The size zero debate has been going on for years, drawing opinions from fashion designers, models, politicians and doctors alike – and it shows no sign of slowing. In the past few weeks alone the debate has been raised around the world with the former editor of Australian Vogue revealing that some models are eating tissues to stay thin. On this side of the world River Island has come under fire after an ultra-thin model was used in their latest campaign.
Keen to address this worldwide problem, nine speakers tried to bridge the gap between aspiration and reality with their ‘Be Real Talks: Why Size Doesn’t Matter’ event held earlier this week at the London College of Fashion. The event was described as a mixture of a comedy club/theatre experience with an interactive workshop element.
Speakers included Natasha Devon from Body Gossip (a not-for-profit organisation aiming to raise awareness about body image) and psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. Natasha believes now is the time for change after looking to social media and seeing how many people were chiming in on the subject, desperate for a revolution.
Liberal Democrat women’s minister Jo Swinson is leading the political charge by heading an all-party parliamentary group to develop a national campaign for positive body image. Natasha is also talking to politicians, petitioning Michael Gove (education secretary) for more funding for PSHE (personal, social and health education), which has existed in the national curriculum since 2000. Despite its existence, many state schools simply don’t have the budget to include this kind of teaching, an issue Natasha hopes to eradicate.
So why did they decide to hold the event at the London College of Fashion? One of the event’s speakers, Deborah Frances-White explains:
“Let’s not hold it at the Hegemony Wing of the Institute for Feminism and Her-story Studies. The members of the choir have preached to each other for long enough. If it’s going to be a debate, let’s have it somewhere dangerous, somewhere where feelings might be hurt as well as ideas exchanged – somewhere where change might actually happen.”
Last year hospital admissions for eating disorders in the UK rose by 16%, with children and young people accounting for most of these admissions. If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, seeking help from a counsellor can be an important first step to recovery. For more information and to find a counsellor near you, please see our Eating Disorders page.
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