Topshop is in troubled waters with industry watchers: after promising it would not use size 0 models, a photo of model Codie Young has sparked quite a debate on whether it’s not doing precisely that. The photo in question has been removed, but the controversy ranges on.
The Daily Mail reports that Young, who has always been very thin, shocked the industry with her gaunt, stick-thin image in the new Topshop campaign.
The photo that got all this started is also attached to this article. It shows the model with a tiny waist, bony shoulders and a seemingly disproportionate body for how slender she is.
Critics even said she had oversized sunglasses on to hide her “sunken eyes,” a tell-tale sign of malnourishment.
While Topshop was quick to pull the picture from the official website and replace it with another one, in which Young appears healthier, it firmly denies that the model has an eating disorder.
Not that critics are convinced, come to think of it. Several voices have already said that Topshop is sending a very wrong message to all women – and teens, in particular – by using such thin models in their campaigns, and no amount of denying will change that.
“[She] clearly looks like a size zero. A disturbing picture of a stick-thin model can cause problems with young girls, who may try to copy them. Topshop should know better,” Karen Easthall, who runs an anorexia support group in Norfolk, says.
Helen Davies, who carries research in eating disorders, believes the same: many women will look at Young’s waifish frame and assume that’s what they should aspire to.
To get to this weight, they may also stop eating – and then Topshop would be directly responsible for ruining their life.
As noted above, the chain store has already rubbished claims that Young is any way unhealthy, saying in a statement it plans to stick with her for the rest of the campaign.
On her part, the model is speaking out on her blog, clearly annoyed that “so-called professionals” are talking about her as if she’s not even a real person.
“Throughout my entire childhood I was called anorexic and people would ask if I was bulimic. You know what, some people are just naturally skinny and even if I tried to put on weight it wouldn’t matter, because it doesn’t matter what I eat, I don’t put it on. I love food,” she writes.
“And finally, yes okay I maybe am American size 0-2 and a UK size eight, so what. There are overweight/obese people who are a size 18 but no one says anything to them because you don’t want to offend them,” Young adds.