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Are Vogue's New Rules Enough?

BY RELEVANT CURRENT / GLOBAL / ISSUE 58 June 13, 2012

When Ana Carolina Reston died at the age of 21, she was 5’8″ and weighed 88 pounds. The Brazilian supermodel’s death, due to complications from anorexia, sparked a debate about the fashion industry’s standards for models. Six years and several model deaths later, publishing conglomerate and owner of Vogue, Condé Nast, has set in place new guidelines for its models’ age and weight, pledging to not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or those who appear to have an eating disorder.

How will they enforce these new rules? In addition to checking IDs, Condé Nast has said they will encourage mature models to mentor younger girls and will mandate healthy food options on set. They say they will encourage designers to “rethink the unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing.” And Jonathan Newhouse, the company’s chairman, says it marks their “commit- ment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the wellbeing of [Vogue’s] readers.”

Critics, though, complain the guidelines don’t go far enough, as they don’t keep the publisher from doing any photoshopping or post-production work to make models appear skinnier—thus, continuing to promote an unre- alistic body image for women and young girls everywhere.