I haven't bought a fashion/women's magazine in 18 years and I don't buy designer clothes, so I'm not sure how else to stick it to this industry at this point. As a visual artist myself, I love sparkly things and glamour as much as the next person, but high fashion is not about beauty at all; it's about extreme elitism and, frankly, sadism.
What completely illustrated this for me was an episode of America's Top Model (or whatever it's called; I've watched about 5 episodes). Contestants had to do a shoot submerged in a pool outdoors. After a while, most of the girls were shivering so badly from the cold, they could barely move or speak; eyes rolling back and teeth violently chattering. One curled up next to the pool in a fetal position, shaking like a leaf. Meanwhile, all Tyra Banks could do was shake her head like a disappointed headmistress and go "tsk tsk, this is a tough job. You gotta be able to work it...". How idiotic and UGLY the situation was. A bunch of underweight waifs expected to writhe in cold-ass water until blue just to take some ohh-la-la picture with their hair floating around. Sure, the girls decided to apply for the job and are free to stop. That doesn't negate the fact that the people devising this sort of situation clearly enjoy seeing people in distress and unhealthy. Little sadists with their pinkies in the air.
It's not just about the dumb photos themselves. It's precisely about the ridiculous expectations; the women bending over backwards to the point of breaking to meet the impossibly high standards. What these designers and editors find 'beautiful' is the masochism, the martyrdom, the abject pliancy. It's about celebrating the very elite few who can make it to the top, either alive with such bodies or with new ideas to perpetuate even more preternatural standards.
It's a sick, greedy, nasty spectacle and people really need to stop drinking the cool-aid. I hope to heck my daughter never falls into those trappings. I have no clear idea how to ensure this and it scares me. I hope that loving her, loving myself, surrounding her with examples of respectful and self-respecting people and not having such garbage lying around the house is enough, because I can't control anything else.