Petitioning Yves Saint Laurent, to Stop Using Images of Painfully Thin Models

I was sitting in my office (the bathroom) flipping through the latest Vanity Fair.

I was annoyed that Julia Roberts was on the cover — with legs as long as the Great Wall of China — sitting on the steel-hewn lap of that aphrodisiacal Idris Elba — (Julia’s my new Gwyneth Paltrow object of jealousy) — when I flipped to this ad campaign for Saint Laurent Paris.

Photo credit: Saint Laurent Paris
Photo credit: Saint Laurent Paris

My first reaction was, what the hell? 

My second reaction was worry for this young woman.

Because, to me, she looked malnourished and, as the mother of two daughters, I wanted to nourish her.

Am I crazy? Am I overreacting?

I think we’ve all become accustomed to seeing women whose bodies are simply animate hangers for clothing.

But even with my high tolerance for ultra-thin models, this one struck me as particularly cruel.

Cruel for the model, if she isn’t naturally thin, but depriving herself.

And cruel to all of the young girls and women of a certain age who’ll see it; some of whom will, through osmosis, begin to believe this is the beauty standard.

A standard they can never achieve, unless they’re genetically part of a small group of women (less than 2% of all men and women in America, according to CNN) who are naturally this thin.

This means 98% of women would have to deprive themselves in order to achieve this look.

Also, many readers think I was being condescending when I wrote that I want to nourish this model, but the truth is, I actually am concerned for her health.

I’ve read far too many stories of models who have died, due to complications from anorexia nervosa, or who suffered silently for years while slowly starving themselves.

Hence, my petition is aimed at a business practice that fosters unhealthy working conditions.

I was inspired by a 16-year old girl who recently started a petition at to get Seventeen Magazine to stop photoshopping their models. And she won!

My petition asks Yves Saint Laurent CEO, Francesca Bellettini, to stop using images of malnourished models, or models with dangerously low BMI in YSL ad campaigns.

You can CLICK ON THIS LINK to sign the petition and share your views on the subject of what I call advertising’s “War On Women.”

If this goes well, I’d really like to begin a movement to get all advertisers to use healthy women for their campaigns, one ad campaign at a time.  

Please share this post if you have the time. It’s important, and we can make a difference. Thank you in advance! 

Here’s some of the research, from respected sources, I read prior to starting this petition

This article, by super model Carrie Otis about her struggle with anorexia (and near death) is a must: Living With Anorexia.

Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies? By Psych Central.

Underweight Models Banned in Israel to Fight Anorexia. By The Daily Mail.

The Horror Behind the Glamor: Anorexic Model Reveals How Designers Kept Booking Her Despite Organ Failure. By Elite Daily.

Eating One Rice Cake a Day, Starvation and Self-Hatred: Crystal Renn & Other Models. By Radar Online

Share Eating Disorder Horrors. Pressure to be a Size Zero. Also by Radar Online.

Former Model: My Modeling Career Lasted 3 Years and as a Result, I’ve Had Anorexia for 8′, on Huffington Post.

All 2 Percent Want is to Gain Weight. By CNN.

72 thoughts on “Petitioning Yves Saint Laurent, to Stop Using Images of Painfully Thin Models”

  1. Thanks for bringing this to light. Though I have sons, I do not want them viewing this image as ANY sort of standard they should hold towards women. I hope by eating Cheetos frequently, they understand that this will not be tolerated. I hope others join this push for healthy not scary.

  2. Thanks, Shannon. I promptly signed the petition. I saw this image last week on a NYC fashion blog (can’t remember which one) and this blogger was irate. She had suffered from various eating disorders and has been ‘healthy’ for the past couple of years. She, rightly, pointed out that seeing an image of this body type in a “prestigious” high fashion ad could trigger a relapse in those that continue to struggle with their body image.
    On a personal note, I have been watching a dear friend of mine slowly kill herself with anorexia and substance abuse for the past twenty years. She has overcome the substance abuse for the most part, but she just recently told me she has no desire to let go of her body/food intake obsession. It’s heartbreaking, and she has had multiple rehabs, mostly against her will. I never know if the last time I saw her will be the ‘last’ time.
    Thanks for bringing attention to this horror.

    1. Joanne — I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I never realized completely that anorexia is a disease. I thought victims could simply just choose to eat. And I think there’s a lot less sympathy for this disease because it seems vanity related, but it goes much deeper than that. We have got to start really fighting to make the world of beauty safe for the poor models as well as just for regular women and girls.

  3. I’m all yours in the Outraged Mom battle for health. Take away the clothes and she’s a meal away from the pics we saw after WWII prisoners were liberated. Really. How can we as a society say it’s okay voluntarily starve yourself? How is that remotely connected to beauty? Grrrrrr.

    1. Hi Alexandra — I so agree. As I mentioned in my comment to Doug a lot of these models are actually dropping dead from starvation. There simply has to be a reimagining of how to sell clothes. Again, Dove’s campaign for real beauty is the way we’ve got to go. I buy Dove simply because of their mandate.

