Is it offensive? Drop Dead Clothing’s “Anorexic” Model

Advert featuring a size 8 model banned for glamourising anorexia

We seem to be spending a lot of time worrying about whether things are offensive or not lately, but the Advertising Standards Agency will keep banning fashion adverts, so here’s the latest conundrum for our readers to answer:

Is this model glamorizing anorexia?

The ASA thinks she is: they’ve banned adverts featuring her from appearing on Drop Dead Clothing’s website on the grounds that they’re socially irresponsible as the model is “too thin”.

Their statement:

“We considered that in combination with the stretched out pose and heavy eye make-up, the model looked underweight in the pictures. We noted that Drop Dead’s target market was young people.We considered that using a noticeably skinny model with visible hip, rib, collar and thigh bones, who wore heavy make-up and was posed in ways that made her body appear thinner, was likely to impress upon that audience that the images were representative of the people who might wear Drop Dead’s clothing, and as being something to aspire to. Therefore, while we considered the bikini and denim short images might not cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded they were socially irresponsible.”

Our first thoughts upon reading this:

1. Can open, worms EVERYWHERE.

2. We feel sorry for the model: it can’t be nice to cause adverts to be banned simply because YOUR body is deemed unacceptable.

3. As with yesterday’s Marc Jacobs/Dakota Fanning issue, these bans simply serve to draw even more attention to the supposedly “offensive” images. Case in point: we’d never heard of Drop Dead Clothing until this advert was banned…

4. The comments on this post will make for depressing reading, because, for reasons which we’ve never been able to fathom, many people seem to feel they are able to diagnose health conditions by looking at photographs on the internet. This is almost always unfair to the people being “diagnosed”: just because you think someone LOOKS unhealthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they ARE unhealthy.

As for Drop Dead Clothing, they have, of course, refuted the claims. They say that while they acknowledge the photographs make the model look thinner, she is a UK size 8, which is not an abnormal size. In fact, they think it’s offensive to call a size 8 model offensive. So, in short, everyone’s offended.

Who’s right here? Are you offended by this model’s size, or you offended by people who are offended by this model’s size? Perhaps you’re offended by people who are offended by people who are offended by this model’s size? The main thing to note is that, in today’s society, it’s important that you be offended by SOMETHING. So pick your side now…

(The Fashion Police are going to take a shot every time someone uses the phrase “she needs to eat a sandwich” or a derivative thereof in the comments on this. We predict we’ll be roaring drunk by lunchtime…)

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