the healthy BMI range. Size 14 may be normal in the U.S., but it’s often not healthy. Of course healthy can be different sizes for different women, factors to consider include Height, Weight, lean muscle mass vs. fat percentage, and health indicators like blood pressure, triglycerides, diabetes, etc.
Regardless above model Katya Zharkova is definitely gorgeous.
How does the above photo make you feel? Women, do you think your size is under represented in fashion? Fellas, what kind of models would you like to see?
Found via Fashionista and American Picker‘s Danielle Colby Cushman, a gorgeous burlesque model in her own right