Weight and the fashion model have been two topics joined at the hip bone for years. Recent Fashion Week cities have set forth bans against allowing too-thin models to walk down its runways. Progress has been made to ensure that healthy food and drinks are provided backstage at shows. And the subject of anorexia and its subsequent relation to the fashion world was slowly beginning to inch its way to our periphery. That is, until, Hedi Slimane sent one particularly gaunt-looking model down Saint Laurent's Paris runway. Here's the kicker. The model was male.
You might be surprised to know that male anorexics (sometimes cheekily called "manorexics") make up 20% of people suffering from eating disorders. Back in September, GQ ran an article following the lives of multiple men who starved themselves for various reasons: Their girlfriends broke up with them; they needed to meet a goal weight; they wanted to look like so-and-so — the reasons go on and on. Sound familiar? Like their female counterparts, male anorexics feel the influence of the fashion, music, and entertainment world to look a certain way. It's not the fashion world's fault necessarily, but it does "have a powerful influence that is highly toxic to some vulnerable people," according to ED awareness organization B-EAT spokesperson Leanne Thorndyke.
The male anorexic is still largely misunderstood. The number of treatment facilities available is limited, not in the least bit due to the stigma that only women live with the disorder. Often men will actually be denied from a rehab facility because the male gaze is considered to be one of the biggest roots of female anorexia. With Slimane's decision to cast this model, the question here isn't so much "why is he so thin?" or "should he be allowed to walk?" — rather, it's a question of how male models have been largely left out of fashion's increasingly present discussion of weight and body image. (The Daily Mail)