Beautiful, but at What Price!

by Sarah B. on February 19, 2014 - 8:15pm

Fashion and beauty are part of our every day life. We are judge constantly on our appearance and ignoring others' judgment is extremely difficult. People are ready to do many things to achieve what they want to look like. Whatever they do, some will never like what they see in the mirror.  These people will often develop eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. These problems are very present in the women's fashion industry because girls are constantly comparing themselves with each other. They need to be very slim if they want to be chosen for a photo shoot or a fashion show, but this attitude will not help them achieve good health. This short essay will present two articles. The first one from CBC News in Montreal and the second one from Stephen Evans of the BBC News in Berlin. Also, the BJM (British Medical Journal), a peer reviewed medical journal, will be presented. Finally, the academic discipline related to the journal and the articles will be explained.


According to the article "Quebec 'Charter' Fights Use of Skinny Models" from CBC News in Montreal, resolutions were taken to stop eating disorders in Quebec's fashion industry. To that effect, a charter was created to prevent too thin models and to promote healthier habits. This charter includes the promotion of the diversity of models. Through this way of thinking, different weights, ages and heights should be promoted in order to have models that really represent the society in which we live. The charter's resolutions also include the well being of each individual. We are all different and we should love our body the way it is. This last resolution is a good way to prevent eating disorders. The fashion industry is not the only one who wants to promote healthy body image. The advertising industry is also preoccupied by the body image they want to present to the population.


Quebec is not the only one to have concluded that it is inappropriate to hire and encourage unhealthy models.  A well-known German women's magazine called the "Brigitte Magazine" has choose to regulate the models that will be in the magazine. According to the article " A top German women's magazine has decided to reverse its policy of not using professional fashion models." published in BBC News, Brigitte wants to present a more natural look to her readers. Moreover, she wants to show them that every one can be beautiful. For a few years now, this magazine has worked hard to prevent eating disorders and anorexic models. They want people to identify themselves to the person in the magazine. For this reason, the magazine does not present "zero size" models and prefers to use ordinary people instead of models.


These two articles show us that people in different parts of the world are working against the same problem. For example, in Quebec as well as in Germany, people try to influence others and help them on the same issue. They all want a healthier world with more natural and healthier looking people and they both want to stop eating disorders. Therefore, a national agreement must be establish in order to prevent eating disorders and to promote healthy habits.


The British Medical Journal published the article " Treating Anorexia Nervosa".  This journal is very interesting if you want to know more about what can be done medically to help people with eating disorders. This journal relates to the two above articles because it proposes ways to help people with anorexia and bulimia. These articles from CBC and BBC news only point out the fact that models should be healthier but this journal is interesting because it recommends treatments for them instead of just excluding them from the fashion industry.


The discipline of medicine, define as "the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease" by the Oxford University, relates to the articles because they both promote healthier life. The field of medicine can help archieve this goal. As the definition of medicine states, it will diagnoses the people with eating disorders, treats them and proposes ideas for the prevention of this disease. The last part of the definition of medicine directly concerns the articles because they both try to do prevention by excluding too thin models.


To conclude, I think that the ideas promoted by the two articles should be spread around the world. Health is a very important issue and excluding too thin models like the two articles suggest can only help to promote healthier lifestyles. Moreover, it is very important to help people with anorexic issue and make them realise how beautiful they are compared to what they think. Finally, the discipline of medicine helps and prevents such problems in the fashion industry. The field of nutrition should also be considered in this issue because it can help models establish good and balanced meals.


People seem to believe so many misconceptions on what it means to be beautiful. All the make up, the trendy clothes, and how skinny you are. Though the three of these do not define beauty, only one of them can be truly dangerous. Being skinny doesn’t mean you don’t have have fat either. Everyone has fat, it is just the way we were made, and for a good reason. Your body needs fat reserves to stay healthy, not to mention all the nutritional foods models and self conscious women, and even men, are missing because they are starving themselves. Your argument against the standards that these models are held to is very crucial for the industry and the world to know.
In my experiences I have witnessed the jealousy and danger that this misconceived idea of beauty can bestow on young women. I have seen with my own two eyes countless girls admire these models and despise themselves because they don’t look like them. Just the other day I saw a girl weigh herself at the gym and when she saw the number she decided dinner was out of the question for that night. If these models were realistic in stature, people all over the world wouldn’t be taking such drastic measures to obtain beauty.