    2. Most people who starve themselves have mental disorders. You can’t get mad at them for having health disorders that are not easy to stop.

      1. Paige I really think you, and a lot of other women on this thread, have missed the point. The Advertising Standards Agency actually banned the use of the YSL images as being “irresponsible.” 98 percent of women would be very sick if they looked like this image (and she may have been photoshopped to appear even thinner, we can’t know). Advertisers need to be responsible that they’re not sending out harmful messages to most women who exist on the planet.

  4. I totally agree with you. Not only is it sad for the models, but it has no basis in reality. I do photography as a hobby. I recently shot with a gal who works at a local Victoria’s Secret and we did a shoot for her to submit to VS because they are starting a line of clothing for people a bit larger than the models they show. It was heartening to hear that they were looking to expand their market. She did not make it with them, but was told they were passing her photos on to Lane Bryant (I think). So, maybe there is hope.

    A year or two Israel banned models under a certain BMI from working in the country. I thought that was a bold step.

    1. Hi Doug– thanks for always showing up and commenting. You add so much to the conversation. As I was researching my piece I discovered twin runway models who died from anorexia related ailments, one of them literally dropping dead as she came off the catwalk. It was really the first time that I realized being a model is a dangerous occupation and felt so sad for those poor starving girls. I just don’t understand the fashion industry and why they are doing this to these young women.

  5. Signing it! This is a truly disturbing image. So sad that images like this glorify a mental health disorder. I see so many blogs on Tumblr, etc with girls discussing ridiculous tactics of achieving that elusive (to women with narrow hips) thigh gap.

    1. So you know that this model has a mental health disorder? Do you know her personally? Did you ask her? Obviously you must have or you wouldn’t be able to so confidently state that she has an eating disorder. If you did say that she has an eating disorder without getting your facts right, then that would mean that you are simply judging someone based on the way they look.

      1. Alyssa — I hear you. I’ve re-edited my piece. I suspect it’s still going to offend because I cannot entirely recant. I realize my focus should be more on the image than the actual person in it. I found the image very disturbing, but I do not know the reality of the person in the image, or even, for that matter, what she really looks like. I stand by the petition. I’m not alone in my outrage at the use of extremely thin models and I hope you’ll take a look at this story to see where I’m coming from.

  6. I am not sure your attempt to control a magazine run by gay men who seem to hate women is going to be successful.

    Better to bring your girls into discussion with real Men who will share their lack of attraction to these hyper skinny models.

    If you can get your Husband to show this picture to your girls and spend 2 minutes sharing with them how unattractive they are, and how he is worried about their health, that might go 15-20 % of the way toward helping them shape a better body image. Don’t you stop commenting to them ,but know that Mom’s comments on “what boys like” counts for less than 5%. Getting a non relative, adult male to comment that “this picture of such a skinny girl is repulsive” is worth about 30% of the way toward your goal. Getting a boy her age to say “that is not attractive, this model is too skinny” =70%. Getting a cute 16 year old boy to say it in the presence of a 12-14 year old girl, Priceless.

    Don’t worry about the objectification part. at 9-11 they are too young for that to make a real impact. Putting the strong image of “Boys don’t like skinny girls” will protect your girls from the Anorexic challenge you faced. You can work on the intellectual arguments when they are older (17?)

  7. It is disgusting that you assume this woman is perhaps, “dangerously close to death” or needs to eat a sandwich.. would you post anything about her or her body image if she was 50lbs over-weight? I doubt it, and if you did, you’d have more than 18 comments, I am sure. And not happy ones.
    I am thin. Very thin. I eat, I am an RN and I can assure you I am healthy. I am just lucky enough to have good genes and an even better metabolism and I am sick to death of people telling me to eat something, or commenting on my weight. I’d never say anything to anyone, skinny or fat. It doesn’t make it right because I am thin that people comment.
    Is it part jealousy that people comment? Sure.
    Just as society has created the illusion that it’s not okay to be fat, they’ve also created the idea it’s not okay to be skinny.
    How about we leave everyone’s weight alone and look at the whole picture.
    You are rude and pretentious and probably way off base about how sick she may be.
    Try commenting on an over-weight model and say how she’s one cheesebuger away from a heart attackk.. see how that goes.

    1. Hi Traci — I’ve obviously pushed a button in you (and you’re not alone). I agree that women should have the right to their bodies and that we should keep our opinions to ourselves in personal situations. Unfortunately I do think the fashion industry has had a negative impact on women of all shapes and sizes. I do believe the images we see have a powerful impact on how we see ourselves. And I think in the case of this photograph Yves Saint Laurent (not the model) went too far. I’ve seen women who are naturally thin and they look perfectly healthy (I too was really thin as a teenager and young adult and did get my share of comments about needing to eat), but I think this particular model looks unhealthy. Whether she is or not, obviously I don’t know, but I do think the advertising industry needs to be held accountable for images they put out there. Had I been able to start my petition on without this photo I would have because I am not trying to shame this young women, rather YSKL. Unfortunately to run an effective campaign I needed to use the photo. I hope we can agree to disagree without insulting each other personally.

