Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ralph Lauren's Overly Thin Ad—Continued...

So I'll admit it, this post is a little off topic for the blog and a bit editorial, but it's an interesting update on last week's post about retouching—specifically referring to the Ralph Lauren ad I discussed.

Apparently, around the day that I originally posted, Ralph Lauren issued an apology about the ad in question, probably realizing that trying to silence bloggers was not really working. But the PR nightmare isn't over for Ralph Lauren now that the model in question, Filippa Hamilton, has come forward saying that she was fired from Ralph Lauren six months ago for being 'overweight.' Wow. She'd worked for Ralph Lauren since she was discovered at age 15. According to this Shine article, Hamilton is a size 4, 5' 10" and 120 pounds. That height and weight puts her BMI at 17.2 which is technically underweight. She'd even be too thin to participate in runway shows in Madrid which has banned models with a BMI under 18. Apparently, that is not a rule Ralph Lauren agrees with since their technically underweight model was so overweight by their standards that after firing her they felt the need to whittle away not just her waist and hips, but her legs and arms too. To the right is a photo of a healthy version of Hamiliton. Compare it to the one in my previous post.

Ralph Lauren's defense? This ad was never supposed to be seen in the U.S. It was for Japan only. Oops. Sorry to break it to you, but this is a flat world and other company's mistakes should teach you that country specific ads often leak their way into territories they were never intended for. But even so, why is it okay in Japan? The few Japanese women I know well, via an exchange program, are all significantly more fashion and weight obsessed than most American women I know. All the more reason to be portraying health, not anorexia.

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