For many young girls, the film highlight of the year is the forthcoming big screen adaptation of the fairy tale “Cinderella”. Kenneth Brannah, the film’s creator, has blasted critics’ claims that actress Lily James’ waist has been photoshopped.
It seems to me he’s missing the point. Whether the images have been doctored or not, Lily’s waist looks ridiculously thin, setting a completely unattainable ideal for the millions of girls who will go to see the film. Most of these girls will never have a waist like this, and in their quest to reach this ‘ideal’, some will deprive themselves of the very foods they need to develop into healthy adults.
But I suppose that in a modern world, where young girls are bombarded with pictures of impossibly slim models and actresses, a Prince who falls in love with a normal sized girl would be a fairy tale too hard to believe in.
And now, we even have mannequins with protruding collar bones and ribs. WHISTLES, the upmarket fashion chain so beloved by our Duchess of Cambridge, has come under heavy fire from eating disorder charities for promoting this image as an ideal of womanhood. This stereotype can be extremely harmful to some, and while the fashion industry doesn’t directly cause eating disorders, it has a powerful influence that is highly toxic to some vulnerable young people.
What the fashion and show biz industries need to recognise is that icons, models and mannequins should reflect the reality of people’s different shapes and sizes, heights, widths and builds.
Eating disorders have quadrupled in the last ten years. It’s time for those who ‘feed’ these disorders to assume some responsibility.