Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TFuck you Tuesdays : Karl Lagerfeld

For lack of a better title given my current state of mind, I decided to start something new for our blog. I'm not quite sure how long it will stick for but it's worth a shot. Especially given the issue at hand. Browsing recent news articles, searching for what to blog about, I came across an article that angered me greatly. The fashion industry itself is something that I consider to be my biggest non-feminist guilty pleasure. I am a self-proclaimed fashion junkie / amateur fashionista; I love shopping (window shoppping, mostly) and I am constantly reading up on the latest fashion trends and experimenting with my own style. For a while, I thought I actually wanted to go to FIT to study design/merchandising. Well, plans changed and I'm actually really glad that I am not immersed in the fashion world because as I'm sure you all know (and this article will further reinforce the fact) that the fashion world is an unhealthy place, especially for young models struggling to make it big.
The fashion industry is notorious for having stick-thin, borderline emaciated models parading the runways and representing the most elite designers. It is a commonly known fact that even if you are a beautiful woman, if you do not have the ideal supermodel body (think toothpick-like arms and legs, exposed ribs, and highly emphasized cheekbones) you will not make it on the runway or, a lot of times, even in print ads. In fact, the average model in the United States is 5'11 and weighs only 117 pounds, whereas the average woman in the U.S is 5'4 and weighs 140 pounds. Given the statistics, I'd say the modeling/fashion industry's ideal standard of beauty is a big skewed.
The article that triggered this blog post talks about German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and his recent statement about "curvy" women in the fashion industry. After Brigitte Magazine's editor AndreasProxy-Connection: keep-alive Cache-Control: max-age=0 ebert got tired of always having to photoshop some weight onto sickly-thin models so Brigitte decided to release the next issue without using professional models. Lebert explains, "We will show women who have their own identity, the 18-year-old A-level student, the company chairwoman, the musician, the footballer." This is quite the impressive step in terms of the fashion industry. Well, at least in my opinion. Lagerfeld on the other hand...doesn't agree with me in the least. In a recent interview with Guardian magazine, the German designer was quoted as saying, "Curvy women have no place on the catwalk," "Nobody wants to see curvy women," and, "These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly,” and he continue to add that the world of fashion was all to do “with dreams and illusions, and no one wants to see round women." As if these statements weren't shocking enough, this is not the first time he was spoken of this issue. He has defended the fashion industry in the face of criticisms that it has serious effects on body image and eating disorders; Lagerfeld claims that the pressure of the fashion industry had no effect on the size of its models, rather it is their own psychological issues that affect their emaciation, saying "They aren't deliberately skinny because they want to be models, they've probably had family problems or suffered from other traumas," he said, and also claims that none of the models has worked with are anorexic, "only extremely slim."
So these are my biggest issues of concern: Why is a 72 year-old designer whose life is in no way being affected by the decision of Brigitte magazine to eliminate professional, thin models, so anti-curvy? What is his vendetta against women who are not of supermodel stature? Why does he feel the need to defend models, claiming that they have no issues surrounding their body image, when it is clear that the way they look directly affects the way they live? My proposed answer to these questions: he's out of his fucking mind. King Karl, as he is known in the fashion industry, is not losing any money if everyday women are portrayed instead of models. He can still use the thinnest models he desires in all of his runway shows and print ads. Just a word of advice for Mr. Lagerfeld: Attacking "curvy" women is not a good plan of action if you are really upset and want to do something about models of your preference being eliminated from an issue of a magazine. Typically, lashing out and being immature is not the best way to voice your concerns. In terms of the the well-being of the fashion industry if curvier women are prevalent in publications and runway shows, I strongly believe that the more inclusive the fashion industry is in terms of the size of the women modeling different styles, the better off it will be in the end.

<3 we are all beautiful.

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