Matt Lauer grills Fashionistas on "too skinny" models

Check out how Matt Lauer grills the Council of Fashion Designers of America during Today Show interview (scroll down and click on launch video lower left).

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(Sample images from the Fall 2006 fashion shows)

As a father of three, he wore his heart on his sleeve in this one. I agree with him wholeheartedly, as expressed in my post detailing the CFDA lame recommendations for correcting the too skinny model problem for the upcoming NY Fashion shows in February 2007.

Over the weekend, I pondered this whole topic a bit more and I have some questions for the CFDA:

What took you so long?

In the 90s, the acceptable model size was 8. Please tell us what size the designers are making for the upcoming NY shows? Size 4 or 6 tops? Maybe even a few size 0’s stuck in?

Your entire industry looked the other way until in the Fall of 2006, when two young lives (shown below) were lost to anorexia during your fashion week. Spain stood up and said “ENOUGH,” set BMI requirements, where was the CFDA then?


(Luisel and Ana Carolina, both models, both died of anorexia this fall).

Even after this horrific event, it took the CFDA 5 months to get organized, only to conveniently announce your recommendations a few weeks before the NY shows. What took five months? Why was this not announced sooner? With all due respect, I could have written your plan in about an hour.

The heat is on CFDA, and if I have anything to say about it, it’s not letting up until you take a serious look at the industry you have continually supported and created. You know as well as I do, this is an industry wide problem that goes something like this;

The modeling agencies feed you the girls.

The girls go along with the starvation rules.

The designers make clothes to fit only certain body types.

Around and around we go.

And, how dare you allow these continuous quotes about how these girls are “naturally thin.” Maybe 1 in 10 are freaks of nature, but the rest are starving themselves. You all know it. This just kills me.

Finally CFDA, please take a look at message you are sending to young girls. If you’d like to see more, google “Ana & Mia” to see all the Thinspiration images featuring model after model, hailed as heroes by our young adolescents.

Girls are shouting PRO-ANOREXIA!

These days having a feeding tube is a status symbol.

They fear FAT, they fear it more than losing their parents, cancer and nuclear war.

Please step up your efforts.

Their lives depend on it.


Finally, to my loyal readers: Girls, you play a major part in this issue as well. Every dollar you spend on fashion magazines only feeds their cause. Haven’t we have all established by now that reading fashion magazines only makes us feel like crap? Consider ditching your subscriptions and telling your girlfriends to do the same.

You have a choice you know, and as a group we can make a difference.

Leah is counting on us.

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23 Responses to Matt Lauer grills Fashionistas on "too skinny" models

  1. Jen says:

    “A lot of the girls who work the runway are genetically thin. You go backstage and you see a lot of girls eating a lot of food and they’re not gaining weight,” Kolb said.
    -Because they are purging, over exercising, or both.

    I think “policing and punishment” is exactly what’s needed. These guidelines aren’t going to help anything. Someone needs to do something drastic before more girls die. Or maybe more girls will have to die before they really decide to do something.

  2. Danyel says:

    Isn’t that always how it works? People don’t take action until it’s too late…..
    What I want to see, is not only taking the pressure of Thin- but provided help for low-income families. They want recovery too, ya know.

  3. Jen says:

    So I just watched that last video that you did and you said that you loved yoga. Do you take a class or use tapes? I need some good yoga tips. I think I want to try it.

  4. M. says:

    It really pissed me off that the ‘professionals’ on the panel were so wishy washy on the issue. Let’s all be delusional and agree that “awareness” is going to solve everything. I don’t think so. You can’t tell me people in the industry aren’t “aware” of eating disorders. That’s bullshit. And the fact that the woman from Renfrew didn’t have any guts sucked.

  5. mamavision says:

    Great point Danyel. The documentary Thin by Lauren Greenfield does a great job bringing light to the topic of lack of health care for ED for low income families, and even for those who have insurance which runs out before recovery is completed.

  6. mamavision says:

    M. : The women from Renfrew shocked me. When I saw her name on the list, I was like “wow they have some heavy hitters” on this panel. It’s like they just have her on the panel for show. And yes, the people in the industry are MORE than aware of the issue – they perpetuate it DAILY.

  7. Loaded Monkeys says:

    There are far more women who die from diabetes related complications than anorexia.

  8. Mitch McDad says:

    Nice work. I have two little girls, and the their future of dealing with the pressure to be skinny, pretty and perfect and live up to unrealistic, airbrushed, standards, scares the crap out of me.