Our society is so focused on the ideal requirements that must be met in order to be deemed "beautiful." I think that it is so sad that models, who are indeed very attractive as it is, have to go to such great lengths to keep their jobs. Fortunately, we are becoming more receptive to other forms of beauty and more objected to these unreal body standards, as these articles have shown. Being a woman in our society, I find it very hard sometimes to not compare my own body to those of models in magazines, and it is depressing! However, I think that there are becoming more and more celebrities who people look up to these days that are advocates of the idea that every body is beautiful. The standard is now becoming more about being fit and healthy and active, rather measuring body proportions. Slowly but surely our society is becoming more accepting, but beauty is still such a high priority. I think that it is our younger generation that is of most concern. Teen eating disorders is a huge problem, and there should be more awareness of it.

I found this post rather interesting. I think Quebec is taking a step in the right direction and holding these fashion magazines and agencies accountable for creating this unrealistic view of femininity and body type. There is absolutely no reason for a woman who is 5’8” and weighs 110 pounds to think that she is overweight for the fashion industry. The industry should be preaching health and a healthy weight for your height, not being able to fit in their sample clothing, which let’s be honest, no one could probably fit in. This perpetuates the eating disorder culture and it really needs to change. I applaud Quebec at trying to change this vicious cycle of poor self esteem and a constant feeling of inadequacy.

I strongly believe image is overrated. There’s a difference between living a healthy lifestyle and keeping up with yourself and depriving your body to achieve the “ideal” image to please. I think it’s great that places all over the world are making changes to alter this “ideal image”. To bring the attention a little closer to home, ill mention the Dove commercials. In these commercials women of all shapes, skin tones and sizes are introduced to the community. These commercials are all about loving the skin you’re in and show a wide range of women from red heads with freckles to the plus size beauty. My entire life I’ve been considered overweight and at some points in my life I’ve been ridiculed for it but I never let that bring me down. I am who I am like it or not and I don’t feel it necessary to change who I am to please others, I just wish everyone had this mindset. It’s sad to see young girls bitter about their appearance and yearning for acceptance. Eventually our industry will change and everyone will appreciate more than skin and bones.

I chose to comment on this post because health and nutrition are extremely important to me. I major in Exercise Physiology now, but before I attended college there was so much on this topic that I did not know. I did not know the foods that were the best for me or what to look for on nutrition labels or how much to workout and which types of workouts. People who develop eating disorders feel as though that is the only solution. And in reality, it is the worst solution. I believe that the number of people with eating disorders could decrease dramatically if middle schools and high schools did a better job teaching students about living healthy. The amount of damage that anorexia or bulimia does to your body is outstanding, and your body can only take so much before it shuts down. Going on a low calorie diet is only good for the short term. Once you start eating normal again your body does not want to burn as much as it used to because it is concerned that the same thing might happen again. What people need is a lifestyle change. Master one habit, like cutting out soda, then move to another one, like eating only whole grains versus refined grains. You have to have patience because the weight will come off slowly (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) with proper diet and exercise, but the results can last a lifetime because your metabolism will slowly adjust. I have learned all this in college, but this type of information needs to be taught at a younger age when people are more vulnerable about themselves. Do your research, don't believe everything you hear about fad diets, and be patient, because healthy is beautiful.

This was a very interesting topic to discuss seeing that eating disorders and distorted body image is a global issue. The way that media has reached young adolescents all over the world has caused this issue to become socially embedded in our social institutions. Adolescents, especially girls, have been taught at a young age to stay small and for you to be beautiful we have to be tall and a size zero. I really enjoyed your title, “Beautiful, but at what price?” because that’s the question we need to ask as a society, do we want our future generations to strive to be so unrealistically thin?? The thing that we don’t see as consumers is half the time that these models are photo shopped and air dusted, that it really is unrealistic to be that perfect, it is unachievable.
I definitely think that this is an issue and something needs to be done about it. I absolutely agree with the articles and how they are promoting healthier well beings, I truly believe that, that is the start of change. Consumers have to become aware that this ideal that they hold so true to their self is only abstract and we need to focus on the real and actual ideals. This could be similar to what the DOVE campaign did when they used real people instead of stick thin models.
I think the college courses that I have taken on gender and the media have help shaped my ideas, realizing that this is a global problem. I think as consumers, we don’t question what the media places in front of us, we just willingly accept it. Taking my sociology of gender classes I understand what they are doing and how they get us to buy their products. I also think growing up in this fast world with technology and being a girl I can see first-hand how these advertisements make you feel, always pushing diet pills, and showing all different kinds of makeup ads, how to dye your hair; everything to change your image, to their standard. With being conscious of how the media shapes our ideals about beauty, we can start to change and focus what is truly important to us as a society.

