Noofa Hannan, Howl Staff
Vogue editors from across the world have pledged to stop featuring models under the age of sixteen or those who appear to have an eating disorder. In a statement published last week, Condé Nast International, the publisher of Vogue magazines, announced that editors of its nineteen international editions have made the pact to promote the image of healthy models. “Vogue believes that good health is beautiful. Vogue editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the well-being of their readers,” said Jonathan Newhouse, Chairman of Condé Nast International.
The six-point pact, called the Health Initiative, lists guidelines that will ensure agencies don’t send them underage girls and called for better work conditions such as providing models with healthy food options. The pact also states that the magazines will structure mentoring programs for younger models and raise awareness of problems related to model health.
The pact has been highly commended for supporting the movement against using underage and sickly thin models. Supermodel Tyra Banks has applauded Vogue for their decision. “I think it’s amazing that [the editors are] doing it, because they do not have to. There is nothing legal saying that Vogue had to make this decision. This is something that they are doing on their own. When I heard about it…I’m like, ‘Oh my god this is a moment to celebrate,’” she said.
In January 2011, the French Vogue ignited immense controversy when it featured highly sexualized images of ten-year-old Thylane Blondeau. The photos of Blondeau in heavy makeup and provocative poses provide disturbing proof of our preoccupation with the notion of youthful beauty. Vogue, being the premier fashion magazine, is also responsible for playing a significant role in perpetuating ideals of extreme thinness. It’s no surprise then that fashion models constitute an alarming percentage of the people to have died from anorexia nervosa. In an age where women’s bodies are endlessly dissected to fit narrow stereotypes of beauty, Vogue’s decision is a bold step forward in the right direction.