Should Models Have a Minimum Weight Limit?
One of the words most people associate with models is ‘skinny’. For the most part, that’s because it’s what the industry demands out of most of the models—as we’ve touched upon before, clothes look better while they’re hanging on tall and lean frames. Sometimes, however, the level of models’ “skinniness" seems to be too much, and it becomes worrisome for outside observers as well as people in the industry themselves.
That said, should there be a minimum weight—a safe baseline, if you will—for models? A prescribed set of figures to help prevent people from going the unhealthy route in order to break into a physically demanding industry? Some certainly think so, and it’s not hard to see why. Being underweight can present certain health risks, and these risks are primarily why many people feel the need for a minimum weight requirement.
Personally, I don’t think there has to be a specific limit imposed. For one, arriving at that limit and actually enforcing it when the time comes could prove to be problematic processes. In addition, weight is fairly relative—one person’s 80 pounds may be different from another’s, and thus the look would be different with the same weight.
The real problem is when models get conscious of their weight so much that they have to resort to starving themselves to death, just like in the case of Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos who died of malnutrition-induced cardiac arrest in 2007 at the ripe, young age of 18. Perception tends to influence many individuals, from aspirants to those who are already in the industry. In that sense, the industry is probably the main culprit, but in the end, it’s the models who decide how to care for their bodies.
With modeling being thrust into mainstream media even more with shows like America’s Next Top Model, it seems like the skinny frame is getting more and more endorsements. This only furthers concerns about how perceptions and misconceptions about what it takes to make it in modeling will affect the mindset of young people in general, and those who want to be models in particular.
Health will always be a serious issue, no matter which industry or aspect of life we’re talking about. It is only more pronounced in the modeling industry because of the public nature of the work and how the requirements for the job have an impact on the health of those who aspire to be models. This is a big hurdle that you can’t really regulate by having a minimum weight.
Right now, a strict minimum weight limit or BMI measurement isn’t in place and I’m not certain that there has to be one. Models are professionals, and thus should be able to take care of their bodies while still maintaining the frame they need for their gigs. Agencies and other organizations within the industry should also try to be more proactive when it comes to promoting health and adequate nutrition among its ranks. Perhaps the best approach is to encourage health and promote awareness.