What would you do if you saw someone attack someone in the street and hurt them? Would you ignore the incident? Would you get your mobile phone out and post the incident on the internet, so that all of your friends could get some entertainment, watching another human being suffer? Or would you speak out and try and stop the crime? What about if you were to see a whole industry dedicated to hurting people, destroying peoples self esteem and making people unhappy? Would you glory in that industry and elevate the stars of it onto pedestals as icons to be emulated? As I read the papers, the answer can only be "Yes".
I am talking about the fashion industry. The more I analyse what this industry stands for, the more I have come to loath it. How do you get on in the fashion industry as a model? Well first, you have to be born with a particular look. Then you have to lead a near anorexic lifestyle. You are valued for your ability to look good in celluloid, but you have no value at all as an individual. And what are those celluloid images used to promote? Products often made in sweatshop conditions in the third world. There is no compassion in fashion. It is a brutal industry. The stars of it are used and then spat out, for every Kate Moss, who seems to have transcended the usual spiritless existence, there are hundreds, if not thousands of wannabees, starving themselves to death, living on the fringes of the industry, waiting for the big break.
And what about the market they sell to? In Mill Hill we have two world centres of excellence for treatment of anorexia. Both Rhiodes Farm and Ellen Mede are full to bursting with teenage girls driven to deaths door by the desire to be thin. Where did they get the idea that "skinny is good"? It is pretty clear to me that when every newspaper, magazine and TV show promotes the idea that "Fat is Bad" the kids haven't really got a chance. How can parents, doctors and psychologists try and convince them, when they are bombarded with images of "beauty" which show emaciated young women?
Now I have no issue at all with anyone wishing to look nice. I don't object to people buying good quality clothes and being attractive. What I do object to is the fact that in the fashion industry there really is only one size. Every so often we get a Sophie Dahl, who is a token to the more normal shape, but this is just a fig leaf for a truly revolting industry. The thing I don't really get is the whole purpose of clothes is to cover us up, to hide our imperfections. They should help us deal with our insecurities, not feed them. Why on earth is it acceptable for the fashion industy to simply see women as coathangers with fat wallets? The thing which puzzles me most is the fact that this horrible industry doesn't feed the fantasies of men, it feeds on the insecurities of women. I don't think I know any man who finds the anorexic look atrtactive or sexy. Few men I know enjoy looking at figures of emaciated fashion models. I was pondering on why we tolerate this revolting industry and the only conclusion I could reach is that we are all so brainwashed that we don't even realise it. I think the first step to counteracting it is to wake up and realise just how horrible the whole thing is.