    Do you have any idea how offensive and harsh your words in this letter are toward thin women???? If you think you are standing up for women of all shapes and sizes you are very mistaken. You have just told thin women and girls everywhere that they are disgusting to look at and imply that we must all be anorexic if we look this way. I am old enough now to love my thin body but as a teen it was extremely difficult to accept my self and the way I looked. I guarantee you that you have absolutely crushed the self-image of thousands of girls and women out there who are naturally thin. And every person who is signing your petition is reinforcing this. I understand what your intentions were in writing this letter but you have sorely missed the mark. You have demonized one type of woman in an attempt to make another type feel better. That is NOT beneficial to anyone. I urge you to re-think and re-phrase your letter to more accurately describe the point you were trying to make. Because you have failed. Miserably. If 15-year-old me had read your words I would have been in tears.

  9. I don’t feel this is fair. There are people out there who are naturally that thin. I am one of them, and I have a friend who is too. Trust me, I eat 3 not so healthy meals a day, have tried protein shakes and everything else on the market to gain weight because I get sick of the “eat a sandwich” and “you’re too skinny” comments. Maybe if we focused more on making every body type feel beautiful and not attacking one we’d make a lot more progress.

  10. I have so much to say in response to this, I’m not even sure how to phrase it. I am very sorry that you have had a difficult time with weight and body image personally, however it is irresponsible and biased to blame and/or project that onto a misrepresentation of factual reality. I work in the modeling industry, and have for many years. Models are not suffering from malnutrition as people try to paint- modeling work is very physically demanding. It’s hard work and often long days, and anyone who was not healthy would be unable to keep up. Perpetuating these over-sensationalized rumors is reckless and may even help to feed into those that do have issues.
    Models are naturally thin, and typically very young, having that youthful coltish figure. There are many women who have thin physiques, just as there are many who have voluptuous curves. What we really need as a society is acceptance instead of this shaming and we would all be much better off.
    And for anyone who likes to blame modern advertising for eating disorders, please look beyond your conception’s limits to search for facts. Even on islands far removed from our country’s current culture, far from our bombardment of visual marketing, medicine finds cases of anorexia. A disease that we don’t truly know much about, but certainly goes far beyond what people like you seem so eager to summarize it as- a symptom of too many fashion magazines. You do everyone an injustice by this.

    1. Hi Katherine — I appreciate your comment and have made some changes to my post that I think were needed. I don’t agree that we should let the advertising industry off the hook entirely when it comes to eating disorders. There are many varied reasons why women succumb to the disease, but I’m not alone in believing that images have a huge impact on the way we perceive ourselves.

  11. To answer your two questions, no, you are not crazy, but yes, you are overreacting. Your petition calls to “stop using anorexic models” which in my opinion is absurd; using such a term has a lot of implications which you seem to be unaware of. Anorexia nervosa is a severe eating disorder which has both physiological and psychological causes. Wrongly accusing anyone of having a disorder like this is far more appalling than anything the fashion industry is doing. Photoshopping women is a completely different thing from using models, that in reality, look like this.

    You said that you “think this particular model looks unhealthy. Whether she is or not, obviously I don’t know” yet you seem to believe that “she’ll think twice about eating even one healthy meal a day fearing if she gains an ounce she’ll be unemployed”.

    What about Lizzie Velasquez who isn’t able to gain weight because of a medical condition? Are you saying that since she has zero percent body fat she is not beautiful?

    Obviously, I am not advocating for or promoting anorexia but the way that you termed your petition is wrong. Honestly, the comments on your petition saying “making money off of starvation and illness” makes me feel a lot worse about my body type than anything the media has ever portrayed. What you should be more focused on is promoting health and wellness instead of trying to wipe an entire body type off the earth.

    1. Hi Marina — Based on your comment I made some changes to my post and my petition. I also left a much longer response in the comments unattached to any one comment that might further explain my POV. But I appreciate your contribution and took it seriously. Best, S

  12. Hello Readers — this post has caused a lot more controversy than I realized it would when I published it. In particular commenters Alyssa, Vicki, Katherine and Marina made some heartfelt and excellent points. In rereading this post I realize I come across as flip and condescending. That was my attempt at adding some levity to the topic.

    I also realize that I’ve made this particular model a scapegoat for my petition. I don’t know her name, I don’t know if she actually looks like this (with photo-shopping there’s no real way to know) and you are all right, I don’t know if she has anorexia.

    What I can say with certainty is that I had an intense reaction to this photograph. As I mentioned in comments above and a separate post, I was a very thin young woman. My father frequently teased me about the strings hanging out of my shorts “Oh, they’re your legs.” So I certainly didn’t mean to suggest thin women aren’t beautiful. But this particular model, in this particular pose created a visceral reaction of outrage FOR ME.

