I’m a curvy girl, I run a blog and group for curvy girls, and I have campaigned against unrealistic images of women in magazines and on television.
So imagine my surprise when I found myself in a Facebook comment battle defending super skinny man Andrej Pejic for modelling women’s clothes on the John Paul Gaultier catwalk.
Stevie Cooke (bezzie-slash-journalist) had written “‘Normal’ women have been forced to look and aspire to such unachievable goals as size 0. But now that’s not even enough. You must aspire to, quite literally, look like a man. Or should that be boy. A skinny, boob-less, hip-less and definitely womb-less, boy.”
Firstly (and I confess I have no idea if this is Andrej’s case, but it’s an important point) if a man identifies himself as a woman, why shouldn’t he model as one? That’s not misogyny, it’s identity.
Secondly, I do want to see more realistic images of women on television and in magazines. I want models to eat pies and be happy and have regular periods. But fashion houses like their models skinny because skinny bodies don’t distract from the clothes, and selling clothes is what the business is all about. I’m not saying extreme thinness in fashion should be applauded but it’s not difficult to see where it comes from: put a Beyonce on a runway and no one will remember your season-defining double backstitch or your ground-breaking shell-suit/swim-suit fusion. Don’t believe me? Try and remember one outfit Beyonce has ever worn without having to Google…
If fashion houses are going to insist on sending such skinny bodies down the catwalk then I’d much rather they sent men – in doing so explicitly signposting that what’s being shown is a biologically impossible illusion – rather than a stream of girls who may or may not be harming themselves to deny physical attributes of their gender to stay competitive.
I don’t believe putting Andrej Pejic on a woman’s catwalk is a misogynist statement. If anything, it underlines how high fashion modelling has absolutely zero to do with a feminine ideal and everything to do with being a human clothes peg.
But, like I said, I’ve been quite surprised by that.