    If you could also rail against Bride mags, we men would be eternally grateful. :)

  9. emilyishere says:

    wow that was so good. i can really understand what you’re saying. sometimes i feel to fat and i feel really low in self esteem. but then i think about my life and how wonderful life is sometimes if you just try. and i eat. i just don’t see how anybody could start themself, but the fact they do is so upsetting and you really said it how it was and i respect that. you’re someone to look up to for me. thank you, mamavision…

    and if anybody here doesn’t mind, could you check out and comment on my blog? it’s nothing compared to this, though. NOTHING.

    if you go on my blog, don’t just read it–PLEASE comment.

    thank you so much, mama vision, because you really told me how it was and my parents just refuse to do that. thank you. :-)

  10. emilyishere says:

    um, i just looked at “thin” the documentary. and i’m crying right now. i can’t believe that people would actually do that and that there’s people out there…and they’re hurting like that…

    society today is just so…….i don’t know. i’m not angry at the girls anymore, seeing what they’re going through, seeing how they feel. i’m angry at the world. not the whole world. but those crappy fashion magazines and those stupid, thin models who just flaunt their “beauty.” thin isn’t beautiful. heck, i don’t care if they’re obese. as long as they’re happy. my friend is going to be a model, as i said. and i just can’t even think about her going through that, saying, “i want to be thin. i have to be thin,” and eventually going to that extent of trying to be beautiful. this world can be so cruel. yet it can be so good. thank you, mama vision. you realy made me see what … what i never would have seen. thank you.

  11. Jennie says:

    Thankyou, that’s all I can say. I cried when I read about Leah, It is so hard to remember, with every skipped meal, that this can kill. I am a long term victim of BDD, nervosa and Bulimia. I escaped hospitalization by knowing how to “play” the doctors and my friends. It is directly related to my poor health and injuries now. It is like a drug, the control, the power.

    But, I am getting my life back. I am eating again (two meals! I hope to bring it up to three) I haven’t purged in a few weeks, and I am finally starting to appreciate myself. I refuse to be defined by my conditions but to rise above them and feel beautiful for who i am.

    I think the more people who actively work towards communicating the real issues, like you, the sooner changes will start happening. I think the pendulum is going to swing the other way soon. I hope so.

  12. mamavision says:

    Loaded Monkey: With all due respect, comparing anorexia to diabetes, is like comparing apples to oranges. Irrelevant to this conversation, and frankly this is disrespectful to this audience struggling with ED.

  13. Holly says:

    That’s so sad :'(
    I can’t believe this.
    You’re a great person, as I’ve said before.
    I hope to help you in your fight against Ana & Mia.

  14. Loaded Monkeys says:

    I disagree mamavision. The terrible symptoms of Type-2 diabetes (kidney failure, heart attacks, the loss of limbs etc) are caused by an eating disorder – chronic over eating.

    30 years ago type-2 diabetes like anorexia was virtually non-existant. Both under eating and over eating disorders have been on the rise, however far more people chronically over eat.

    People are constantly bombarded with images of junkfood by the media. And often they over eat because they use food as a comfort or a drug to feel better.

    In other words they overeat for psychological reasons just like people undereat for psychological reasons.

  15. Jen says:

    You don’t know anything about diabetes. My mom was diagnosed and she certainly doesn’t over eat. She eats normally, and she’s not even fat. And plus, not all binge eaters are diabetic. So that basically proves you wrong.

  16. Courtney says:

    Watching this video was upsetting. I wonder what influence is in play over the three representatives standing up for the CFDA guidelines. What a joke. The guidelines are nothing more than something that looks good on paper to relieve pressure on their behalf. Now they can say they’re doing something when questioned. That’s great for them.

    Education? Snacks? Is this a joke? It has to be. Because I highly doubt that the lack of education is what drives designers to hire emaciated, anorectics and also doubt that the unavailability of snacks is why the models go hungry.

    My distorted perception is that maintaining a low weight below 18.5 must not be that bad for you. There seems to be an abundance of models that are doing just fine. They’re everywhere in magazines, tv, movies, runways. We don’t see the fainting spells, exhaustion, sickness, irritability, nausea, pain…all unavoidable components of the disease, so I think maybe they aren’t there. Maybe once I beat my body into submission the painful side effects will go away. [That’s what Ana conveys-“Know that the pain will pass…and when it does, you will be stronger, happier, and more aware”-I’ve been waiting for the pain to pass, but it just becomes worse]

    I heard this somewhere and I’m sorry, but I can’t recall who the quote is from…
    “The job of clothing is to fit us, our job is not to fit the clothing.”

