Three of these women are fat, doctor says

Monday, October 29, 2012
'Three of these women are fat', doctor says
A recent Marks and Spencer shapewear advertisement.

Thousands of Australian women would love to look half as good as these lovely lingerie models, but a British doctor thinks two of them are overweight, while one is obese.

The five models above feature in a shapewear campaign for UK department store Marks and Spencer. Like many ordinary women, they range in size from eight to 16, but Dr Ellie Cannon thinks they set an unhealthy example no one should aspire to.

Related: Am I really overweight?

"Fat, truth be told, is neither a feminist nor a cosmetic issue," she wrote in a piece published in the Daily Mail. "It is, quite simply, a health issue. And we shouldn't allow ourselves to be steered into losing sight of that fact.

"The fact is it is absolutely outrageous that, in an effort to illustrate the diversity of women, obesity has taken its place alongside ageing and differing skin colours.

"Yes, these adverts have captured the notion of individuality beautifully, by using women in their 50s. But including overweight — and therefore unhealthy — women in the mix is downright misguided, at best. "

Dr Cannon says she treats women struggling with obesity-related health issues in her GP practice every day, and is appalled that it is now acceptable to be overweight.

While she is glad many companies have stopped hiring skeletal models, she says the current trend of celebrating obese ones is just as dangerous.

"I am really concerned by this trend of supposedly empowering women by what has become known as the 'body acceptance movement' which embraces the notion that fat is fine," she wrote.

"While fat may be fine cosmetically, it is not fine for your health. Body shape has been hijacked solely as a fashion issue and as ammunition in the war of cool versus uncool.

Related: Why obesity is not your fault

"We know from studies of anorexics that when they idolise and obsess over images of these very thin women, it exacerbates their illness and perpetuates their self-loathing and body dysmorphia.

"Isn't it just as irresponsible to promote the notion that being overweight is perfectly normal?"

Your say: Do you think overweight models are just as dangerous as underweight ones?

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