In the wake of Vogue Magazine’s recent announcement that they would no longer allow models who appear to have an eating disorder to grace their pages, Tyra Banks has written an open letter to The Daily Beast, urging women–especially mothers–to love their bodies and not to let social pressures dictate what they choose to look like.
She also says that if she was her younger self starting out in today’s modeling world, she wouldn’t have made it.
“…If I was just starting to model at age 17 in 2012, I could not have had the career that I did. I would’ve been considered too heavy. In my time, the average model’s size was a four or six. Today you are expected to be a size zero. When I started out, I didn’t know such a size even existed,” she wrote.
She reveals that when she was starting out in the fashion world, she saw a lot of concerning behavior among her peers, girls who would starve themselves to conform to the industry’s standard “sample size”, which is usually a 0 or a 2. The issue facing young girls today is that they are inundated with negative messages about what their bodies should be, and the images facing them from magazine covers are that of airbrushed perfection, which is far from reality. Young girls need to be taught at an early age to love their bodies, and to be kind to themselves.
Actress Ashley Judd recently penned an open letter to The Daily Beast as well, for a similar cause. It started when backlash ensued after she appeared in public looking “puffy” because of medication she was taking. The media had a field day with it, even going so far as to speak to a plastic surgeon (who had no ties to Judd) for an opinion on what sort of surgery she may have had done to cause the puffiness.
“When I have gained weight, going from my usual size two/four to a six/eight after a lazy six months of not exercising, and that weight gain shows in my face and arms, I am a “cow” and a “pig” and I “better watch out” because my husband “is looking for his second wife.” (Did you catch how this one engenders competition and fear between women? How it also suggests that my husband values me based only on my physical appearance? Classic sexism. We won’t even address how extraordinary it is that a size eight would be heckled as “fat.”),” she wrote.
Banks has famously spoken out about society’s obsession with size, and for that reason she is a role model to many young women. While the issue is far from being solved, it’s an awesomely powerful thing that Vogue has taken this step against featuring waif-like models in their pages.