Tyra Banks is toasting Vogue's 19 international editions for pledging to promote healthy body image, but while the plan is a step in the right direction, what does it really mean for the future?
"Real progress is finally on the horizon," Banks writes in an open letter on The Daily Beast. "Vogue is stepping up, doing the right thing, and protecting that girl. Perhaps that girl is you!"
Earlier this month, Conde Nast, which owns Vogue, announced a six-point plan for what they'll require beginning with their June editions. "Vogue editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the well-being of their readers," international chairman Jonathan Newhouse said, according to the New York Times.
The bullet points are outlined as follows:
1. We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image.
2. We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.
3. We will help to structure mentoring programs where more mature models are able to give advice and guidance to younger girls, and we will help to raise industry-wide awareness through education, as has been integral to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Health Initiative.
4. We will encourage producers to create healthy backstage working conditions, including healthy food options and a respect for privacy. We will encourage casting agents not to keep models unreasonably late.
5. We encourage designers to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes, and encourages the use of extremely thin models.
6. We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.
But is there really any way for Vogue to actually enforce these rules when "appearing" to have an eating disorder is completely subjective? Why not include a minimum weight or body-mass index that could more scientifically reflect one's health. And like Banks suggests, perhaps there should be a guild that protects models. "When I went to Paris after graduating high school, I saw a model who was 12 years old without any supervision. That wouldn't happen in the acting world," Banks writes. "There needs to be more industry-wide protections for models, and we need to be more consistent with what the acting world does: protect our minors, as well as the health and well-being of models."
Although body image in magazines has always been a hot topic, an increasing amount of people are championing a change. Earlier this month, 14-year-old Julia Bluhm made headlines after she protested outside of Seventeen magazine's New York City offices to get more "real girls" on their pages. She also started an online petition that received over 41,000 signatures.
We certainly applaud Banks for continually being a champion of all body types and Vogue for making small steps in the right direction, but we hope these are just the stepping stones for policy that will actually make a significant change.
What do you think about Vogue's plan? Tell us your suggestions and thoughts in the comments below!