    Many of you who have worked in the fashion industry seem to have had wonderful experiences and I believe you’re telling the truth. But in my research for this post I came across some really heartbreaking stories. Luisel Ramos died of complications from anorexia nervosa shortly after she stepped off the catwalk. Her younger sister, Eliana Ramos, also a fashion model succumbed to anorexia nervosa six months later. Ana Carolina Reston, Hila Elmalich, Isabel Caro, all fashion models dead from anorexia. And scores of models have come forward to say they have grappled with the disease among them Carol Alt and Carre Otis.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness in their definition of Anorexia Nervosa has this to say:

    “Like all eating disorders, anorexia nervosa tends to occur in adolescence, but can develop at any time throughout one’s lifetime. It predominately affects adolescent girls and young adult women, although it also occurs in boys, men, older women and younger girls. Others especially at risk for eating disorders include athletes, dancers and models for which thinness has become a “professional requirement.”

    So I believe my assumption regarding this model had some basis in fact.

    Having said that, it isn’t fact, it is an assumption. So what I’m going to do in response to these comments is REMOVE THE WORD ANOREXIA.

    It was impulsive to use this word in relation to a person I don’t know.

    However, I will not remove the petition. I do think the fashion industry bears a heavy burden of responsibility for the body image issues many women suffer from today. Including thin women. So I will try to retailor my wording in a less inflammatory way. And while we don’t always agree, I do so appreciate all of your comments and concerns. I learn a lot from you. Thank you, S

  13. The problem I have with this and with your petition is that you come across projecting the idea that it is wrong to be thin. There are plenty of us who are naturally that thin and perfectly healthy, and speaking for myself, I don’t appreciate my body type, which is similar to the model’s, being described as “seemingly malnourished” or “dangerously low BMI”, because there are plenty of us “rail thin” girls who are not remotely malnourished and still have a BMI within the healthy and normal range.

    Just because you took out the WORD “anorexic” does not mean you aren’t still screaming it silently with your petition.

    You talk about the girl who got Seventeen Magazine to stop photoshopping models, and yet you don’t seem to see how completely different that petition was from yours. That girl was promoting REAL images of women, whereas you are promoting that thin women aren’t as real as curvy. You might not say the words, but what you do say leaves this impression. What I don’t get is why you aren’t petitioning to have a more equal representation of body types – models of all different shapes and sizes, rather than just thin. There is nothing wrong with being healthily thin, and it’s just as attractive as any other body type.

    I understand that you think you’re doing something good here, but it seems like there could be a better way to do it, WITHOUT offending any woman with a naturally very thin body type. Such as promoting using models in a variety of sizes.

    1. Hi Callan — thanks for your comment. And I DO wish the fashion industry would use women of all body types, including thin body types. As I said before this image disturbs me. There are plenty of ads with women who are thin in them that don’t engender this reaction in me. I know this is a very subjective thing and it does bother me that people thing I’m bashing naturally thin people in a wholesale manner. That was not my intent.

  14. People like you disgust me. That you would deem it unnatural or repugnant to be thin just to mitigate your own troubled self-image is barbaric.

    I can’t help but wonder how many of the girls that you’ve called anorexic are actually anorexic. I bet a lot of them eat more than you. Yet that doesn’t keep you from destroying their self-esteem, does it?

    Has it ever occurred to you that maybe—just maybe—not every woman has the same metabolism as you? That they could eat as they please without weight-gaining-consequences and still have the anorexic appeal? Yet you don’t presume them natural. I guess that prompting society to rebuke them is an easy and selfish way to dismiss the embodiment of your own bad genes.

    Name calling is not the solution to getting curvy girls noticed. I advise you to let others be happy as they are (given that one’s image should not affect the well-being of others) and, please, for the sake of young ladies who are in the process of learning to love themselves, find a more gracious approach.

  15. While I understand the urge to help people we see as being in need of help many people here seem to have a very skewed view of what anorexia is and is not. Being thin, or even underweight is not anorexia. Having a low BMI is not anorexia. People with anorexianervosa have a mental health disease, not a vanity crisis. How any person can say they want girls to have a positive body image and then go on to say they think people under a certain BMI should be excluded from a job is amazing to me. Can you guys hear yourself? The girl in this image does not come close to looking like a halocost victem, do a google image search. She is certainly thin, but how on earth would banning a low BMI be any different from banning a large BMI? Discrimination is discrimination even if the person being bullied doesnt look like you. Body shaming is body shaming, even if the person is being shamed for a different reason than you. The goal we should be aiming for is to have all body types recognized in advertising, and this movement is picking up momentum, it still has a ways to go, but if we all keep pushing we can get there. Think back to the body types you saw in middle and high school, do you really think it is beneficial to anyone with any body type to be told their body is grotesque? Many of the commentshere are despicably detrimental to the very cause they claim to support. If we are not willing to stand by ALL body types then we are just as wrong as ‘the other guy’.