  17. Disagree. says:

    I really despise people who write about this pubicly like so..
    I am 15 and living with an eating disorder, and its not like we choose to have it. It’s not just something that we see pretty pictures of pretty girls in the magazines, and we have to look like that.
    If you ask us questions about WHY we have eating disorders, they’re most likely going to say something about family matters, or things getting out of control in their lives. This is completely tacky of you, blaming the media for everything, thinking you can change the future for little girls everywhere if you ban size 0 models. If you wanted to do something for girls like me with anorexia and bulemia, you’d look into more than just media. You blame the first thing you can think of, which happens to be incorrect. Dont treat girls with this problem like cripples, its not like we’re emotional wrecks with no lives. We deserve care, not pity; understanding, not assumptions.
    Thank you.

  18. -NONE- says:

    I have to say, the comment above me is very well said. I agree with everything she has to say. And that pretty much goes for me also. I also am a 15 year young female. And yes, I do have an eating disorder and you know what, it’s not my fault. I didn’t choose to have it, I try extremely hard to get myself into a nice fit body, but it’s not working. I’m in high school, and I know what it’s like to be a teen. I must say that I don’t know anyone in my school that is anorexic because they are trying to be like the models on the cat-walk. You just can’t blame those model’s for what other people want to do. Nobody is forcing them to be skinny, they just let the opinion’s of other’s force them into making themselves anorexic.
    I can’t stand to see people talk about skinny people, especially when they have no clue how hard it is to go through life being so skinny, especially as a teen. You see every girl with a nice tight body, that has some nice tight clothes, except for you. Whenever I go to the store, I could never find a pair of pants that fit’s me. I am also very tall. Whenever I do find clothes that fit, they are extremely expensive. No one knows the things that skinny people have to go through. So do not judge any one, because no matter how much you may think you understand, you really and truly don’t.
    I have been made fun of so many times because of how skinny I am, and it truly and really hurts. I cry so many times, and try really hard to gain weight, but I never do. =[

  19. steph says:

    These girls look great…

  20. To the 15 year olds says:

    No one is making “fun” of skinny girls. They are trying to establish incentives to keep more models from DYING. I hope you can understand that. Models have died from the pressure and pursuit of weight loss.

    I hope that you grow up as people and become your natural weight (whatever that might be). But do not get high and mighty when you dont quite understand what is going on. In the military you cannot go over a certain weight range or you can/will be discharged. In the modeling industry they are just trying to have a safety guideline to help girls who might just kill themselves if they arent pushed to keep their weight up.

  21. Pingback: Dead Girls Walking | Body Image Activist, Eating Disorders mamaVISION

  22. Me says:

    I really hope that someday the fashion industry realises that not everyone looks like these models. The boundaries of the fashion world should be pushed, allowing people to see more plus size models walking the run way and people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. I get upset when people comment on the weight of models because some can’t help being slim. No matter how hard I try i can’t seem to gain weight.

  23. 16 years old, and I am going to college to become a teacher/ psychologist. My best friend is going into modeling, she is naturally thin. However no where close to this 88 lbs. I am going to try to get into commercial modeling, already have some gigs. However my mom wants me to wait until I am at least 18, I understand why. At that age I should know better, and have accepted myself. I am going into this for a goal. I want to change, I am by no means a size 0 but I can wear a size 2 dress. However my weight fluxgates from 125-145 mostly muscle. I have a height of 5’5 a 32 in waist and a bust of a 34c this info I feel I must enclose, when a girl says she is tiny, most people think she is flat or has no figure. I am very shy about my body, but it is not shame. It is the fact I do not think a 16 year old girl should be parading her body around for the entire world to see. I have been told I will not make it anywhere, because I am to short, and that I am not tiny enough for runway. Honestly, I do not care; I am beautiful the way I am made, and am hoping that even having one photo-shoot with me being not the typical model will show other young girls. “You’re beautiful” I am typing this reply, because your rant touched me; but I also would like to give an insight. I have suffered from a mild case of anorexia, but that went with my depression from being bullied in 6th grade. I read fashion magazines, and point out what other people may see and focus on what is “liked” then I focus on what I think is airbrushed and what effects people. I realize that a lot of girls take this to heart, but no one honestly looks that perfect. Especially healthily.
    I am going into music, and modeling. Mainly music, teaching and psychology. I am hoping that one day, somewhere… I can make a difference, and i may be petite. but by no means is it natural to be that skinny. Some girls like my friend Alex are naturally thin though. And she is healthy!

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