Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Anorexia Nervosa - Isabelle Caro

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Isabelle Caro in billboard ad 'no anorexia'

Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that 'without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, 2 – 3% of people with anorexia die. Statistics on anorexia show that mortality rates from anorexia are the highest of any psychological disorder.’ Isabelle Caro, a French model and actress, was the poster child for anorexia who appeared in a billboard advertising campaign called 'No Anorexia.' She died in November 2010 at the age of 28. She blamed her anorexia on what she called a troubled childhood. 'I had a very complicated childhood, very difficult, very painful. My mother's big phobia was that I would grow. She spent her time measuring my height. She wouldn't let me go outside because she'd heard that fresh air makes children grow, and that's why I was kept at home. It was completely traumatic.' In January 2011, Isabelle's mother committed suicide after being consumed with what she said was her 'enormous guilt.'

Anorexic model posing in bathing suit on floorAs this wasting disease grows exponentially, with girls as young as five and six worried about their weight, it’s time for the most visible promoter of this ‘look’ to man up and change its message for young women who are heavily influenced by this industry. Fashion Week in New York, Milan, Paris, and every other house of fashion must start promoting healthier images of the female body and disallowing in their shows models whose body weight does not meet an acceptable criteria. Models currently parading on catwalks today are falsely hailed as the epitome of beauty and chic, but currently, many models are now coming forward with their story of being told that they’re ‘too fat’ when they are already, by normal standards, underweight. Even Isabelle Caro was told she had to lose weight in order to be a model. Fashion houses give lip service to their stated policy of 'only hiring models that are above the acceptable weight level,' yet still hire underweight waifs to fill their fashion runways. What kind of message is this for young women?

The fashion industry should stop promoting ‘thinny’ while at the same time protesting they’re taking real action against models who are under the acceptable body/fat index limit. The industry is dominated by skinny, androgynous women in a salute to the effeminate, gay men that create most of the fashions.

Ana Carolina Reston was a young, beautiful model from Brazil who came from a poor family in the barrios of Rio. What is so shocking about the picture of her below is that it was not taken from a hospital bed, where she should have been, but from a magazine fashion shoot. Unfortunately, this is no air-brushed, photo-shopped image. Instead of her photographer and make-up artist bringing her to the nearest clinic (or restaurant), they put her on a table and snapped photos, proudly placing her in a pose that shows a thigh only minimally wider than her calf. She, too, is now dead at the age of 21 after subsisting on a diet of only apples and carrots. She weighed 88 pounds when she died.

Ana Reston posing on table top very skinny

The women who were rescued at Auschwitz at the end of the Second World War were more well-nourished than Ana Reston. Yet young girls look to these women as role models, women they want to copy, women whose bodies they want to create for themselves, women they want to be, and as a result, many girls are developing anorexia and dying at a younger age than ever before. It's time that the fashion industry gets serious and stops promoting these negative stereotypes. Who are they kidding when they say they're concerned about the problem? They need to show through their actions that they're concerned and stop giving the problem so much lip service.