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The Fashion Industry’s Faux Sentiment for the Eating Disordered

cmartins Icon Posted by Courtney Martin

September 26th, 2007

Newsweek just interviewed me about the controversy starting to brew around an Italian fashion ad that features a truly anorexic model. The designer claims it is an effort at public awareness. I believe it is simply another effort to use shock to sell.

One of the things I write about in my book is the media’s tendency to only feature extreme stories of eating disorders–think Access Hollywood and the anorexic twins–and how this image of only the most skeletal and sick of women allows “regular” women who hate their bodies and, maybe, throw up once or twice a week as not that sick. Pretending that only those who are on their death bed are eating disordered is another way to distance the all-pervasive obsession with food and fitness in this country. These wasting away women are, indeed, one picture of eating disorders. But so are the women you walk down the street next to, the ones you ride the train with, the girl in the cubicle next to you who always goes to the bathroom directly after lunch.

I think this ad replicates this phenomenon. Pretend you’re raising awareness Nolita, but we know you were just looking to stir up some attention and hoping it would turn into dollars. Please, don’t buy any of their merchandise, and moreover, email them and let them know how much you don’t appreciate the sales tactic veiled as altruism: info@flashandpartners.it

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