Victoria Beckham, singer, model and style icon, is not a neophyte in the fashion industry. She has been a world-famous designer for more than a decade. Therefore, we in the behavioral health field expect better from her when it comes to model selection. And yet, she lets us down again.
A recent ad for her luxury eyewear line showcased a painfully skinny young model whose stick-like arms only briefly drew attention away from her gaunt face that did indeed, feature the spectacles. This is not the first time Beckham has used severely underweight females to promote her high-price wares, despite the fact that she had previously pledged to not use models who were too thin.
Back to work! Start the year with new frames from the Spring Summer 2018 #VBEyewear collection inspired by 1970s retro classics and updated for a feathery-light, fresh and modern look. Available at https://t.co/z8jKj9nMGH and #VBDoverSt. #VBSS18 pic.twitter.com/SDq0onL2EJ
— Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) January 11, 2018
The extraordinary irony is that historically, designers defended their use of shockingly thin models by claiming they displayed the clothing better. It was the ever-popular coat hanger rationale, but this was an ad for eye glasses. In what world does this make sense? In fact, most viewing the ad were so distracted by this anorexic young woman, they failed to even notice the eyewear.
The international modeling industry has legislated against the use of rail-thin models. The French Parliament published two new decrees aimed at protecting the health of models six months ago. The goal was to prevent anorexia and promote transparency around digitally retouched photographs.
In France, models need a doctor’s certificate to certify they are fit to work and employers can be jailed or fined if the rules are breached. Other countries have enacted similar legislation, and for good reason. Not only do they want to keep models safe, but they recognize the need for truth in advertising.
Few things fuel unhealthy body image, low self-esteem and eating disorders in women and girls more than deceptive advertising that glorifies emaciated models. Beckham, and others guilty of this practice, need to reconsider their marketing strategy and return to doing what is right.