The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures

When A Size Zero Simply Isn't Good Enough

Model Ali Michael, backstage at Anna Sui, via

Christina Binkley's style piece in today's Wall Street Journal arrived just in time to close National Eating Disorders Awareness Week -- and also to remind me of the fact that as much as I love fashion, shit is fucked up.

Ali Michael is 17-years-old. You may have recalled seeing her pose half-naked in this T: Style spread that offended a great many people. Or perhaps you just saw pictures of her stomping down the runways at countless major shows last year. Suffice to say she was hailed as a great new talent, or, as the Journal puts it, "last season's model du jour." Indeed, the spotlight never shines for long on one pretty girl.

This season, after gaining five pounds, Miss Michael was told by casting directors for the runway shows that her legs were too plump, according to her mother, Mary Ann Michael, who travels with her daughter to appointments and shows. And so, after doing a string of major supermodel shows in September, Miss Michael snared only the Yohji Yamamoto show in Paris this time around. After walking the runway, her eyes blackened with corpse-like makeup, she said she was sad to be leaving but grateful to Mr. Yamamoto. "This show is special," she added.

What is wrong with our culture?

While I tend agree with writer Aimee Liu (Solitaire, Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders) -- who I interviewed over here yesterday -- that the fashion industry shouldn't be held solely responsible for the pervasiveness of eating disorders among young women, I'm horrified by how hard it toils to shatter this notion. For one every one, tiny step forward, we're rebuked with an entire roadtrip's worth of steps back. It's shameful. It's embarrassing. And it's unforgivable. Bravo has done a lovely job of orchestrating a continued search for the next great American designer. What about the way current American designers look at the things they're creating and the stereotypes they're falling victim to?

But it isn't fair to just blame a few designers. In the U.S., France and Italy, casting directors, fashion designers, show overseers and fashion magazines move en masse, and no one is using models who look like models did 20 years ago. In her day, the aptly named Twiggy seemed wildly thin -- but she would look oversized on today's runways.

It's hard to imagine Miss Michael, a willowy, 5-foot-9-inch teenager, being told her legs are too fat. Last season, Miss Michael made herself sick keeping her weight down, said her mother. Miss Michael's reward was to be heralded as the next supermodel.

I make a point of never apologizing for the fact that I believe fashion is an art form. But when read things like that, or awful, depressing things like this, I ask myself how I plan on justifying my adoration for something so beautiful that seems to take such delight in perpetuating its own sickening image.


| More

Leave a Comment

Login | Not a member yet? Click here to Join
 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
All Blogs
Related Articles

Boston Phoenix
Jeepers Creepers, where'd you get them Biebers?
Published 8/14/2010 by ALEXANDRA CAVALLO
The Midway Cafe hosts "Biebers and Peebers"

"Too Soon?": When is it okay to start making jokes about Michael Jackson?
Boston Phoenix
"Too Soon?": When is it okay to start making jokes about Michael Jackson?
Published 6/26/2009 by Ryan Stewart
For the past few years, if you've spent your entire day, or at least a few hours of it, glued to the...

more by Sharon Steel
Girls talk | June 18, 2010
Hearts of glass | April 09, 2010
Interview: Leanne Shapton | March 24, 2009
Interview: Joss Whedon | February 09, 2009
Review: Dollhouse | February 09, 2009

 See all articles by: Sharon Steel

Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
GOP 2012 Rankings, New Year Update - Great analysis. You have given us a good primer of the names to watch--given how parochial the politics...

By beachmama94 on 01-05-2011 in Talking Politics

GOP 2012 Rankings, New Year Update - I cannot believe you really made a conscious choice to completely leave off Ron Paul and Gary Johnson...

By Matt on 01-03-2011 in Talking Politics

Ask Deval Anything! - Is there any way to get the state legislature to understand what ethics means and to behave accordingly...

By ben starr on 01-03-2011 in Talking Politics

Ask Deval Anything! - MassDOT has made great progress on transportation reform, saving $130 million so far. But those savings...

By RP on 01-03-2011 in Talking Politics

GOP 2012 Rankings, New Year Update - Really interesting names on the list. I like Paul Ryan...dynamic character and definitely has that "it"...

By mcarleo on 01-03-2011 in Talking Politics

Latest Comments from Phlog
Most Viewed
NYC Guerrilla Literary Reading
Stars Read Just Like Us!
People Holding Infinite Jest
New Donna Tartt in the Works
Paperback Roundup
Follow this! Boston nightlife spots on Twitter
Ticket on-sale alert: NKOTB/BSB, Lauryn Hill, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Aziz Ansari, Neko Case, and more
Most Viewed from Phlog
Search Blogs
Phlog Archives
Thursday, January 06, 2011  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group
Copyright © 2011 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group