It’s bikini season again, and this year the trend to be thin is more pronounced than ever.
The newsstands are displaying magazines on the cover of which almost every issue has a thin, gorgeous swimsuit model. Your television is showing more and more unhealthily thin actresses. Bones are jutting out and implants are taking the place of real breasts. Most of these supermodels and actresses are so unnaturally thin that they risk infertility, osteoporosis and, ultimately, kidney damage, the result of unhealthy diets.
Jennifer Aniston’s former trainer says, “[Jennifer’s] new figure did not come from working out with me. She lost body fat (seemingly all of it) by drastically reducing carbs in her diet – a way that’s not healthy in my books.”
This obsession with thinness seems to be a sort of domino effect. One actress loses weight to please the media, and next all her co-stars are losing weight to keep up. Courtney Thorne-Smith (size 4) has said that if she were not on the TV show Ally McBeal, she’d be 5 pounds heavier, but she won’t risk it for fear she’ll look big next to her size 2 co-stars. “I would run eight miles, go to lunch and order my salad dressing on the side. I was always tired and hungry,” says Courtney.
Meanwhile, her co-star, Calista Flockhart, has discovered spinning–vigorous workouts on stationary bikes. “At first, it hurts your butt, but you become addicted to it like a maniac,” says the size 2; five-foot-six-inch; 100-pound Ally McBeal star.
Does anyone ever think about how the overload of these images in the media affects the everyday person? Well, for many women, and an increasing number or men, it doesn’t exactly have a positive effect. In fact, the idea of the media’s (and consequently, everybody else’s) “ideal” woman often makes “normal” people self-conscious — even if they have nothing to be self-conscious about.
What most people don’t realize is that every image of a model or actress in a fashion or beauty magazine has been touched-up, using the latest computer technology to remove ‘flaws’ like bulges, pimples and stretch marks. Elizabeth Hurley even admitted that her breasts were electronically enlarged for the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.
“On my last Cosmo cover,” she recalled in a recent Details magazine interview, “they added about five inches to my breasts. It’s very funny. I have, like, massive knockers. Huge. Absolutely massive.”
Christy Turlington explains to Elle magazine. “Advertising is so manipulative,” she says. “There’s not one picture in magazines today that’s not airbrushed.”
“It’s funny,” Turlington continues, “when women see pictures of models in fashion magazines and say, ‘I can never look like that,’ what they don’t realise is that no one can look that good without the help of a computer.”
Beyond that, there are about 100-300 professional photographs taken for each published image you see. They are taken from the absolute best angle, in perfect lighting, with the clothes pinned just-so.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the models’ hair and makeup is always professionally done and is constantly touched up by a makeup artist and hair stylist, standing by to make sure nothing looks less-than-perfect.
According to Prevention magazine, a “healthy weight” for a woman who is five foot nine inches is 129-169 pounds. An average five-foot-nine-inch model’s weight is somewhere around 115 pounds.
Cindy Crawford is an example of an exception to the rule: she is a model and she is not stick-thin. She has lots of muscle, and it looks good. She is the kind of woman more magazines need to have on their covers and in their editorials. She projects strength and beauty.
“I am not the skinniest model,” says Cindy, “but I have had success as a model, so I feel more confident putting on a bathing suit and standing in front of a camera. In life, I have all the insecurities anyone has. It’s a cliché, but we’re our own worst critics.”