  16. Two more things, anorexia nervosa accounts for less than 1% of the population, it is not statistically possible for all the people accused of having the disorder to actually have it. Last point, the problem with using correlational data to prove causation is that it is often wrong, dont you think it is possible that people with anorexia nervosa become models because of their disorder rather than vise versa (keeping in mind that even amoung models anorexia is rarer than you think).

  17. I normally don’t comment on stuff like this, but as a thin girl I AM PISSED!
    I am SICK of this anti-skinny girl crusade that people like yourself seem to be on. How do you KNOW this girl (and other thin girls) have an eating disorder? Did you ask her or any of them? Have you even met this girl? Obviously not, but you and your backers seem to have no problem shaming her into oblivion. You have no problem SHAMING thin girls like me and convincing us that something is wrong with us. You know why I’m skinny? I have a fast metabolism and I do martial arts twice a week. But you’d probably still look at me and think I’m ‘anorexic.’
    I would NEVER (and have never) shamed someone for the body type they have. Unfortunately, I HAVE been shamed for MY body type. In fact, I was bullied for 5 years straight because of it. Do you have any idea what this did to my self esteem? I did not think I was beautiful until I had been out of high school for MANY years. I am also anti-social, untrusting, and am not comfortable in social situations. People still walk by me to THIS DAY and tell say to their friends I should ‘eat a cheeseburger’, thinking I can’t hear them because my headphone are in. Difference now is it doesn’t hurt my feelings.
    So next time, before you shame someone for their body type, think about the damage you could potentially be doing.

  18. I look like that model, I’m 5 2″ and 97 lbs which is under BMI. I however eat 4 meals a day and take in 3500 calories (I drink slim fast in between meals to combat my workouts). I’ve participated in two marathons and three sprint triathlons. My doctor, my nutritionist, ad my trainer reassure me I am healthy and my weight is a combination of genetics and vigorous exercise.

    What this kind of message is this sending women like myself? It says that those around us find us grotesque and malnourished. It says that because of the way we look, not the way we live, we are “unhealthy.”

    I do believe some women who look like me may be malnourished and suffer from eating disorders, both issues which should be addressed in order to help them. However, spreading around the notion that skinny women are “unhealthy” looking is JUST as detrimental to self-esteem. What we should be urging the media to do is include all body types instead of excluding just one.

  19. To all of you naturally thin or under weight women. I’m sorry I’ve offended you, it certainly wasn’t my intent. And I don’t like some of the virulent comments that were left on the petition.

    This will be my final comment on this topic. I do not think naturally thin women are unattractive. Nor do I think naturally heavier women are unattractive. I think unhealthy women shouldn’t be used in ad campaigns. There are both unhealthy thin and unhealthy heavy women. This image (and as I said, this model may not even actually look like this due to photoshopping) disturbs me, hence my petition.

    I hope we can agree to disagree. Best, Shannon

  20. I’m not nearly as thin as I once was (I weigh 125 lbs at 5’8″ now that my metabolism is slowing down as I get older), but I still relate very much to being described as a prepubescent boy with no breasts, small hips, a twig etc., and having my natural body type referred to as disgusting, not beautiful, sickly, weak, unhealthy, grotesque, not normal, and a concentration camp victim in the comments of your petition is unbelievably offensive and disturbing. Better representation of all body types is needed, but denying the legitimacy of a thin body being beautiful, normal, or a “real” woman is not going to help the women and girls of this world either. In fact, it hurts, and it contributes to the damage done to the self-image of little girls and women young and old. You call me unhealthy, malnourished, and anorexic for being thin, but I call myself healthy, beautiful, normal, and a woman for being who I am. Perhaps us thin women should not work and hide indoors so impressionable girls aren’t exposed to us. You’re not helping, you’re discriminating and spreading hate. Perhaps you should reflect on that the next time you’re in your “office.”

  21. I am just as thin if not thinner than the girl in that picture. My whole life I was told to eat more and that being this skinny isnt fair. Trust me when I say I eat way more food then I should (close to 6 meals a day)! Recently, I got labeled as malnourished at the doctor. They didnt even ask me about my food intake! They just assumed I was not eating enough based on what I looked like. Ridiculous. This saddens me that this is how people view skinny girls. Like we are a problem that needs to be fixed.

  22. Not loving this article

    So while I agree that the model looks very thin, 1) Occasionally, this is because of photoshop, and yes, shame on the YSL people for that; 2) This article is probably one of the more ignorant and harsh posts I’ve ever read. What if she is anorexic? What if she isn’t? Maybe that is her body type. You have no idea what is up with that model. Who are you to judge? As a naturally slender person who is NOT anorexic or unhealthy (I am active; I eat a lot and healthily, but I have a fast metabolism that keeps churning regardless of my level of activity), I find this article very insulting. I think if you stopped persecuting the skinny people and worded your petition to wanting YSL to hire models who inspire a healthy body image, you might be slightly more successful.

