Models and modifications

JaLynn Hardy

Fashion icons influence dieting

“The Swan,” a television show on FOX, encouraged women to undergo plastic surgery to improve their bodies. Women were denied seeing themselves in a mirror until their transformation was complete.

Credit: Andrew popik

Thank goodness it’s springtime again. It’s that time of year to put away those winter coats and get out your spring clothing.

There are those cute shorts you got from the Gap last year and the Express spaghetti strap tank top perfect for a hot summer day. And then there’s the bathing suit.

For those of us who have put on a few pounds since last summer, the thought of a tiny bikini does not bring a smile to our face. 

Even if you didn’t put on any weight, there’s always a tendency to pick at areas around your body that don’t look model perfect.

“I guess I’m going to have to go back on a diet,” you think. Boy, does that phrase sound familiar.

Recently, a survey on found 91 percent of women on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting.

Why are we so obsessed with dieting? I think a lot of our influence comes from the media outlets and their obsession with beauty.

Every time women walk through the grocery store, they get a glance at a fashion magazine. If they flip through the pages, they see pictures of dazzling, stick-thin models wafting down a runway, or they’re scantily clad drinking martinis with the hottest beau in town. Everyone knows those pictures have been air-brushed and altered to perfection, but this is where people are simply not rational (because they are the rest of the time.)

On some level, either consciously or unconsciously, we compare ourselves to these supermodels who are unhealthy and fictional.

The British Medical Association reported there is a link between the images of abnormally thin models in magazines and on TV and the rise in bulimia and anorexia. It also noted that models in the 1990s had body fat levels as low as 10 percent. The average for a healthy woman is around 22 to 26 percent, it reported.

Interestingly enough, it urged media outlets to reduce the pressure on young women to be thin, asking publishers to be more responsible.

That’s it; it makes perfect sense. Stop pushing these ridiculous body images on the public and show models who are a bit more realistic.

The skinny, stick-thin supermodel look didn’t really come into play until the late ’80s and early ’90s. Before then, we were allowed to have curves like Marilyn Monroe had.

Unfortunately, the fashion industry is obsessed with designing clothes for the waif figure. Even when a designer creates a look, they build it on a dress form that by their standards is called a size 10 but is actually about a size 4.

Then some designers make things worse by creating clothes that only look flattering on a small percent of the population. Think back to the invention of spandex. Yes, let’s wear something that is going to stick to us tightly in unflattering places.

Another problem I find is affordable clothes aren’t cut with a whole lot of room and fit because companies save money on fabric when they use less.

How many times does a shirt barely fit you, and then it shrinks in the laundry enough to make it hang wrong on your body?

The key to looking fashion savvy is not to wear trendy clothes that look bad on you, but rather to wear clothes that are in-style that fit you. If an item of clothing doesn’t fit, it doesn’t matter how trendy it is — it will reflect poorly on the wearer.

Clothing that fits correctly allows you to feel confident and comfortable in whatever you’re doing.

One of the new body images on the rise is the physically fit look. 

Now that seems to be more reasonable. Mostly, I see this body in fitness magazines, but hey, it’s something that with a little work can be attained — without severe starvation and dislike for our bodies.

And that gives me hope that maybe in the future, the media might move into a more realistic body shape, and then we can give ourselves a break when we don’t look model perfect all the time.

JaLynn Hardy is a senior broadcast major and the fashion columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].