Tyra has her say on weight debate

NATALIE REILLY
Last updated 12:33 16/05/2012
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WEIGHTY TOPIC: Tyra Banks has heralded Vogue's decision to ban models who may have eating disorders.

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OPINION: Tyra Banks has pulled an Ashley Judd and written a well-meaning and yet ever-so-slightly hypocritical open letter on the Daily Beast news website to all the girls who think they're fat. Well, kind of. Tyra says she wants to 'celebrate' the fact that 'Vogue's 19 international editions have pledged to ban models from their pages who "appear to have an eating disorder,".

 Now, we don't want to sound overly cynical or anything but .. just how can anyone prove that someone does or does not 'appear' to have an eating disorder? For years now, every time a model is asked if they're suffering from anorexia or disordered eating they deny it. And then? Well, then the problem seems to neatly fold itself up and go away. Until years later we find out that's exactly what was happening.

And how can Vogue mandate this when Anna Wintour famously told Oprah Winfrey in 1998 she needed to shed nine kilograms to look palatable on their cover? Not an anonymous model who has to sell clothes with her body - harsh as that may sound - Oprah Winfrey - a woman we already know is curvy and we're ok with that! And not to nit-pick but Anna Wintour is still the editor, is she not?

Tyra writes: "People get upset with you if you're a very thin model. What many don't know is that a certain sample size has been set by the industry"

Now, Tyra, this is a strange logic. Because that 'certain sample size' is not some sort of unbreakable mathematical theorem - it's a culturally determined number. And when you throw up your hands and act like it's concrete, well, you're sort of adding to the problem.

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 We are glad you're talking about these issues - especially this one about how models are getting even thinner

 "If I was just starting to model at age 17 in 2012, I could not have had the career that I did. I would've been considered too heavy. In my time, the average model's size was a four or six.  Today you are expected to be a size zero. When I started out, I didn't know such a size even existed."

 But to congratulate Vogue and act like the war is over, so to speak, kind of reminds us of the time when Barack Obama became president and people started saying everyone was living in a post-racial America.

The former supermodel then concludes by saying that mothers everywhere need to set the right example for their daughters by loving their bodies.

Which is a great point but ... it also conveniently places the responsibility for the current tsunami of disordered eating we're experiencing in the home - not anywhere else. And that's a shame because Tyra? When you've produced and starred in America's Next Top Model for close to a decade - a TV show that elevates girls for their skeletal beauty, like, literally awards them prizes for it, well, your sentiments ring a little hollow.

 That is all.

 the full open letter is here.

- Daily Life

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