  23. Monica Connor

    I object to your comment about “women whose bodies are simply animate hangers for clothing.” This is a dehumanizing thing to say, because all bodies consist of more than just appearance. Look beyond what you see on the outside and consider all the possible reasons why a particular person might be thin. I’ve always been very slender, but my body has never been an “animate [hanger] for clothing.” My body is healthy and works the way it should. I’m slender due to my genetics, my age, and my diet (vegetarian). People’s bodies are never “simply” anything.

    I sincerely hope you will remove this statement from your blog post. It is not fair or considerate to any woman who could be considered thin.

    You could say instead, “I think we’ve all seen accustomed to seeing (very) thin women.” That would get your point across without using this metaphor.

    You may have chosen to stop commenting on this topic, but this post is still offensive.

  24. Loved this article and signed the petition. A friend of yours is very offended that skinny girls are so oppressed in this culture, and she wrote a blog about it on Huffpost called “Stop Making the Thin Girl Ugly.” I hope she follows this up with “Stop making the light-skinned girl ugly” and “Stop making the young girl ugly”. As you know, light-skinned, young, skinny women are treated like dogs in the media. They are either completely missing from the pages of fashion magazines and movies, or they are cast as the sexless, funny, lovable loser friends. Sigh. It is tragic. Haven’t thin women suffered enough? Stop picking on them!

    1. Penny you crack me up. Thanks for signing the petition, I think it’s important regardless of the thin backlash. Only 2% of people in the U.S. are underweight (that includes men), so if the other 98% tried to look like the girl in that ad they’d have to starve themselves. I think the image is irresponsible.

  25. I find this deeply offensive. As someone who is naturally thin and small, with friends in the same situation I think it is insulting that you assume she is malnourished. I am smaller than that girl and my best friend has legs the size of that girls arms. We happen to have stopped growing at twelve years old, it happens. All of you who are just assuming that everyone is starving themselves to achieve these bodies are the ones who are completely in the wrong here, yes, we want to see a variety of models in the media but thin is a thing that exists. What I take away from your article and the comments is do not let thin girls think it is right to be thin, she does not look malnourished you are being ignorant and judgmental. Thin girls are just as self-conscious as everyone else and you know what a thin girls least favourite thing to hear is, that they need to gain some weight, it is not easy, I have spent the last four years trying to gain eight pounds and all my body will let me keep is about three, even keeping that on is hard. Girls like me read an article like this and it makes them more self-conscious and not want to put themselves out to the world because this is the reaction they get. You are an incredibly insulting person and this petition is way more condescending than you realize.

    1. Kitty, here are the facts from a CNN poll taken in 2012, 2% of people in the United States are what is considered to be underweight. Some of them have eating disorders, some of them are simply naturally underweight. The woman in the photograph looks underweight. She may not actually be malnourished or have anorexia, as many of you have pointed out and that’s why I have altered the wording in the petition to focus more on the image, than the model.

      I think YSL is not being responsible using an image of a woman who appears to have the body of a 12-year old girl, representing an adult cloting line. Because the other 98% of the people looking at that image couldn’t achieve that look unless they starved themselves. It’s not good for MOST OF THE WOMEN AND GIRLS in our society to see images like this.

      I also would be concerned if morbid obesity were being promoted as the beauty standard because FOR MOST WOMEN this would be unhealthy. I understand all of the thin people out there think I’m targeting them, that isn’t my intent. My intent is to follow the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty in offering body images that are realistic for most women in our society. The preponderance of women are still under-represented in the fashion world.

      Also, I realize many of you feel I was condescending toward the model by saying I want to nourish her. That wasn’t meant to be condescending or a joke. As a mother it hurts me to see someone that painfully thin. There are myriads of stories of models succumbing to anorexia (which is why Israel created a law instating a certain BMI for their runway models because 2 Israeli models, sisters, both died of anorexia and one of them just after stepping off the catwalk). I think it’s criminal that an industry should require a size 0 sample size when most women can’t fit into them after a certain age. So I actually AM CONCERNED for the woman in the ad. I don’t know that she isn’t starving herself to stay employed.

      And for all of the thin women writing in — you may have been taunted at times in your life (I was when I was quite thin), but the fact is your body is currently the beauty standard despite the fact that only 2% of you (excluding third world countries where there is a lack of food) are this slim.

      I’ll push forward with this petition (and am thankful with what I learned in these comments so that the petition holds YSL more accountable). So again, we’ll have to agree to disagree. All the best, S

  26. Thank you. You have inspired me to blog about your blog this morning. It makes me so sad. Great post!
    Peace & Love,

  27. “less than 2% of all men and women in America, according to CNN” – “Fewer than”, -please (!)

