Codie Young: Size Zero Scapegoat

Codie Young is a really skinny girl.

Do you know what that tells me?

It tells me that Codie Young is a really skinny girl.

It doesn’t tell me anything about her health, her lifestyle, anything. For all I know, the 18 year-old model whose photos for a recent Topshop campaign are causing all sorts of a ruckus about promoting eating disorders, could spend her mornings farming organic kale and her afternoons running marathons.

Or she could smoke 50 cigarettes, drown a kitten and then snort a line of cocaine longer than her own photoshopped neck, possibly off the corpse of someone’s dead grandmother. It’s anyone’s guess.

Topshop took down the offending photo and replaced it with one that hides her supposedly purge-triggering body behind a coat and offered the reading public a little bread to go along with their circus:

“Topshop is confident that Codie is a healthy young woman and we do not feel it necessary to remove her from our imagery,” said a spokesman for Topshop, “However we do recognize regretfully that the angle this image has been shot at may accentuate Codie’s proportions making her head look bigger and neck longer in proportion to her body . . . We have taken down that specific image at the earliest opportunity. Topshop is proud of its heritage of celebrating individual-looking girls who offer an alternative more unusual beauty.”

Want to see the photo? Here we go.


So here’s what really happened:
Topshop hired a very skinny model and through photography and Photoshop made her look even skinnier because that was the exact look they wanted.

They got busted and now the blame and vilification is falling on the shoulders of a teenage model who, she insists on her blog, is just naturally thin.

Now okay, let’s be honest here, after poring over Ms Young’s blog I’m pretty no one is going to confuse her with Noel Coward in a dark alley so some of her statements aren’t exactly…mature:

There are overweight/obese people who are a size 34 or 18 but know one says anything to them because you don’t want to affend them![…] And funny enough saying I’m anorexic affends me just as being called obese affends overweight people, but the differences is that im not anorexic!

but what about this?

Firstly this is very hurtful to me as I am naturally skinny; and anyone who knows me would know that I have been naturally skinny my entire life as my dad is 6’5 tall and skinny an my mum is also skinny, not to mention that my entire family on my dads side are all tall and skinny like me!

For someone like Ms Davies to say its not okay for me to be this thin ( which is how I was created) basicly says its not okay for me to be who I am!

Okay yeah, just put a gigantic sic. next both those quotes but replace “skinny” with “fat” and how many of us can sing this song from heart? I know I can.

The problem isn’t some size 0 teenager got a job modeling trickledown fashion. The problem is she’s impossible to tell apart from all the OTHER size 0 teenagers who get jobs modeling fashion, trickledown or otherwise.

Ms Young is just another very tall, very thin, faceless automaton who gets jobs because that’s what the modeling industry wants now, to the worrying exclusion of almost anything else.

so when I read this:

“Topshop is proud of its heritage of celebrating individual-looking girls who offer an alternative more unusual beauty.”

Like this, but thinner

I sound a rueful yawp. Can you have a rueful yawp? Well, whatever I did it was loud and rueful. And yawpy.

No, Topshop. No you don’t celebrate individual-looking girls. If you did, there would be more than one body type in your campaigns. YOU, Topshop, celebrate tall, thin girls with faces that are half Eastern-European automatons and half dead-eyed child nymphets. The problem isn’t her body type, the problem is you only hire girls who look like Ms Young so these girls only ever SEE one body type. THAT’S what messes girls up.

There’s nothing wrong with the way Ms Young looks, and maybe girls would feel better about seeing her body shape along side a size 6, a size 10 or *gasp* even a size 16.

Your clothes go up to a 16 so ostensibly you want that business, why not show someone actually wearing that size…or is that too much “unusual beauty” for you?

13 Responses to “Codie Young: Size Zero Scapegoat”

  1. Rebekka August 25, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    She looks so sad in that first picture.

  2. Klee August 25, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    “No, Topshop. No you don’t celebrate individual-looking girls. If you did, there would be more than one body type in your campaigns. YOU, Topshop, celebrate tall, thin girls with faces that are half Eastern-European automatons and half dead-eyed child nymphets. The problem isn’t her body type, the problem is you only hire girls who look like Ms Young so these girls only ever SEE one body type. THAT’S what messes girls up.”

    Word.

  3. Leigh August 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Awesome post. If only they could read it.

  4. Blissing August 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    She doesn’t just look thin, she looks dead. Especially in the Australian Vogue cover in the link you provided. Why the heck is that in?

  5. Orora August 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Women can’t win. We’re too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too old, too fake looking, not fake-looking enough…Unless you look Halle Berry at the Oscars you’re not *right* in whatever way. What if we all just laid off women’s bodies?

    It galls me that an eating disorder group would talk smack about a woman they see as anorexic. If she were, the public shaming would certainly make her disorder worse. Nice going there. But the point is that we don’t know and it’s none of our business. Plumcake is exactly right that we should put the blame squarely on Topshop for using images that promote one narrow standard of beauty to the exclusion of others.

  6. harri p. August 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I’ve got a teenage son who’s naturally very skinny, and he eats like a horse. I was naturally skinny (and ate like a horse) when I was 17, too. Lay off these kids.

  7. Kim August 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Preach it sister!

  8. Leah August 26, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    Amen.

  9. ChaChaHeels August 26, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    Maybe you think she looks sad in that first picture, I think she looks sad in all the pictures. However, she looks positively well padded and chubby in the first picture compared to the way she looks in the Top Shop’s photoshopped ad version of her, below!

    WTF. That’s the only response that’s appropriate. Why don’t they just show a photo of the dress on a wire hanger? No photoshopping required. If she really wants to vent some spleen, she ought to do so at Top Shop. Apparently they don’t find her skinny enough.

  10. Bree August 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    So they take an already thin young woman and photoshop her so she’s even thinner. If the so-called ideal body type in fashion isn’t even good enough, I think that the industry needs to really get its closet in order, if you know what I mean.

  11. sarah August 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    “YOU, Topshop, celebrate tall, thin girls with faces that are half Eastern-European automatons and half dead-eyed child nymphets.” agreed. Absolutely agreed.

    and worse, the same could pretty much be said of fashion in general these days. j’accuse, fashion! j’accuse!

  12. Tea4everyone August 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Bravo Miss Plumcake! I salute you! Very well put. I particularly like “half Eastern-European automatons and half dead-eyed child nymphets” :-)

  13. beacuz August 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Gaga said it “i was born this way”. The fact that the already thin model was photoshopped and she is in plenty of photoshopped company – is not the problem. The model is correct, how rude is was to make an assumption about her eating habits just because she was thin. That really is no more PC than making an assumption about a heavy person and their eating habits. Its just rude. ALL of the blame should have fallen on Topshop and shame on them for making a public statement that hid behind the skirt of a young girl.