by Florence W Deems
Copyright © 2014

RANT! How women are portrayed by the fashion industry! (VERY LONG)

I have 6-7 FaceBook "friends" who are professional photographers, each of whom does fashion photography at least part of the time. But, funny thing is, they are so busy with their profession that they rarely, if ever, visit my FaceBook page. BUT, in spite of this, I'm going to rant on anyway!

I subscribe to the New York Times - why I don't know - habit, I guess. It's a newspaper devoted to the rich and I'm not rich! Today, August 23, 2014, they published their quarterly fashion magazine - and it's a tome that must weigh at least 10 lbs (pardon the exaggeration). But I decided to look through it, even though I usually dislike the current fashions and could never afford to spend a minimum of $1000 an outfit anyway.

It's the way that women are portrayed that I object to. Many of them, especially the Caucasian models, look vacuous, like they're half-to-totally stoned and not at all engaged in life. They're just putting in their time and it's boring, but they appear so they can get paid mega bucks. Maybe their not-present stares are because they're dreaming about what they're going to spend their money on? I doubt it.

Also, they have full lips and are usually portrayed with lips parted just enough to show a little bit of teeth. Mouth-breathers - doctors know that this type of facial presentation means a person has sinus problems, at the very least. Another sign of unhealthiness is when you can see some white below the pupils of the eyes. In Oriental medicine, this condition is known as san paku and is an indication of health problems that will become worse down the road in a few or more years.

Yet, as a woman, I'm supposed to admire these gals, and as a teen, I might aspire to become a fashion model, too.

I found only one model, who is wearing a very expensive wristwatch, who looks like she's healthy, fully present, engaged with the viewer, and interested in life in general. But strange thing - the reflection off the face of the watch on her wrist makes the details look washed out. It's a good thing that there's a close-up of the watch itself in all its diamond glistening glory on the facing page!

A few pages further on, however, I found one of the ghastliest portrayals ever! The model has almost no color in her face and the way she's made up makes it look as if she has NO eyebrows and even NO eyelashes! Health professionals, especially the ones who do alternative methods, know that when a person loses eyebrows and eyelashes, this means they're really sick - perhaps they're undergoing chemo. Why oh why is this gal portrayed this way?

I'm addressing only faces here, as the rest of their scrawny bodies are covered up for winter. Young women, especially teens who don't know better, may aspire to adopt one of these unhealthy looks!

Thank you for coming this far! What I'd like a model to look like if she were exhibiting a product of mine - she must look healthy - color in her face, eyelashes and eyebrows present, but not too overly-made up - no horrid blues, greens, purples, yellows on her upper eyelids. If her mouth is open it's because she's smiling - not a false smile of the mouth only, but a full smile that engages her eyes, too. But horrors, we can't have this, now can we? If she gives us a fully engaged smile, she'll develop crinkles around her eyes - and that's a no-no in the fashion industry!

But I want my model to look fully engaged with the viewer, happy, healthy and full of life! WHY can't the fashion industry portray women like this, instead of making them look almost like mannikins? Objects!

Thank you for lasting this long. I doubt I'll get any FaceBook "likes," but I don't care, lol. If you did last this long, however, I really would appreciate a "like" just to show you agree and care.

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I did receive a few replies. One pro had this to say: "Good points, but you shouldn't be talking to the photographers. Talk to the art directors, the brand managers, the editorial directors, etc. The photographer is hired to take the photos, but rarely is the photographer the only one with input on the models that are selected. If this was about portraits, that's one thing. But in fashion, the model is a clothes hangar. I don't think they want you to even pay attention to the model. If you do, you are missing the clothes"

Another pro reminded me of the catalogs from places like LL Bean and The Gap. Since they are selling sports and other clothing for an active lifestyle, their models look healthy and engaged with life. So it must just be those New York City fashions for the rich whose models just act like they're not there.

The other people who responded all said they didn't like that bored, not-there look. However, I doubt any of our opinions will make a difference. The haute couture world will continue with its artificial take on an artificial lifestyle.

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