My name is Shannon Bradley-Colleary and I blog frequently about body image issues at TheWomanFormerlyKnownAsBeautiful.com because throughout my life I have suffered from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which basically means not seeing the beauty in my body, rather seeing only its perceived flaws, which has impacted my life negatively.
My senior year in college I dropped down to 107 lbs at 5'7" in order to hopefully rid myself of cellulite no one but me could see. Fortunately I decided I liked to eat and just came to accept the fact my body would never be "perfect" the way I thought it should be.
Now I'm the mother of two daughters, aged 9 and 11, who are constantly bombarded by images of models who are photo-shopped into human hangers or are painfully thin in ad campaigns. And they're seeing these images 200% more times than I did in my childhood thanks to the ubiquity of arenas from which these images can enter their lives.
As a woman and a mother I am angered by the unrealistic expectations placed on women and girls for how their bodies "should" look and the truly disturbing practice of using images of painfully thin models in ad campaigns.
Only 2% of Americans are underweight (according to CNN) yet the preponderence of images in fashion campaigns are of ultra-thin models.
When I saw the attached image in an Yves Saint Laurent campaign in the March issue of Vanity Fair I decided enough is enough. 98% if the populace would have to starve themselves to look like the model in this image.
I don't want one more woman or girl to be damaged by the message this image sends. Which seems to be that frailty and uber-thinness is the Beauty Standard. I particularly don't want my daughters to succumb to this expectation.
These types of images can directly lead to everything from simple dissatisfaction with our bodies to serious eating disorders, some of which may result in death.
This is the reason I want to help dismantle the War on Women one beauty/fashion brand at a time.
Francesca Bellettini at Yves Saint Laurent
We request that you stop using images depicting models who may be malnourished or have a dangerously low BMI. The use of these images in your print ads is both damaging to the models themselves, who get the message they have to be uber-thin to get work, and to young girls and women who see these images and internalize the message that low-BMI is desirable. This can lead to everything from simple dissatisfaction with our bodies to serious eating disorders, some of which may result in death. Sincerely, Shannon Bradley-Colleary
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