Stella McCartney made the internet shit itself on Monday when she posted a photo of a model backstage at Paris Fashion Week wearing her Spring 2015 show shirt. Not because the shirt cost $113, but because the model, JiHye Park, looked very thin.
Seeing thin people is something I imagine must happen quite frequently when you’re hanging out with teenage models backstage at Paris Fashion Week, but I can also understand that the general public might not be so desensitized to such images. So, unfortunately, all the angry comments calling this girl “sick,” “disgusting,” and (my personal favorite) “not a real woman” weren’t totally surprising.
But the worst part isn’t even the comments. It’s that yesterday McCartney pulled the original photo and replaced it with one of Malaika Firth wearing the same shirt. There’s no mention of the earlier photo, but one isn’t needed. The message that Malaika Firth is much more beautiful than JiHye Park is quite explicit.
Reading the comments on a popular Instagram account is not an activity I’d ever recommend someone seeking an uplifting experience, but the things being said by legit adults here leaves me more disheartened about the entire human race than following online exchanges between Selenators and Beliebers does. “Now I agree it’s beautiful! It fits better with the brand,” and “Much better! Glad to see you listened to your fans. Please tell the other girl to seek treatment, she’s clearly sick,” are just two examples from people who are probably older than 12.
Keep in mind that if Park did “seek treatment,” which would presumably consist of being force-fed since she’s clearly naturally thin, she would also lose her only source of income while at the same time changing literally nothing about the fashion industry. Also both girls look basically the same size on the runway.
Call me totally batshit insane, but it seems like a much easier solution would just be to leave the original photo up and post the one of Malaika too. I don’t know, maybe you could even be super edgy and post one of a plus-size woman from time to time.
“We are a house that celebrates all shapes, all sizes, all races and all ages,” a Stella McCartney representative told The Independent. “Our bodies come in a wonderful natural variety of shapes and sizes – we need to be able to appreciate and admire them for what they are, not waste our lives chasing a fake ideal.” Well removing the original photo and failing to ever post photos of larger women suggests there is only one ideal – skinny but only so perfectly skinny that no obvious bones are showing – and anything on either side of that is weird and gross.
There’s nothing misleading about Instagramming skinny models. By doing so you’re actually representing the fashion industry very accurately. What’s misleading is blaming this all on the fact that it was “a quick snap done backstage,” when you were the one who had Park put there in the first place.