Thursday, March 29, 2007

Model Behavior

Leaving aside the snide comments that this show is watched by both of us I want to discuss a statement, or lack thereof by one of the models. It has been exciting to see two women who are not stick thin on the show. Not one, but two. Amazing. However I honestly don't know that either have the look, meaning the versatility of facial expression and overall presence to make it to the end. Of course it has been challenging to hear each week how they are "plus-sized", knowing that even accounting for height issues, as I am short (five foot and smidge), I am beyond plus size so what does that make me?

I had not been excited by this model, though I wanted to be, but Diana is a bit too bland looking, or at least that is how her shots came through. Whitney is gorgeous, just gorgeous but is definitely a bit shy in the shoots. (Yes, yes I know editing and all that. My comments are based on what is shown, my interpretation but with awareness that the show is edited to create an image of each woman.) In last night's episode Diana had a bad shoot leaving Jay (not be to confused by Ms J Alexander who is a hoot and holler!) asking her why she wanted this (to be a top model). Her response? "Just 'cause."

What??? At first I was flabbergasted at the response, but than outraged. Here was an amazing opportunity for her to speak about the unrealistic standards of the fashion industry, how she would like to use her position, upon winning, to try to effect (or is that affect, I never can learn that one) some change, to make a statement. There were a hundred things she could have said but nothing came out. Not even in the judging section where all she did was wish she hadn't said that, but did not offer what she would have said. This was not the first time Diana faltered at a crucial point but last night was just unconscionable, in my opinion.

My hackles were raised the same way when Robert from Project Runway whined about not knowing how to design for plus size during the "Every Woman" challenge. Whose fault is that? I recently heard somewhere that the reason designer prefer waif sized women is that the clothes hang better. Oh please. I say it's lack of talent and imagination. The subject stirs memories of old daydreams featuring me designing for short, curvy women - clothes that would please me and about a million or three other women in this country. It conjures images of studying up on sewing techniques, dredging decades old coursework in pattern making, drawing endless sketches, and the best part, fondling fabrics. In reality I will concentrate on knitting things that fit and flatter me (okay so I still haven't knit anything for me, but one day!). Perhaps I will break out the sewing machine to make want I cannot buy - clothes that fit and flatter my shape. Even if I did all that it would not change the larger problem of unrealistic standards being shoved down our throats.

Several years ago there was a fantastic magazine for the rest of us, Mode. Yes like the name of the fictional magazine on Ugly Betty (great show, you should be watching it if you're not. Maria at her blog writes fabulous recaps). No doubt a deliberate play on given the themes running through the show. Mode, the real life magazine disappeared in 2001. To say that I was saddened by it's demise is putting it mildly. How wonderful was it have a magazine that showed women more like me (still taller and more beautiful, but so much more accessible) that focused on healthy eating but not weight loss, physical activity, and fashion (much of it was more reasonably priced than those in Vogue). It was like an oasis of sanity.

Thankfully some countries are putting limitations on how skinny models and mannequins can be but only after deaths of models. Gaultier leapt ahead of these new guidelines by featuring a size 20 model back in late September. Spain and Italy have put new some standards in place, finally, though there is still far to go as evidence by Renee from ANTM in last night's episode, "Com'on do you really think there will ever be a plus sized model on the cover of Vogue?" with snide tone.

Let us remember the big name models are are not size zero.
Sophie Dahl
Kate Dillon
Know others? Comment away.


Jennie said...

It looks to me like "plus size" just means "normal sized"! It is nuts.

And Vogue SHOULD put a larger model on their cover! Now is the time!

I don't know how you sit through that show, though... (I should talk, with all the violence I see on CSI* and Without A Trace)

goblinbox said...

Effect vs. affect: Affect acts upon something, "Her beauty affected me." Effect is a result; "The effects were obvious."

In your sentence, the word you want is affect.

I agree w/Jennie: I dunno how you sit thru that show either!