Saturday, December 19, 2009

When Size 4 is Too Big

"When Size 4 is too Big: A Curvy Model's Struggle to Fit In" -- is the title of an article about model Lara Stone in January's Vogue. It begins, "when you're a model, nobody calls you fat. 'What they're saying is curvy, but you know they mean fat'," so says "curvy" model Stone, who stands FIVE FEET TEN and wears a size FOUR. (capitals come courtesy of me.)

Stone's had a hard time being,as Vogue writer Rebecca Johnson says, " a good two sizes larger than the minnows currently walking the runway". According to Stone, stylists whisper about her behind her back, and she very often fears being "canceled" because of her size.

initially, she tried to lose weight, using diet and exercise and briefly, pills, but nothing worked and the pills gave her heart palpitations. eventually, she leaned heavily on alcohol until she'd wake up shaking and in a need of a drink simply to function. Stone checked herself into rehab is now eight months sober and modeling as a size four.

According to Rebecca Johnson, the size zero trend has been "rough on both the models, who find it nearly impossible to maintain that body type past the age of seventeeen, and the magazines that want to show clothes on models who aren't painfully thin." She adds that there is a health initiative to raise awareness about eating disorders, but "some girls remain worryingly underweight".

Johnson continues by saying that designers defend the trend, saying, says Johnson, that "clothes look better on a coat hanger". (i wasn't sure these last two paragraphs really fit into this post, but i HAD to include that quote.)

Johnson suggests that things may be changing in the modeling world, as Lara Stone is actually becoming an extremely popular model with some top designers, photographs and editors. Famed photographer Mario Testino says, "i have never thought of Lara as fat... It reminds me of when i started to work with Gisele, everyone used to think that she was too voluptuous. Look where she is now."

As I read the article, i realized it had no irony. Didn't anyone who read or edited this article before print think that 5'10 and a size four was actually really skinny? It seemed the reader was supposed to read along, feeling that Lara Stone, as Karl Lagerfeld says , has "a gorgeous woman's body" and Vogue editor Virginia Smith who says it's "refreshing" to see her on the runway. And to understand how people thought Gisele was too voluptous. Giselle?

The article ends with Stone saying, "People still tell me I'm fat, but when i look in the mirror, that's not what I see." WHO TELLS HER SHE'S FAT?

Yes, yes, yes, this article raises MANY QUESTIONS and MANY hairs on the back of my neck. Here's one question -- What is this article doing in Vogue, home of the skinniest models on earth? (and perhaps the skinniest editor-in-chief, anna wintour, as well)It almost seems like Vogue is giving lip service, "see we get the problem, and look how open-minded we are -- running an article about a size FOUR model," but then i think they think it absolves them and they can go back to what they really believe, skinny is better. Heck, just turn the page. do i see any "curvy" models in the rest of Vogue? what do you think?

somehow i feel like that size four model(although i'm a size 8) but i'm also Vogue. yes, i say i feel perfect at my good healthy weight. i used to diet and take pills and drink alcohol, hoping to stay skinny. i went to rehab and i'm nearly eight months sober. yes, i know that it's unrealistic and dangerously unhealthy to reach for unnaturally low body weights. look at me, i'm agreeing. but look closer, and see what i'm thinking.


  1. Interesting post.

    These struggles are so difficult. Cow thanks Weight for her support about NOT going to the neighbor's house for's sad to be a hermit just to avoid feeling out of control around food. But sometimes it's all you can do.

    Very impressed that you have beaten this problem.


  2. I just looked up Lara Stone and her measurements are 33/23/35. Now, in my mind, that is very thin for a girl who is that height. I am a US 8 which is a size 12 here in Australia and that is fine by me.

    The fashion industry is full of men who want women to have the body like a boy and the face of a girl. It is not right.

    Imagine Karl Lagerfield even making a comment about how a woman should look. He only sees women as things to dress and nothing else. He does not even like women. He looks like beef jerky these days by the way. I love this little website someone did.

    Vogue are so far up themselves I cannot believe it.

  3. I googled Lara Stone after reading this post and there was an article that referred to her as "fashions favorite full figured model"!!!!
    GAAAAA! If she is full figured then I must be a land monster!

