Did you hear? Did you hear? Vogue Magazine has decided to become ” ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.” And in that, according to the NY Times they have decided not to have any models in their magazine who are under the age of 16, nor any models who “appear to have an eating disorder.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m assuming it means painfully thin models. The new policy which has been enacted as of May 3 and thus, beginning their June issue, the following doctrine will be upheld:
“1. We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image.
“2. We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.
“3. We will help to structure mentoring programs where more mature models are able to give advice and guidance to younger girls, and we will help to raise industry-wide awareness through education, as has been integral to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Health Initiative.
“4. We will encourage producers to create healthy backstage working conditions, including healthy food options and a respect for privacy. We will encourage casting agents not to keep models unreasonably late.
“5. We encourage designers to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes, and encourages the use of extremely thin models.
“6. We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.”
The fashion industry is still not perfect, or even close to it, but I’m very happy to see that they are trying to take care of their own models by offering healthy food, emotional support, and by acknowledging the eating disorder issue. Now, obviously we cannot SEE if someone has an eating disorder. Most people with eating disorders don’t APPEAR to have eating disorders– they are secret, not obvious to most people. However, this is a good first step and I’m proud of Vogue for taking a stand on health. In 2006, the runways in Spain and Italy banned models with very low BMI’s from being on the catwalk and also banned ridiculously thin mannequins from being put in shop windows in order to disempower the perception that a very skinny physique is fashionable. Hopefully this trend continues.