What drew me in to this post is the topic – the strides that women take to try and achieve an idealistic image that may never happen. People believe far too many misconceptions of what it truly means to be beautiful. Your post assumes you lobby strongly for spreading awareness – people around the world should know that what being beautiful really is, but other people may feel that it’s the media’s fault for so many women having health problems. Some people may argue that it is media imposed – women could compare themselves to what they see on a magazine cover. The norms of consumption today are shaped by the images people see because of the media but what people don’t know is how much the images are airbrushed and edited to look the way that they do. People think the solution for the way they look is to keep buying things that they see and think will work because the advertising is so well done. Advertisement agencies are aware of this as well, if it gives people any sort of hope that they will look and feel great like the product says people are going to buy it. I have a different view on this issue and feel strongly about it being media imposed, but your post is a good summary of the issue that it’s because women compare themselves to other women. I really enjoyed your post because it is such a relevant topic in today’s society and I would like to see you take this further by looking at the way that women are portrayed in the media: does it lead to lower self-esteem and poor body image?

This article’s title caught my eye as beauty standards have always been a hot topic throughout the world. Especially being a teenage girl surrounded but ultra-thin models every time I pick up a magazine or walk through the mall, you could say that the criteria for beauty in today’s society is nearly impossible to escape from. I have watched my friends, sisters, and myself criticize our bodies day after day hoping that some day we could look like the ideal model; the flawless, perfect girl. I really like how you pointed out some organizations that are fighting against these ultra-thin and unhealthy looking models. As I walked through the mall the other day I saw another example of a retail store, Aerie, attempting to change society’s unreal expectations of beautiful women. Aerie has recently launched a campaign called “Aerie Real” that features just normal, non-airbrushed girls for the models of their newest styles. You can see examples of the healthy and naturally beautiful girls of the campaign here: I really enjoyed reading about Quebec’s and Germany’s attempts to stop the modeling of extremely thin unhealthy girls, although prior to reading this article I had never heard of those organizations before. This reminded me that body image is a world wide issue and needs to be looked at even more broadly than on a national scale. I completely agree when you say that the ideas in the articles cited should be spread throughout the world, as body image issues do not end at specific country’s borders. Health needs to be held at a much higher importance than where it currently stands among our models of the world. Companies throughout the world need to work together to change the ridiculous beauty standards in order for girls in every nation to see themselves for what they are, which is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this insightful article!

I think it is amazing how those European countries really focused on proactive behavior regarding women’s health. There was also a DOVE campaign launched by the UK in order to pick real women to be on the cover of their ad campaigns. This launched the ‘’real woman’’ advertising ads where ordinary women were featured on the cover of magazines without airbrush and only a minimal amount of make -up. Also DOVE spent nearly a half a million dollars on educating a healthy lifestyle to young girls as well as activities to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. These programs focus on implementing healthy lifestyle choices specifically with young women.

I really enjoyed your post and how you found articles that are looking at the positive sides of society and the things that agencies are doing in order to stop things like eating disorders. I feel that it is important that these modeling agencies hire girls of all different looks, weights and heights. Society is so focused on the perfect image of a man or woman at such a young age. We see kids being introduced to these ideal images so young, in the toys they play with, the shows they watch and even in the books they read. I feel that more agencies need to do things like this and promote healthier images of people. So many people die every year from eating disorders. I am a member of a sorority, and one of our Philanthropies is Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. People aren’t aware that this is an actual disease. Many times fundraising for this foundation, people turn us down because they believe it is self inflicted and a choice. Society tells us how we look is wrong and contributes to these diseases. I feel that more needs to be done in order to prevent people from falling into these disorders.

When someone defines another as being beautiful it is pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically. Overall, meaning that they are attractive on inside and out. Although in today’s world the word beautiful and the way it is used is used only to represent or symbolize someone’s appearance. We live in a society where our self-esteem is stomped on day by day if we have an image that is represented through society such as the media or celebrities as being hideous. This issue relates to both men and women but it hits harder for women in today’s world because they are tortured by the way “society” defines as beautiful and if you do not fit these standards then you are considered not as attractive or ugly. Yes, we should love ourselves for who we are but at times it can be difficult to love ourselves when we are being beaten up on appearance or judged in certain situations such as weight or the hottest new fashion. Therefore, this issue then leads to eating disorders and depression. This title says it all “Beautiful, but at what price! Why do we have to pay a price to even be or feel beautiful because there shouldn't.

