HuffPo Columnist Claims That Only Gay Men Find Super-Skinny Models Attractive

Illustration for article titled HuffPo Columnist Claims That Only Gay Men Find Super-Skinny Models Attractive

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?"

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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]

DISCUSSION

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This particular argument, that women should value their bodies based on what men like needs to die a painful death. It's counterproductive, it's wrong, and it's actually part of the problem because it's about external valuing that doesn't come from you, the person. So no matter what, it's a set up for failure. What if straight men -don't- find your body attractive? Or what if some do and some don't? If that's all you're basing it on, you're going to end up insane.

ED's are so much more complicated than anyone ever wants to admit. And I'm appalled that a therapist who specialized in them in them would take such an incredibly unuanced and unhelpful tactic.

The fashion industry and these images don't cause ED's. They can be triggers for them, they are part of the cultural pressure for women to maintain beauty ideals, and they do promote a lot of extremely unhealthy ideas about bodies and what women should be valued for.

Which all exists in the -entire- culture, the way we socialize girls, the way we value women, the way our bodies are commodified and treated as public property. The way we're blamed for not meeting whatever arbitrary standard has been idealized, and then further blamed for being effected by all of it at all. It's a vicious, horrible, cycle.

But you can't fix it by claiming it has anything to do with gay male designers, and you definitely can't do anything about it by telling women that straight men prefer whatever else. It's not true, for one thing, and it should never be what your self worth is hinged on anyway.

Sorry, lot to say on this subject today. I've been in treatment for ED and Body Dysmorphia for most of this year and I'm sick to death of how much people don't understand about it, and how stupidity like the article derail something that's a painful and difficult disorder to deal with, without making it seem like we all either should blame the media...or blame ourselves. It's all a hot mess that works in tandem to fuck us up. #fashion