Victoria Beckham’s style credentials can’t be questioned, but she’s ruffled more than a few feathers recently with her choice of models for her SS17 New York Fashion Week show.
Some social media followers weren’t happy with some of the pictures she posted, both backstage and on the runway. One critic went as far as to accuse her of “celebrating anorexia.” Another shared her dismay that Beckham went for “skin and bones” on her models and didn’t hire more “natural-sized models.”
There’s no denying that Beckham’s models are very thin, but hey, so is the designer herself. And she’s always used very, very slight models to promote her line. It’s not the first time she’s been accused of “promoting” eating disorders, and it clearly doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference to her, so why waste your breath? In 2015, Beckham ignored an invitation from MP Caroline Nokes to discuss the fashion industry’s position on thin models. The former Spice Girl has never confirmed or denied this, only reiterating that her collection is “for all shapes and sizes.”
Of course the fashion industry’s bias towards very thin models is worrying and does nothing to promote a healthy body image to impressionable youngsters. But eating disorders are complex mental illnesses, and it’s both naive and patronising to assume that it’s simply about looking like a thin runway model.
There’s also the argument that just because a model is thin, it doesn’t mean she’s ill. Many people are naturally very thin and struggle to gain weight. Some models have eating disorders; some don’t. If people really care about promoting a healthy body image, they shouldn’t label a young woman as “anorexic” without knowing the first thing about her diet, lifestyle or state of mind.
There are far more productive ways to help those suffering from eating disorders than slamming Victoria Beckham on Instagram. If you’re really passionate about changing the status quo in the fashion industry, write to your local MP. Boycott designers who use thin models. Even better, raise money for a charity like Beat to help people with eating disorders get the support they need. Don’t attack designers like Beckham for her choice of models — she’s sure as hell not paying attention, and your energy could be used in a far more positive way.