Retouching, Altering, 'Slimming'…Oh Why?

If you haven’t yet heard of Crystal Renn and the controversy over her size as a fashion model, let me bring you up to date quickly…Crystal was formerly a ‘straight-size’ model, meaning she was one of the size 5-or-smaller women who modeled fashionable clothing in magazines and on the catwalk. She unfortunately developed an eating disorder in her struggle to stay thin, but is now doing much better. For a while, she was heavier – the partial result of an effort on her part to be healthier and not to obsess over her weight. She’s developed a healthy love for working out, and is now somewhere in the middle of where she was – unhealthily thin – and her size when she was plus-size-modeling.

That said, there were some photos of her that surfaced recently that made it look to her fans as if she was suffering a relapse into her eating disorder – she looked quite thin compared to other photos of her. Here’s a link to the article on the blog Madison Plus: Crystal Responds with Glamour Magazine, and there’s a link to the full article in Glamour magazine within the Madison Plus blog.

As someone who has struggled with what ‘society’ and ‘fashion’ gurus think is acceptable, size-wise, I completely sympathize with Crystal’s dilemma. She has overcome her eating disorder and is living a much healthier life, yet there are those around her who are still not happy for her. Some feel she’s still “too big” to continue to make a living as a model, and there are others who believe she’s no longer ‘big enough’ to represent the plus-size world and all the fabulous women in it who love their fuller figures.

I loved being plus-sized – and I still do, since my size 12 – 14 figure is considered ‘plus sized’ by a majority of the fashion industry and a lot of women’s clothing stores. I am in no danger of becoming a runway model – I’m simply not the right size or shape for that industry – but I love my body! Am I in the perfect shape? No – but I’m working to get there. I recently participated in a nutrition and eating panel for Prevention magazine called The Salt Solution. It is a healthy eating plan designed to help you break your addiction to salt, and it did just that for me. I did not lose a ton of weight on this eating plan – in fact, I didn’t lose at all! What I did find was that I have much more energy and my blood pressure was dramatically lower when eating this way…and I will continue it for as long as I live.

Part of the experience was a photo shoot at the end. I can’t wait to show you the pictures from the shoot – they are being retouched for publication. I have no illusions that Prevention magazine will be ‘slimming’ me down…that’s not what they were looking for. Once you get a look at Crystal’s photos – there are a couple of video stills from the shoot – you will see, as I did, that her figure did not need retouching, altering, slimming or whatever else the photographer called it when questioned about it.

As long as the fashion industry continues to promote an unrealistic ideal of beauty, there will continue to be a detrimental effect on women’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of self-worth. That HAS to stop…I refuse to believe that we, as women, would not purchase clothing shown on a model who is normal – whether her normal was a size 6 (and for some, it is) or a size 26.

Let me know your thoughts…


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  1. 1
    Dianne (LYR Admin)

    Thanks so much, Karen! It’s taken me a long time to get to this place, and I’m not going to go backwards for any reason! I am loving your blog and your sharing of your own journey toward better health and a healthy self-image – keep up the great work that YOU do!

  2. 2
    KCLAnderson (Karen)

    Brava Dianne!! This is one of those “hills to die on” as they say. And I also have to say that I really admire how you’re taking care of yourself…it shows inside and out! 🙂

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