The healthy model debate continues to swing like a pendulum now that politicians, bureaucrats and advertising bodies are involved. The latest shot over the bow means that if you’re in the UK the following photo has been banned:
Images of the 21-year-old [model Amanda Hendrick] sporting a skimpy bikini have been banned from an online clothing retailer’s catalogue after advertising watchdogs ruled Miss Hendrick looked too thin.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) says the pictures on the website of Drop Dead Clothing were ‘socially irresponsible’ and told it to remove them.
The ASA acted after receiving a complaint which claimed the model ‘looked anorexic‘ in one image of her wearing a watermelon-motif bikini and another where she sports cut-off denim shorts on the Sheffield-based company’s site.
From the photos to the issue of weight in fashion, there are obviously a lot of factors involved here. The involvement of government and non-government watchdog agencies brings in to play a whole host of new factors. On the libertarian side of the debate is the issue of whether an organisation should have the right to effectively censor a photo irrespective of how it makes us feel. On the humanist side of the debate is the question of what such censorship actually achieves? It certainly doesn’t make the issue go away, nor does publicising one model’s alleged plight serve to benefit her in any way. Hendrick denies suffering from anorexia, but if she did suffer from such a mental illness the publicity around such a personal problem certainly wouldn’t be to the benefit of her wellbeing. Nor would it be to the benefit of anyone – whether she’s healthy, underweight, anorexic, happy or unhappy, the banning of photos does nothing to solve the problem. Worse, it doesn’t even attempt to.