  4. Full figured....yeah right. It is really sad to see a world where 4 is considered curvy. Jeez!!!!

  5. Topiary; i would rather be okay by myself than miserable with others. being miserable with others really does make me feel SO miserably alone. when i'm alone, it's important to remind myself that i'm not ALWAYS alone.

    holidays are completely over-done in my mind. way too much hooplah. i find THAT depressing. hey, what did you decide to do for xmas. or haven't you decided yet?

    linda; i also think the fashion industry is full of women (particularly editors) who want to see women with boyish figures and pretty faces. and then they want to look like that themselves. i don't really understand it.

    what a funny, funny website! thank you.

    lisalisa; a full-figured model?! wow. i wonder how sickly many of the size 0 models are? it can't be easy to maintain. so, so unhealthy. it's really surreal if you think of it.

    landmonster, huh? it IS hard to keep our own sanity in the midst of a warped world.

    frugalista; i wonder how anyone could look at lara stone and think she's fat or a full-figured model. i thought plus-size/full-figured models were about a size 12 and over (still just a normal size). can you imagine if that's the new trend --plus size models are a 4 and over? too, too, too crazy. too crazy.

  6. So I constantly hear that media, namely skinny models and actresses do not CAUSE eating disorders. Okay. Well maybe if I had not learned from the radio, tv, newspaper, billboards, books, magazines, uh - EVERYTHING, that super skinny was GOOD and any other size was BAD, I would have been able to overcome the OCD/genetic/chemical whatever problem without the whole giant self loathing and food INSANITY. starving and binging and blah blah....I feel aggravated when people suggest that the role the media plays in EDs is over rated bc I ACTIVELY FOUGHT THE INFLUENCE and it still crept in....It is such an ENORMOUS TRIGGER and even if it does not CAUSE eds it certainly contributes. And you can't just NEVER look at any of this stuff. From the day you are born it is there.
    Sure I understand that there were cases of eating disorders in the middle ages but so? That proves NOTHING. There is certainly a LOT more now. There are soo many women who do not live up to their potential bc they put too much energy into hating their body and trying to change no avail.

    None of this makes sense anymore. And designers who say clothes look better on hangers/skinny chics - well that is a ridiculous statement. I mean so? maybe to YOU but only REAL PEOPLE BUY CLOTHES or even see any of this.

    OH it is ART? well go put it in a gallery and don't call it fashion or clothes!

    and the whole - less fabric saves us money - i don't buy that either. LIke these giant fashion houses can't afford another 3 yards of material. whatever.

    smells like misogyny.

    24 inches waist!!! my god. For an average woman that is brutal.
    for a girl entering puberty that is terrifying...why should it be "bad" to GROW?!?!?!

  7. This is pretty funny that Topiary, along with all your other readers, googled Lara to see what she looked like.

    Glad to know Cow not the only obsessive one around here!!! :)

    Cow is feeling so out of control about food right now. Feels bad to turn down the invite but really feel as if Cow's head will explode if she has to deal with one more social/food situation.

    Again, Cow thanks you for the support, so helpful when there is so much societal pressure to "socialize"


  8. Ironically, in the Teen Vogue magazines (and yes, here I am a woman in her mid twenties still buying and looking throught the fashions of a teens magazine, but that's totally besides the point!); they are AWLWAYS running articles about eating disorders and people who have taken their eating disorder "too far." Teen Vogue tries to look as though they want your girls and you woman who read this magazine of theirs, to embrace their bodies and love their natural size... AND YET... You can always find an emeaciated modeling grading the pages of a fashion layout, practically one page after Teen Vogue's plea for young girls to love themselves and respect their bodies...
    I highly doubt that the majorit of young models in Teen Voge are actually "embracing their natural sizes," and taking proper care of themselves on a nutrition level.

    Such B.S., if you ask me!

  9. topiary cow; in fact, i am quite sure you are absolutely not the only obsessive one around!!!!

    the most important thing is to take care of yourself. all the holiday food events become really burdensome. i used to work for a company that had like ten big parties -- for clients, for us, for vendors, for our own small group... it was awful. ugh, and i was bulimic at the time. it was awful.

    but i digress. nurture yourself, nourish yourself and do the things you love.

    THE CREATION OF A BEAUTIFUL LIFE: thank you for writing. heck, i'm buy VOGUE -- glad to know someone else does too.

    it drives me nuts that i vehemently protest all the pressures to be thin and yet, i'm flipping those skinny pages.

    it is weird -- all the articles about accepting your natural body and loving yourself the way you are, followed by page after page of 5'10 and size 0. what's it about?

    i guess it bugs me that i see it in myself -- i tell my nieces to love themselves and leave their thighs alone and yet, what standard do i set for myself?

    look forward to reading your blog

  10. Weight,
    Cow thanks you for your thoughtful comments...o my god, 10 parties at your former employer! That is truly horrendous.

    Plus the thought that SOME people would look forward to that....

    Cow has started reading your blog from the oldest first to see what sorts of ideas and thoughts you've had, so far Cow is finding this extremely helpful, and thanks you for "letting it all hang out" so that others may stumble upon your journey and learn from you.

    Holiday Moo!