next top model contestant’s body likened to “overstuffed luggage”

Australia’s Next Top Model (ANTM) contestant, Alissandra Moone, is underweight, according to the Australian body mass index. Two weeks ago, the 18-year-old was criticized by ANTM judge, Alex Perry, when he likened Moone’s body to “overstuffed luggage.”

Moone feels, “it’s a very bad message to be sending to young girls who watch the show.” She explains,”I know this has happened to other girls in the past but I was shocked when (Perry) said I was too fat.” Moone warns, “I’m only a size eight. There’s going to be a lot of young girls watching this who are bigger than me, and how’s this going to make them feel?”

A spokeswoman for the ButterFly Foundation, which is aimed at educating and supporting people with eating disorders, said: “The (fashion) industry has a responsibility for portraying women of all healthy sizes and in playing a strong educated role in the contribution they make to the serious issue of negative body image. We encourage Top Model to be conscious of the example they set to their impressionable viewers.”

Alex Perry stands by his comments and has refused to apologize. He answered his critics citing “incorrect reporting.” Perry claims to have not commented on Moone’s body shape or body image. Instead, he says that, “[he] was talking about her modelling skills.”

Incidentally, this is just one of countless times that models of various shapes and sizes get feedback such as this. Simultaneously, there have been efforts to govern the participation of models in fashion weeks worldwide.

In 2007, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) set forth industry guidelines in response to the death of Eliana Ramos, a Uruguayan model who died of malnutrition in 2007.

Diane von Furstenberg, president of the CFDA, explained that the CFDA has no intention of policing or regulating a model’s weight or her body-mass index.

von Furstenberg went on to explain that, “We create inspirational images and it’s important that we don’t encourage unhealthy behavior. We can promote health and encourage it, empower women and give them role models not by how much you weigh but by de-glamorizing models. Few women can become models and it lasts for a short time. Yes there is a problem and because we are in the business of fashion and image we can help.“ Ultimately, von Furstenberg explained that the responsibility lies with the agencies, not the designers.

Does calling someone “fat” or “overstuffed luggage” promote and encourage health? Or does it crush self-esteem and create a war between self and body? What a dilemma this presents to models, girls and women! Don’t accept your natural body, don’t become emaciated and your natural body is one that needs to be fought. What do you think about all of this?

About Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS

Jodi graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY at New Paltz and earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University. In addition to over a decade of work as an LCSW and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist with individuals, families and groups in her private practice, Jodi is a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer and created Destructively Fit®, a training that addresses eating disorders within the fitness industry. She is a former director of Day Treatment at The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders and a founding member of Metropolitan Psychotherapy and Family Counseling Practice. Jodi also specializes in infertility and has served on the Clinical Advisory Board of Seleni Institute since its inception. Jodi is the creator of a curriculum on eating disorders for the Graduate School of Social Work at New York University and has been teaching this course, as well as guest lecturing in the NYU Post-Master’s Program, since 2007. Jodi actively lectures and teaches students, families and professionals throughout the metropolitan area about the etiology, prevention, treatment, assessment and work with eating disorders. Through psychotherapy and supportive work with adolescents, adults and families, Jodi works to create a secure sense of self, increased self-esteem and a healthy relationship with self and others. She works with an eclectic person-centered approach and tailors her practice techniques to the unique needs of each individual. Please feel free to contact Jodi directly in her Greenwich Village office, 212.529.5811. View all posts by Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS

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