Apart from the £100 million it adds to the British economy, London Fashion Week is also a vital social snap shot we can work from. The 2013 five day show is the first to take place since Vogue launched their Health Initiative to dissuade young impressionable women from copying impossible standards set by airbrushed models. The clothes industry has been at the forefront of this debate since the use of size zero models on catwalks was attributed to a series of tragic deaths.
However, the outcry heard this week when one of our fave pin-ups Colin Firth was photographed having drastically lost weight shows this is not just a girly issue. In January in Paris the sight of an emaciated male model on the catwalk flagged up a new, disturbing trend. Apparently male sufferers now account for a quarter of all disordered eating cases.
The public are pretty accurate in spotting the difference between what emphasises a glamorous image and when things have gone a bit too far. We prefer average with a twist. Is this primordially based? Human beings are alarmed by rapid extremes. We don’t take the weather overly hot, or below 25 degrees if we are naked. We somehow know when someone’s too overweight for their own good, or Granny’s too thin. It is one of those daily conundrums of life: how to achieve a perfect balance point with just about every situation that arises.
The difference between feminism and feminist leadership is clear. The latter should embrace all political matters relating to women. As well as individuals, we are also mothers, lovers and society shapers. Now more so than ever. So maybe it is time to broaden the net of issues to cover too this rise in manorexia and examine its implications.