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So apparently you now need to be skinny to promote glasses

Bianca O'Neill

Images via victoriabeckham.com

Sigh.

Another day, another fashion campaign depicting unhealthy body shapes for no reason at all.

Over the weekend, past Spice Girl and current fashion designer, Victoria Beckham released a series of campaign images to promote her new VB Eyewear collection, which in turn elicited much outrage online. The cause of the flurry of commentary? Unfortunately, the model used in the campaign appears to be incredibly underweight.

This is a particularly concerning campaign image; an image that slots seamlessly into the well-worn narrative of an industry-wide problem. Particularly concerning, because this is an ad for glasses… and, as far as I know, you don’t need to be thin to fit into a pair of designer glasses.

Beyond the obvious fact that VB has made a terrible PR decision here by instantly alienating a huge market sector who may have purchased her collection, it’s true that her history hiring models has been disappointing at best.

In 2015, she was criticised for sending ‘ultra-skinny models’ down the runway, and again for models who looked like ‘skin and bones’ in 2016. Beckham herself has even written about her own battle with an eating disorder in her 2011 autobiography.

Lithuanian model, Giedre Dukauskaite, who is featured in the campaign appears to be a healthy but trim weight on her Instagram profile, uploading a picture just yesterday, hashtagged #paris. However, frequent fluctuations in weight of many models (who start out very thin in the first place), have become the focus of an industry where the pressure to be stick thin has become a commonplace expectation of the job.

Over here at Fashion Journal, we support women of all body types – and that includes naturally skinny gals! – but it’s clear from the oversized clothing hanging off this model’s frame that there was at least a question to be asked about health and wellbeing on set.

It’s a question that at least one country is keen on answering: France passed a bill last year banning models under a certain BMI from being photographed. French minister for social affairs and health, Marisol Touraine, said of the ban: “Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour.”

It really is no surprise that it is estimated that 85-95% of anorexia and bulimia sufferers are women, considering the images we are bombarded with across social media and ad campaigns daily. And now, apparently, models have to be super skinny to promote glasses too.

Sigh.

Follow Bianca’s fashion commentary over at @_thesecondrow.

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