  28. You don’t know the model, so you can’t critisize her for being “too skinny”. I am skinny too, my boyfriend also. We weigh less then is “normal”, but we eat as much as we can eat. We eat meat, drink coca cola, go to mc donald’s and we stay skinny. It’s as rude to comment on us “you are really (too) skinny” as it is rude to say to somebody else “you’re too fat”. So I am against your petition. Everybody is who he is, skinny, fat or “normal”. Don’t judge this model, don’t judge skinny girls, if you do you’re no different than all the people who call people “fat”. Also, girls with anorexia often have it not because of the will to be skinny but because they have other personal problems they can’t talk about and struggle with their feelings.. So you’re not helping them at all with your blog either

    1. Jolien — Do you truly believe that the fashion industry shouldn’t be held accountable for requiring women to be a specific size? Do you discredit all of the models who have come forward and said they are suffering or have suffered from eating disorders due to the pressure of their job? COuld it be possible that the young women in the photograph is not eating enough due to her job?? Yes. I don’t know that’s the case, but I do know the pressure on the women in these ads is monumental. I am sorry if I come across as “skinny bashing.” I have tried to change the rhetoric of both the post and the petition to reflect that I am not trying to degrade the model, rather I am trying to hold a company responsible for unhealthy business practices and am also trying to point out that 98% of the populace would have to be ill to look like that young woman. There is absolutely NOT a variety of body types represented in the fashion industry and it absolutely DOES do damage to women’s body image. And here’s another thing, many of the slender women who are angry at me have shown me their photographs and so far NOT ONE OF THEM has looked unhealthy or unappealing. They’ve all looked beautiful. I just finished looking through the new Athleta catalogue and every single one of the models in it haven’t one ounce of body fat and they look GORGEOUS and HEALTHY because I can see they are strong, lean and muscular.

  29. And by saying she is “too skinny” you do the same as saying to somebody that he/she is “too fat”. That’s your opinion but it doesn’t mean it’s true. Do you think the model feels good now? You are telling thousands of girls they are ugly by writing this blog… You judge them by how they look, not by how she is. So you are sending the wrong message around the world and I hate people like you who do this. RESPECT EVERY-BODY!!!!!!

  30. You are sending the wrong message with this petition, and the actual one is not sent. This model may be photoshopped or be naturally thin. Accusing someone of underfeeding themself is hard. You should hold a petition for models in general, to have a more ‘normal’ BMI or a petition against photshop, but holding a petition against a particular model is just wrong. How would you feel if someone posted on the internet they think you have severe anoxeria and held a petition against you?

  31. I am very sorry for you and for your daughters. I sincerely hope you will grow and mature to become more thoughtfull and accepting person for the sake of your daughters selfimage. A mother who attacks other women based on their appearance is possibly the worst to have when growing up. I hope you sort your own issues before starting crusades like this that hurt so many people. Anorexic shaming is very dangerous, as people come in all sizes and shapes and celebrating difference and creating more open and loving enviroment for different body types would be better way to approach this issue. Attacking the model this way makes you seem very immature and shallow. As a person who nearly lost her life because false anorexia accusations and was denied proper medical check because anorexia shaming is so dominant at the moment that severe medical issues go undetected. There are numerous medical conditions that cause people to be thin, assuming people of having mental ilness and attacking them for it is extremely cruel. I don’t think that can seriously be the example you want to be giving to your daughters?

  32. This is, indeed, a very disappointing blog/petition. We, as women, need to come together and celebrate one another. I understand your concerns for thin models being glamorized in ads, but you are unfortunately portraying the “thin girls” as anorexic and unhealthy. It’s very biased and offensive, and I’m not even thin. If you really want to do some healthy damage, bring light of anorexia/bulemia/overweight/non-exercising/bad eating habits/ etc. to END THE TREND. You’re not ending, helping, or promoting anything other than low self esteem in people who either don’t deserve it or who are just thin in general. This to me is no different than stating “fat girls shouldn’t be the posterboard for ….”. I believe you are well-intended and not trying to offend anyone – but there could be so much good coming from this, and it’s doing the opposite. Media will always be an influence in our society – that will never change. Just as the thin girl needs to eat, the fat girl needs to purge. You’ll see this constantly everywhere. My advice to you is to empower women – you have the ability to do so. Please remember when you bash the media for promoting certain body images, those body images do come with a name and face of several women. Again, women need to stand together and celebrate one another to help and support whatever stuggles we face, beit an unhealthy lifestyle, anorexia, obesity, etc. Singling out will get you no where. Young women, especially, need the encouragement to raise self esteem and worth – you’re only hindering that.

  33. I know this model and she does not starve herself at all. She eats McDonalds! I work with models who look super duper skinny but eat like crazy and eat whatever they want. A lot of us just have a really really fast metabolism. We can’t help and it sucks to be judged and stereotyped.

    1. Hey Kim — I hear you. This petition certainly pissed a lot of women off. But let’s face it, most women feel they’re not thin enough. I wish I knew the actual statistic, there are different stats depending on where you look, so the issue really remains showing more body types in beautiful settings, not just thin ones. And certainly not the kind of thin that would be dangerous for some women to emulate.