I thought that this article was a very good read! It is so hard for people, both men and women to look in magazines or watch television and stare at these people who are portrayed as beautiful and “perfect” and then view themselves in that same way. Typically, when we view or think of models we see something artificial; completely made over into someone they are not by plastic surgeries and picture editing. I believe that this is a huge part of why eating disorders are increasing prominent all over the world. As someone who has battled bulimia for the past decade, I feel those exact thoughts of looking in a mirror and never being happy with what I see. Especially, when I feel that I am larger than what I should be for someone with an eating disorder. I not only feel like I am a failure when I try on these clothes that the models wear and not feel beautiful like them, but also that I am failing at my eating disorder for nothing being sickly thin.
When I see that other areas like Quebec and Germany are making efforts at having their models look more like the average person, it makes me feel relieved. It makes me feel hopeful for the future of media that there will not be such unrealistic ideas of what is beautiful. I hope that this will have a worldwide effect in the media to the point where people no longer focus so heavily on it. I wish that the United States were making as strong of an effort. Although we focus on more curvy, full figured women in the media like Beyonce and Kim Kardashian, it is just another extreme, unrealistic expectation. The media as a whole is an extreme and unrealistic expectation; men will always want to be with girls that look like Kim Kardashian and girls will always want to be that expectation. Media should be used for nothing more than entertainment and fiction. In fact, it should come with a warning label.

I can relate to this article because I am a girl and I understand that there is a lot of pressure put on us to look a certain way. When I look through a magazine I always want to look like the girls in them. When I would look through magazines, like Seventeen Magazine, I noticed they are using girls who look realistic and of all different body types. I like that now magazines, like the one in Germany, are starting to use girls who look real and healthy instead of skinny and unrealistic. I believe that looks are changing and people now want to see girls who are more healthy and fit looking instead of just a girl with a stick figure. I believe that health is becoming a bigger topic to be concerned about now. More girls are starting to want to look fit and healthy with curves. For me personally, I would rather be fit and healthy than just plain skinny.
It is very sad that some girls think they need to be 110 pounds and 6 feet tall just because on a TV show that’s what all the girls look like or because that’s what all models look like. Most girls are really beautiful the way they are and I like that magazines are trying to embrace that.
I think a typical girls image is changing and I can see that more people are taking diseases like anorexia and bulimia more serious. More people are going to start showing girls who are fit and lead a healthy life style.

I completely agree with this post and the articles that were read that something needs to be done to change the views on body image. Advertising and companies have slowly come to ruin many girl’s self-images because of the models they use to set people’s standards. The article that you wrote had a lot of important facts and is valuable for people to read. It is important for people around the world to understand the effect that model’s body images are having on adolescent girls. Eating disorders are a serious problem like you mentioned, and in some cases can often be prevented if girls didn’t feel pressure from society to look a certain way, like the skinny models that they see. It is important to make people aware of this situation and the post that you wrote does a good job informing people around the world of what needs to be done.

I find this topic extremely interesting due to the fact that I see it, time and time again, showing up in my daily conversations with different individuals. The conversation is always the same and is usually discussed by females. “I don’t like this, this, and this about myself,” “What are you talking about? I wish I was like that.” These are common comments throughout the conversations that I’ve encountered. In my opinion you are correct in your stand point to put the blame of physical self-consciousness on the media, more specifically the models. Personally I don’t think I fully understand why females are so undermined by what models look like on a magazine. When I look at magazines I see models, but I doesn’t make me think that I have to go on a diet or anything like that in order to look like them. Instead I usually make the “nobody looks like that” remark. I see no reason in making a big deal about how others look in comparison to you. If you personally aren’t happy with how you feel in regards to your looks then I support the decisions to exercise or change your diet to a healthier one. On the other hand if you wish to engage in an eating disorder or continuously look at models like a bible then I don’t support the decisions.

Thank you for this great post; the articles you included are also a great read. I agree with you…This post came at a great time as Eating Disorders Awareness Week began yesterday (Sunday February 23). According to National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For women ages 15 to 24, the mortality rate of anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death. The only thing missing in your response, others responses, and the article posted is the rise in males with eating disorders.

