Saturday, March 10, 2007

Earth to Bennetton:



I've been walking by a jumbo poster of this Benetton advertisement for about two weeks now, both with Adinah and without her, and I'm thinking,'How the hell am I supposed to explain this to my four-year-old daughter?' Should I tell her, 'Some people don't eat enough.' Or "Some people get paid a lot of money to eat too little?' Or should I just cut to the chase? 'Well, honey, patriarchy sucks and the fashion industry is a bitch.'

Seriously.

Images like this are so everywhere that I usually have to look twice and then ask myself, 'Okay, is this worse than the rest?' And it is. These females of indeterminate age look so sick that looking at them makes me feel ill. Surely that is not the effect Benetton wants to have on it's audience.

And alright, okay, full disclosure: I'm a guy. I like skinny women. But I liked J-Lo when she was still a Chicana and she had back. I also thought Aretha was hot because she was big and she made her own clothes and she didn't give a fuck.

For some reason, this image made me think of Paul Newman. You know, the dreamiest guy that ever played a hero (until George Clooney, that is). There's a movie from the seventies where Paul Newman plays a businessman who is defamed by a well-meaning, but careless journalist, and at the end, he tells her his reputation is ruined. "And who do I talk to about that?" he says.

So it is with this picture. Who do I talk to about this? I'm not mad at the models--they're probably nice people, and they're in a f**ked up business. But please Mr. Benetton, what are you saying to my little girl? How am I supposed to explain this carrot and anorexic schtick to her?

6 comments:

more cowbell said...

RightOn. Spain has made a good start by banning models who don't meet a certain criteria for body fat.

You are absolutely right to be concerned at the message being constantly thrown at your daughter. Too many parents don't find out how deeply these images get in there until they notice rib bones, or hear puking in the bathroom after dinner. Good for you to realize early how harmful the potential effects can be.

pat said...

Thanks. I really hope you're wrong and I still have some time too formulate something to say to her about all this dreck. It wasn't a rhetorical question--I really don't know what I'm gonna say to her. Any other moms or pops out there wanna weigh in?
BTW, your handle kills. Many, many records could be greatly improved by more cowbell. Imagine Micheal Bolton with cowbell. He'd be better!

more cowbell said...

Ha! So right about Michael Bolton! Kenny G. too.

emersonpark said...

Good article. The Italians have tried and failed to sort out the mess. There is a glimmer of hope as the fashion industry starts to realise what harm they are doing. But with out enough support from Governments then it will come to nothing. This article from SizeNet may help.

Swerl said...

Explain to her that Marilyn Monroe is still an icon of feminine beauty at a size 16. Also, when she's older, the book MODEL is fascinating. It takes the fashion industry from the 30's to the present. These models are there to not disrupt the "line of the clothes". They are as significant to the industry and the world at large as a well-photographed hamburger on a McDonalds commercial. Very disposable. The "supermodels" became that way because they used their brains (and lots of ambition) to diversify early. Tyra Banks is quoted in the new Entertainment Weekly saying that she planned for her TV career as soon as she started modeling. The rest either are either in business (lending names and designs to products or clothing lines) or transitioning to acting careers. I think stressing that models in and of themselves are meaningless is important. As for beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder, and, I, for one, would walk through a roomful of models for a girl with curves, and I'm hardly alone.

pat said...

Thanks for the comment and link, Emerson. I also read another post at Sizenet about dance training leading to anorexia. Both this and swerl's comment are good arguments for (gently) warning my daughter about occupations which focus on looks rather than achievement....