Banning ultra-thin models ain't good, y'all.

Or, as Melissa Fabello says: "There Is a Difference Between Acknowledging That a Body Type Exists and Glorifying That Body Type as Ideal – It's the Latter That We Have a Problem With." Yep. That.

Just in case your Facebook feed hasn't been flooded with this current news: after seemingly rejecting the idea just weeks ago, France has (along with Italy, Spain and Israel) not only banned thin models from the runway, but has officially made them illegal as of Friday.

And everyone's throwing a goddamn party.

These actions have been explained as an attempt to curtail body issues like anorexia nervosa and the country has also cracked down on any website that promotes "eating restrictions for a long period of time resulting in risk of mortality or damage to health," Agencies and websites breaking these rules are subject to thousands (sometimes up to $80k) of dollars in fines in addition to time in prison.

France is NOT fucking around.

Are eating disorders (with known high mortality rates) an appropriate reason to be concerned? Absolutely. What's not appropriate is the way this concern is being handled. I think the world needs to calm it's shit, take a step back, and think about why this isn't the "win" they want so badly.


♥ These bodies exist in real life. 
We like to pretend that any body smaller than a size 2 is a figment of Photoshop magic. The reality is that most larger bodies are digitally made smaller, and it's a problem. But in real life... even size 000 exists. Yes. That triple zero trend? SO many people came out of the wood work and said THANK GOD THEY'RE MAKING TRIPLE ZERO. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND CLOTHING THAT FITS. 
Are the majority of people model-thin? Fuck no. A minuscule percentage (less than 5%) even have a chance at the slender body we're taught to worship... but the point is: they do in fact exist. In real life. I have a friend that if a model, would most likely fit into this banned category and she doesn't starve herself to maintain this shape. She's just... herself and isn't a bad "role model" for existing. Lets stop attacking these people and slapping the "EVIL" label on them indiscriminately. They deserve to not feel shitty about their size and love their bodies too.  

♥ BMI is bogus. Yes, still.
Oh, Jes. Stop being so dramatic. BMI has it's important uses, y'know. 
Historically: "The BMI was introduced in the early 19th century by a Belgian named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. In other words, it is a 200-year-old hack." 
There is something so ridiculous about the fact that we judge complex health by using a height/weight ratio number. This tool is often used to discriminate against fat people, but here it is also being applied to "unhealthy" thin people as well. We like simplistic science; it comforts and convinces us without causing us to think critically. But it's not useful here. YET, it's the SOLE determining factor that's being used to exile models. IF France wanted to make certain bodies illegal based on health, they would first need to acquire their medical charts, investigate their lifestyle, explore their diet and more. 
We can't lump bodies that look similar into one box and call them identical. Are some of the models that are banned unhealthy? Maybe. All sizes and shapes can be. But when we become absolute about something as complicated as the health of a living, breathing body- we are bound to be incorrect at a certain point. 
Don't trust a fat persons opinion on this? (Yes, I know how this world thinks) Here's a skinny person's opinion instead.

♥ Banning bodies is NEVER the answer. 
Why do we worship the thin ideal? Lots of reasons. One of which is: we're hard pressed to see any other (non-thin) body type being presented as valuable in our media. Other bodies have been visually eliminated (or visually altered to become thin) and so the only thing we see is: THIN IS EVERYTHING AWESOME IN LIFE. We start to hate our not thin enough bodies (which is what the majority of people have) because we don't see them presented positively anywhere. This leads to the glorification of "skinny" that causes many to (understandably) spiral until they find themselves in extreme situations like: using control based eating disorders like anorexia to work towards becoming "good enough." 
Chasing thin comes from the unspoken hiding of larger/not-thin bodies and the erasure of diversity. Banning bodies is what got us into this mess in the first place. So then WHY do we think that removing another type of body going to fix this mess? 

♥ We're blaming the wrong guy. 
These models are not the real reason we have fucked up ideals. They are, if anything, victims of systemic body hatred as well. We worry about "those models" and their lifestyle habits, right? We assume they starve themselves, have a cigarette diet, and consume cotton balls every day. But even IF someone participates in these actions, it's because of the larger message (your body is never good enough) that's existed long before they were born and has landed -with a thud- in our fashion industry. Models should not be individually held responsible for decades of other people's fuck ups and self-hatred schemes. If anything, we should be serving up compassion and making sure they have access to mental health resources- should ever find themselves caught up in "disordered eating." 
You might be thinking, okay Jes. That's cool about the models. But what about those websites that are PART of this systemic issue? Read on. 

♥ It's insulting. 
The reason these bodies/websites are being banned is to eliminate any inspiration they may pass on to susceptible individuals. This assumes that said individuals are completely unable to make decisions about their own life. This is not necessarily true.  
What these people are unable to do is: find education that says all sizes exist in our world and this is okay, find documentation of how many "anti-fat" studies/statistics are funded by weight loss companies, find the history behind self-hatred and body image issues, find encouragement to practice critical thinking, and find a diversity of shapes in their feeds, films, and other media. 
We must let people make their own decisions. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they're able to make life judgment calls. If we're concerned about their health, elimination isn't the answer- the addition of information is. 
Lets teach and preach until people have the chance to make an educated choice about their life.

I had a great conversation with Fattitude's Lindsey Averill one night where we were talking about Heidi Montag and her extensive plastic surgery. We were exploring where the line of "going too far" was which could therefore make her a "bad role model" for young fans.

My thought is this: Heidi's body is Heidi's body and no one gets to tell her what she can and can't do with it. Is it her responsibility to be a role model? Not really. Is it OUR responsibility to teach our young ones (and older ones) that you don't have to subscribe to certain standards of beauty to be okay? Yeah! Lets do that one!

Now replace the word Heidi with Runway Models.

In short: the banning of any body hurts every body. It's the whole- "my oppression is your oppression, and vice versa" thing. So lets give everyone the information and empowerment to go out and make their own decisions about their life and body. This will then allow US to make decisions about our life and body.

And jesus christ, that's what we're all here fighting for- right?

Now, my opinion isn't gospel and this was written to cause conversation. I'd love to know YOUR thoughts. Leave em below! 

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