There’s a point at which I’ve been told to stop listening to what models and actors (and indeed, most celebrities) say – but the fact is, even if I’m not listening, others do, and they sometimes make some fairly wacky and damaging comments. Kate Moss’ latest defense of her lifestyle (one which seems to find food to be unnecessary) is a case in point. In a recent interview with fashion magazine WWD, Moss talked about some of her mantras, saying, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Cue instant (and justified) outrage. This was after, in the interview, Moss said, “I think that if you’re beautiful inside, it shows on the outside for sure.” So for those of us who don’t think being incredibly skinny feels good, what are we? Ugly people with ugly exteriors? And the idea that food can’t be a source of pleasure, or that deprivation is somehow a good feeling – well, too many problems with that statement, not enough time. Suffice to say that to suggest that physical nourishment should be sacrified for a constructed standard of beauty is wrong, and very damaging. Moss’s motto is often used on pro-anorexia and bulimia websites, and eating disorder activists have decried her comment as “dangerous” and “very unhelpful.”
Moss’s spokespeople immediately tried to back down, saying that Moss’s responses were taken out of context. Other activists said that they merely thought Moss was out-of-touch. Storm, Moss’s modeling agency, said in a statement, “For the record, Kate does not support this as a lifestyle choice.” This is despite the fact that Kate Moss is known for popularizing super-thin models in the 1990s, and made the “waif” look trendy. In the rest of the interview, Moss made some other questionable statements, deciding that men cannot multitask, and that women are good at it because of “something about babies.”
There’s a point at which we can try to stop listening to celebrities. But the fact is that they have a platform from which to speak that most people don’t have, and they often don’t set a good example – in their lives or in their words.
Katie Green, a former Ultimo underwear model, who has launched a Say No To Size Zero campaign with a Parliament member, said the comments were “irresponsible.” She said, “I think Kate Moss should really have thought before she spoke like most of us do before giving interviews. Kate is a mother herself and how would parents with children suffering from eating disorders feel reading something like this? We are trying to get the government to put something in place to stamp out size zero models and comments like this aren’t doing anything to help.”
We’ve written pretty extensively on body image at Care2 – especially recently about sizeism and the saga of the plus-size model. But my response: how do we dismiss comments like Kate Moss’s – comments that, as much as her modeling agency may want to deny it, clearly reflect her lifestyle? Whether or not we like it, Kate Moss is visible, and when she makes comments like this, it matters. This is why it’s even more crucial to draw attention to the need for better female role models, and calling for accountability is crucial.
What do you think? Do Kate Moss’s comments matter, and if they do, what can we do to make sure they’re not impacting girls and women?
Photo courtesy of Flickr.