Junkfood Science: A step towards healthier model figures

May 15, 2008

A step towards healthier model figures

America’s Next Top Model was just announced. The lovely Whitney Thompson is the first winner for the show to look closer to what healthy, average-size women look like. Clothes sizes vary, but she is said to wear a size 10, while the average American woman wears a 14. This may seem a trivial moment, but for many young women at a time in their lives when their figures seem paramount and believe they’re supposed to weigh 100 pounds and look like the thin figures they see in magazines, she brings an especially valuable, and hopefully more healthful, reality. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

And she understands the significance of her being in this competition, saying in an interview, “I'm going to survive this competition because I know that every single woman in America is behind me.” She added: “I’m here because my 13-year-old cousin has no one to look up to. I’m here because 40% of all 9-year-old girls have been on a diet... and it’s so sad, because they have no one to look up to. They have no one to mould themselves after.”

She has a classic beauty and as a fashion model offers a healthier role model for young women. Video here. Congratulations Whitney!

“Plus size models are not beautiful despite the fact that they're full-figured, or beautiful and just happen to be full-figured. Rather, plus-size models are beautiful because they are full-figured.” — Whitney Thompson

It seems like almost daily, the news reports of another celebrity model, star or athlete — one who is seen by our culture as having a perfect, slender, fit body — admitting to having an eating disorder to attain that figure. The list grows as the truth comes out and more come forward, sometimes decades later. They remind us that this degree of thinness is not natural for most women. Remember the bell curve — people with weights that low are not the norm, nor the natural, healthy weight for most.

Sadly, many young people don’t realize that these popularized thin images are not realist, natural or healthy. They feel fat and unacceptable by comparison and begin the journey of trying to be slender, “fit,” “healthy” or whatever the euphemism. But it can take just one diet to send them, too, into life-long battles with their bodies and food or devastating and life-threatening struggles with eating disorders. Thinness isn’t glamorous.

Christina Ricci is the latest celebrity to admit to struggling with anorexia. As she told Now Magazine today: ‘If you choose to let go of your self-consciousness and insecurities about physical appearance, then you’ll get to a place where you are present to see the world and enjoy yourself.’

Bookmark and Share