  34. you dont know this girl, you dont know how she became this thin and that is NOT your problem. I’m sick of seeing people bash skinny girls its literally the same thing as people bashing girls for being ‘too fat’. Whats ‘too thin’ to you might be pretty to some people because its all OPINIONS. and you should keep your hurtful rude opinions to yourself. I dont care that you have children and feel like you need to help this girl. You need to help yourself and understand that this is completely uncalled for. You’re bashing skinny girls and its unfair.

  35. I feel like people are missing the overall message of this petition. When I found it on I was inspired and excited, then crushed and confused by all the negative comments. As I’m pursuing a career in fashion design, I completely see her point here and the necessity of the petition. She’s not saying that if you’re thin you’re disturbing or unattractive? I think the point was just that the fashion industry glamorizes this ONE single look over and over instead of showing a variety of body types and beautiful women. So if you naturally don’t, or can’t, look like this it’s driving women and girls to do drastic things to try and achieve this unachievable body image. Yes, getting Yves Saint Laurent to trash this one image won’t make a huge difference. But imagine if they agreed to start showing ads depicting other body types, or just healthier looking ones at that, then other brands followed suit? By that happening the entire fashion industry would change, and hopefully people’s outlook on their bodies as well.
    All the best. xo

    1. Hayley sweet mother of God yes!! Finally someone who understands my point of view. Sometimes I think commenters online just want to have something to fight about. Why we can’t support one another or disagree respectfully is beyond me. sigh.

  36. I have been fat and I have been thin. The only thing that never changes is that someone tells me my body is wrong, that it is disgusting, that whatever it is I eat is the wrong thing or the wrong amount. Classmates, teachers, friends, family, total strangers…

    This article you’ve written is just another example of the real problem: everyone feels completely entitled to judge women’s bodies, comment on those bodies, and have the owners of those bodies respond to said comments.

    I used to be told I was too fat. Now everyone tells me, “You look great but don’t lose another pound!” You know what I say? “Thanks, but I’ll be exactly as fat or as thin as I please and it’s no one else’s business.”

    Say no to judging women’s bodies. Say no to commenting on how much or how little you think other women eat. Say no to this baseless objectification.

    1. Hey NotSleeping I agree with part of what you’re saying. I have a neighbor who is constantly telling me I need to lose two pounds. I told him I don’t mind when he hugs me, (because he’s a love, believe it or not), so I tell him, “You can put your arms around my body, but please keep your words off of my body.”

      I don’t think anyone should comment on anyone else’s body.

      But what I’m trying to do here is different. The model used in this photograph (and we can’t know for sure whether she actually really looks like this due to photoshopping) is being photographed by an advertiser for an ad selling beauty. She has a body type that might be healthy for her, but for most women trying to achieve that appearance would be unhealthy, and potentially dangerous for them. My reaction to this particular photograph was the straw that broke the camels back. I’m tired of seeing extremely thin models used a good 95% of the time to represent beauty. I’m asking for more representation in aspirational settings with images that represent the majority of women. I understand the way I wrote the post comes across as me attacking this one woman, and I was angry when I wrote it, but I don’t mean to attack one woman, I mean to attack an industry which study after study has shown is decimating womens’ body image.

  37. With all due respect I believe you to be wrong. Judging a woman (or girl) based on her body type and her body size is harmful. It does not matter if the woman is thin, average, overweight, or more. I am 20 years old. I am active. I haven’t had children. I am what you would consider to be “ugly” and “malnourished” based on your beliefs. In reality, I am young, genetically lucky, and active. It hurts me that you wish to personally attack women of my body type. You say you have daughters, that’s wonderful. As I already said, I am not a mother, but if I was I would like to think I would teach my daughters that everyone is beautiful. I would teach my daughters that as long as they were healthy & felt good that that is all that mattered. That it doesn’t matter what some ill-informed, angry woman on the internet might be saying about their bodies. You are sending out a dangerous message to many young girls. To other women’s daughters. To young women, like me, who are trying to pave a way for themselves in this world, but also happen to have a BMI of less than 18. I am not less because I take up less space.

  38. Be careful what you say about other people without proof. This model could be 100% healthy. You cannot assume that she is anorexic or malnourished just because she is thin and you certainly cannot go and write a whole piece about how she is not allowed to model because she may or may not be malnourished. Before writing offensive stuff like this, maybe find a little bit of proof to your words. Otherwise this could come across as offensive.

  39. You know I think we should have both skinny and curvy girls in magazines. They are both really pretty. Plus some girls are just thin naturally. They might just anorexic. If you are calling a lot of people anorexic and thin then its like it is okay to someone fat. Both curvy skinny girls should be in this stuff. Cause all body’s are awesome.

Comments are closed.

Self-Help Book About Healing Love Addiction

Don't Miss Shannon's Tastefully Infrequent Newsletter


* indicates required