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The changing place of fashion models: Where did Cindy Crawford go?

Blog on Beauty
The changing place of fashion models: Where did Cindy Crawford go?

Whatever happened to Cindy Crawford?

I confess, when I was a teenager I wanted to be just like her.  To me, she was an embodiment of the brunette beauty that I, as a brown-haired girl myself, had always aspired for: intelligent, fit, and seemingly in control of her life. I remember reading a magazine article where she stated that she was proud of her voluptuousness—as compared to her notoriously emaciated colleague, Kate Moss. While my friends were at the mall, I faithfully exercised to Cindy’s fitness video two-three times a week.

But when I look through the fashion magazines today, Cindy is nowhere to be seen—instead I see pages of nameless, youthful faces. I don’t know who they are or if they are healthy—though judging by their bony physiques I’d guess most aren’t. Apparently, Cindy has retired and no one has yet appeared to fill her sensible, yet stylish walking shoes.

According to Kim Snowden, a professor in women’s studies at the University of British Columbia, the disappearance of supermodels like Cindy Crawford points a larger shift in how the fashion industry presents it’s ‘product’,

“… I don’t think that models occupy the same role model ideal as they once did - instead…they have become part of an industry that encourages women to be consumers of an image in every way…Fashion, modeling, bodies - there is a huge industry around these things in a way that we have never seen before - how many TV shows are there about models etc.? It’s a brand.”

Basically, models have moved from a class of celebrity to a product in themselves, and one only has to watch an episode of America’s Next Top Model to see what the ‘modeling’ brand represents: elitism, competitiveness, and the importance of achieving physical beauty at all costs.  Judging the by the popularity of tee-shirts printed with names of well-known modeling agencies, such as Von Dutch and Elite, people are buying it up.  

What this means is that the industry is no longer just selling beautiful women, but is selling a host of values that I doubt few people would consider to be very positive contributions to society. 

There will always be young girls like me, who desire to be pretty, but do we really want to expose them to an industry that encourages them to stab their best friends in the back in order to achieve that goal? I think Cindy, wherever she is, would say no.