Letters to the Editor,
The Daily Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
Recent moves by Spain to reign in eating disorder abuses in the high fashion industry by limiting super models’ skinniness have spread to Italy and show signs of spreading to other countries as well. This is a good thing and only partly because it is a public health service to publicize and educate people about disorders like anorexia and bulimia. It is also a good thing because it is a major crack in the polite fiction that super models are attractive women, and that haute couture fashions can legitimately be called “clothing.” It emboldens me to stand up and declare that supermodels are not the model of feminine beauty that they are presented as being, and to deny that haute couture wear is attractive.
Maybe it’s only my opinion, but standard super model features - tall, lanky, bony, full-lipped and wide-eyed - have always struck me as vaguely equine, vaguely diseased, and more than vaguely ugly. Personally, I prefer women with binocular vision who do not look like they have a major lip infection. And, I know that comparisons are made between the popularity of these standard super model features and the popularity in the world of Japanese manga illustrations. The big-eyed look is supposed to be cute. But I don’t think that animate comic book facsimiles are admirable (and I don’t admire manga, either).
Thank goodness haute couture fashions are made-to-order and therefore always very limited. More often than not the rags we see super models parading down the catwalk are ridiculous, grossly impractical, and esthetically offensive to a public that should be pursued as customers, not alienated by the cosmetic horror of it.
But I could be wrong.