Around seven years ago, a fashion show in Madrid, Spain, resulted not just in the showcasing of beautiful clothing and new designs, but in the decision to create a new set of rules concerning the size of models. Models that were thought to be too thin were no longer allowed to walk the runway during Madrid’s Fashion Week.
This first step towards the health and safety of models sparked controversy in the world. Magazines, designers and most famously, Cathy Gould, the director of Elite modeling agency, stated that these regulations unfairly put the blame of eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia on the fashion industry. These regulations also suggested that all models who are under a certain weight suffer from unhealthy eating habits.
In 2012 Vogue editors from around the world met to discuss the steps the popular magazine would be taking towards the health of the model. It was decided that only models over the age of 16 would be hired, and that anyone who showed signs of unhealthy eating would not be allowed to work. Although size regulations were changing, minds and opinions on the matter were not necessarily following suit. You can force a person to change their ways, but you cannot force a person to believe these new ways are better.
Sunday, January 13th marked the beginning of the awards season as the Golden Globe awards took place. Watching the celebrities walk the red carpet I noticed an interesting trend, mermaid styled dresses. In the past, celebrities have been known to wear dresses that begin tight at the top and continue on, straight and loose all the way down to the toes.
For example, at last years Golden Globes, stars such as Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum, and Nicole Richie wore straight dresses that gave off a tall and slender look, very beautiful yet very different from the mermaid look. The mermaid dress is tight all the way to the bottom where it than widens out, becoming a full skirt. This dress shape emphasizes the shape of the wearer.
If a woman is curvier it is immediately shown; if a woman has no curves, that is also shown. One dress style is not better than the other, just as one body type is not better than the other. The mermaid dress manages to show off every body type which is why it is such an interesting choice for one of the most photographed events of the year.
I do not believe outside factors such as images in a magazine or models in an advertisement are the cause of eating disorders, but I do believe these kinds of outside factors can fuel them. The Golden Globe awards is an event that is watched by millions, and many pay especially close attention to what is being worn.
A dress like the mermaid dress shows me, and the rest of the world, that the woman is comfortable with her own body. It shows that the woman is comfortable with or without curves. It shows that the woman is comfortable being herself. During a time when body criticism is heard too often and body acceptance not nearly enough, I see the mermaid dress as a choice that shows that the mentality behind size regulations are finally starting to catch up with people, and that people are finally starting to realize that being healthy and being themselves is more beautiful than anything else.
What do you think of the mermaid styled gowns at this years Golden Globes?