"Clothes look better on thin people. The fabric hangs better,” Kelly Cutrone, owner of People’s Revolution, told USA Today (Hellmich). However, that fabric is not the only quality of beauty that young females feel they must obtain. Music, magazines, movies, and models influence young women and girls to believe that being skinny is sexy. Nicole Richie, Victoria Beckham, and Stephanie Pratt get on the front cover of periodicals not for what their values are but for how many pounds they have dropped. The everyday female, not in the spotlight, wants to be noticed just like the stars on the cover of every magazine, so what better way to do that than to exclude food from their diet.
I was motivated to make a culture jamming video called “Skinny Doesn’t Have a Taste” because of a personal experience I had growing up. When I was in grade eight, I weighed 160 pounds. I constantly compared myself to the thin girls in my class, the skinny women I saw on the billboards, and to the girls who were noticed by the good looking boys for, what it seemed like, solely their bodies. I was never addressed as an individual. Rather, I was teased as the fat girl with bad fashion sense. I was stereotyped as the image of an outcast in the mainstream society. Before I went to high school, my mother and I decided to start eating healthy and exercising on a daily basis. By the time I reached grade nine, I weighed 135 pounds and was given the time of day. However, I lost the weight for everyone except myself. Though I have never experienced an eating disorder, I have been neglected because of my body image.
In “Skinny Doesn’t Have a Taste” I wanted to reveal what really happens to a girl’s mind when she looks at a photo of an unhealthily thin model, actress, or singer. Not only do these girls have to face what the mainstream media deems normal but they also begin to compare themselves to others and lose confidence in their beauty. Though the media may portray ugliness to be equivalent to a healthy body weight, perfection does not exist. People with eating disorders are putting their lives in danger because of how advertisements, songs, and films depict beauty.
Frederique van der Wal, a former Victoria's Secret model, attended New York’s Fashion Week in 2006 and was shocked at the increased thinness in models. "This unnatural thinness is a terrible message to send out. The people watching the fashion shows are young, impressionable women," van der Wal said (Hellmich).
I incorporated advertisements from major fashion companies like Calvin Klein, Victoria Secret, and Abercrombie and Fitch in “Skinny Doesn’t Have a Taste” to illustrate how society depicts the perfect image of a young female. I also included images of unhealthy girls living with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders to convey how the “skinny is sexy” message is interpreted. I juxtaposed what the media conveys as normal and how the impressionable female interprets this claim with Mayday Parade’s cover of the Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up.” The facts in “Skinny Doesn’t Have a Taste” prove the severity of eating disorders and the affects of the media’s implication of beauty on young girls.
Between ten and twenty per cent of people suffering from eating disorders die (“Eating Disorders”). Therefore, the circulation of the image of a woman’s ideal body threatens the lives of many females. Though not all girls may experience an eating disorder in their lifetime, many are afraid of being fat not for what obesity will do to their individual health but for how they will be perceived. The media insists that beauty is that which sells; however, no one will ever be able to properly define beauty, not even a multi-million dollar corporation.