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‘Size 4 Model: I was Fired for Being too Fat’

‘Former Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton is 5′ 10″ and 120 pounds’

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/33307721/ns/today-today_fashion_and_beauty/

The controversy began when Ralph Lauren’s advertising agency digitally manipulated a photo of Hamilton to a very distorted image of the model’s body. “Bloggers were quick to point  that in the image Hamilton’s head was bigger than her hips…. They Photo shopped her in a way that for me is grotesque and makes her look like a cartoon,” Geoffrey Menin, Hamilton’s attorney, told NBC News. “The trouble is that it’s damaging to her. Who wants to hire somebody that looks like that?”  It was after the picture of the emaciated looking model was released, that Hamilton decided to speak out.

Hamilton commented that her release was an ’emotional blow’ because she had been working with Ralph Lauren for eight years.  (since the age of fifteen) “It’s not a good example when you see this picture, every young woman is going to look at it and think that it is normal to look like that. It’s not,” she told Curry. “I saw my face on this super-extremely skinny girl, which is not me. It makes me sad. It makes me think that Ralph Lauren wants to have this kind of image. It’s an American brand … and it’s not healthy, and it’s not right.”  Ralph Lauren commented on the release of the photo, saying it was ‘poorly retouched and imaged’ but agents denied Hamilton’s claims, and said she was fired due to her being ‘unable to fit into ‘sample clothes’ and ‘inability to meet obligations under contract.’ ( what because she was no longer a size 2?)

While I agree that the primary job of advertisers is to sell an image and a name, it is also the job of these companies to sell a true image, not a fabricated one.  Not all girls who read these magazines have positive influences in their lives to tell the young easily influenced girls, that these photos are not real and just not normal.  I was fortunate enough to have strong influences around me growing up, so I never compared myself to the images I saw in magazines, not because I did not care, but simply because I was always kept busy and did not have the time to care.  I kept an active lifestyle playing sports so I never needed to worry about (nor had the time to) pay attention to those unrealistic advertisements, and looking at the crazy distorted images today, am so grateful to have had that support. (After all, the children that stay active over time, tend to maintain a better shape and higher self-esteem than those who consistently put themselves down about their weight and what they  eat.  Studies show active children have better body images and better health overall to non-active children). However, some children are not as fortunate as I, and don’t have that same support group.  These are the girls that look up to these models in advertisements as what they should become.  The girls don’t understand that pictures can be digitally manipulated, all they see is ‘I want to look like that!’  Which is sad.

There needs to be more organizations out there that encourage young girls to find a passion and stay active (similar to my influences) so they don’t need to or have time to focus all their attention and thought process on trying to look like a distorted image.  Children are supposed should focus their attention on having fun and being young.  Not counting calories and obsessing over diets.  I feel that the media should play a more influential role in young girls (it does not necessarily have to be directly) but small changes such as letting people know that images have been distorted in order to sell the brand, instead of setting impossible standards and expectations that are not real.

Do you  feel that the media should play a more positive role in young girls lives today, or is that not the job of advertisers to focus on what influences their customers, that their primary job is to sell a brand? What other ways can the community help play a more positive role in the lives of children so they don’t focus on distorted and unreal expectations?

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