I was drawn to read your post because I feel the cost of beauty in our society is one of the most pressing issues facing females today. Being someone who cares a lot about my image I have fallen into some of these traps myself. I’m an avid gym goer, I eat healthy to maintain a “thin” look, and I always am interested in the hottest and newest trends. However, I don’t take this too an extreme and my main goal is being healthy and I think this is lost in the modeling industry. The article you analyzed was personally uplifting for me. It shows that these ridiculous expectations are indeed ridiculous and charters such as the one created in Quebec are vital to putting an end to this self-demoralizing model of what is beautiful that exists in today’s society. Also, being from America, I found it interesting that this corrupt image of beauty exists in other parts of our world. I deem it vital to create a new and healthy image of what beautiful universally. Incorporating models that have a more realistic figure into agencies will show young girls that you don’t need to starve yourself to be beautiful. With this goal in mind and agencies like, "Quebec 'Charter' Fights Use of Skinny Models", we can work together to focus on the character and health of women not just the size jean they wear.

Personally in this day in age whenever you now see a commercial or advertisement there is a slender "perfect" girl or woman. Society has created the terrible image that every girl should strive to be, and it can lead to many to fall into depression or in some extreme cases anorexia and bulimia. I know that they are both very drastic but everyone stresses that you should be as perfect as you can and that if you aren't then you should try and try to become perfect.

I loved this post and everything in it. I loved the fact that many industries are realizing that many teenage girls look up to fashion models as their idol, which can cause a series of issues, such as eating disorders. When girls grow up and go through puberty, their bodies go through a huge change; they get taller, their hips wider, and the tummies bigger. It’s completely natural, but many young girls don’t realize that because media and stores, such as Victoria’s Secret, show and praise women for being skinny and beautiful. With all of these expectations, young girls become concerned and unhappy by their own appearance which could lead to eating disorders in order to be classified as “perfect and beautiful”. A store similar to Victoria’s Secret, Arie, is now promoting the natural look of how women actually look in today’s society. The logos on their new bags are, “The natural you is the beautiful you” and “The woman on this bag has not been retouched”. I find these statements powerful and meaningful. A company that takes professional pictures of models in their bra and underwear are now realizing that not everyone looks like that and that everyone is beautiful regardless of size. With more institutions and company’s supporting the natural look of women, the world will most likely find a decrease in eating disorders and an increase in health. This post was one of my favorites out of all of the posts I have read so far, good information!

Being a young female, I face the struggles of what it means to be beautiful everyday. Is my hair okay? Did I put makeup on? Are my clothes trendy enough? Luckily enough, I was born with strong will power, and the power to decide how I will live my life. Unfortunately, many other girls are not as lucky. This was a very powerful essay; however, the struggle with defining beauty is not only confined to models. My sister is in ninth grade, and I look around and I see her friends and girls even younger wearing pounds of makeup and working out and dieting. It's sad. I love how the Europeans are taking a stand against the misconception of what is beautiful. It is a major step in the right direction. It focuses on how the natural you is beautiful, and that no one can tell you different. The information in this post is awesome. I hope more and more companies continue to promote healthy and natural women to enforce to society that every woman is unique. No two women are the same, yet all women are equally beautifully in their own way.

The way the fashion industry portraits beauty does not match with what in reality beauty means. Sacrificing women's health in order to make them look good in those outfits does not make any sense. They are other ways to show beauty without sacrificing health. Exercising and healthy eating patterns provide a more accurate definition of beauty. Our society has to realize that there is no need to continuously search for beauty, because we already have that within us.

I am happy to know that many others like you have the same opinion than me that is not to sacrifice health for beauty. You mentioned a point that really interests me when you affirmed that we don't need to look for beauty because we all have already our own beauty within us. Thank you for taking the time to comment my post. I appreciate it.

Society in general is to blame than just the images of thin models. Yes, they are involved but I’m sure there aren’t any images out there that show how wrong it is to promote such a look to young girls who are already insecure about them. Rather than showcases what society portrays as “beautiful” they should promote confidence and respect, especially for young girls and women who need to understand those two concepts in order to help themselves in life. Not only physical health is in danger, but mental health as well. Photos around large cities or commercials on television don’t support the thought process on how girls truly feel about themselves, but rather state what’s “wrong” with them and how it should be fixed, causing anorexia and bulimia to occur

About the author