Irene Rubaum-Keller, a psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders, took to her Huffington Post blog today to admonish the fashion industry for sending super-skinny models down the runway, asking "Who finds this attractive other than gay men?"
Rubaum-Keller begins by recapping the recent Ralph Lauren PhotoShop scandal and noting Karl Lagerfeld's "No one wants to see curvy women," comment before posing an image of an extremely thin model, whom she deems "neither healthy nor attractive," and asserting, based on nothing at all, that the only people who would find said image to be attractive would have to be gay men.
I don't doubt that Rubaum-Keller's intentions were good, and that she was attempting to call out the fashion industry for continuing to push super-thin images on the runways and in magazines, but that one line really bothers me, as claiming that "only gay men" are drawn to such an aesthetic is both ridiculous and insulting. Her argument is baseless and overlooks the fact there are millions of men and women, both gay and straight, who work in the fashion industry and promote and celebrate these images, as well as millions of people outside of the industry who admire and attempt to emulate said images in an attempt to fit into a somewhat impossible mold. To assume that only gay men would find super skinny models to be attractive (or that all gay men would find super-skinny models to be attractive at all) is absurd and unfair and based on nothing but sweeping generalizations.
The notion that super-thin automatically equals beautiful is an issue that the fashion industry may propagate, but it's also an issue that has long since been absorbed by the general public, and to undo this type of thinking is going to take more than changes on the runway and in the magazines, though continuing to push for those things may prove to be quite helpful in the end. To blame gay men for all that is wrong with the fashion industry and the public's struggle with weight and beauty, however, certainly isn't helping anyone.
Would You Buy An Overweight Barbie [Huffington Post]