Fashion Monitor: Size Issue Weighs Heavily

Kimberley Foster writes...

As an editor of a website for women, many of whom are young women, I have a responsibility and that is to present informative and interesting content without deliberately trying to incite or influence negative reactions. You may not always agree with what we write about and that's fine... as blogging is all about taking what's current and making comments about it. We like to hear from you as much as you hear from us. In fact, we prefer it. The opportunity for your instant feedback is what sets us apart from traditional media. However, lately it has become increasingly difficult for me, as an editor, to decide what to publish and what not to publish and this is due largely to that one topic that continues to circle the fashion industry like an angry buzzard without any sign of letting up and that is the issue of size.

From banning super-skinny models at fashion weeks to deciding whether Beth Ditto deserves her own Topshop range, the topic is endless. And while it is undoubtedly an important subject and one that we do not wish to ignore, we also don't want to see Catwalk Queen become a weight/diet blog or the next favoured resource for pro-anorexia websites. It's a topic that continues to divide me as an editor and as a woman. The debate rages in all forms from week to week and as tiring and disheartening as it sometimes seems you all have the opportunity to respond and if I can help to encourage healthy debate amongst women then I don't end up feeling quite so torn.

Size is always going to be a sensitive topic no matter how we approach it. I look at Louise Redknapp's recent attempt to lift the lid on what it's really like to shrink your body down to extremely unhealthy size and I see someone who is brave. Whether she fails or succeeds at getting her point across remains to be seen but what she did do was take a chance. Her pro-active approach to tackling this contentious subject shed new light on what's needed to change perceptions and shift mind-sets. Celebrities and others can make all the headline-grabbing comments they like but here is a woman who was brave enough to actually do something about it. Yes, she went to dangerous lengths to prove her point - arguably not the best approach - but her message required extreme measures and her body paid for it. Even if it helped to change one person's idea of what is considered beautiful then it was worth it.

In our own way Catwalk Queen is doing its own bit to promote healthy body image. Our "I Love What You're Wearing" campaign which has further plans for summer is a chance for people to compliment others on what they're wearing. I can't tell you the amount of times I've wanted to go up to someone and compliment them on their shoes or outfit but have chickened out. In London if you went up to a stranger and starting talking to them you often run the risk of being mistaken for a petition-pusher or mugger. People tend to look at you scared wondering what it is that you want from them. This way you don't even have to talk to them, you can simply hand them one of our nifty "I Love What You're Wearing" badges and watch them react as you've probably just made their day.

So while I can't guarantee that you're not going to see more size debate on this blog, what I can assure you is there will always be an opportunity for you to respond and to become more knowledgeable about what roads are being made on this tricky yet necessary topic.

Kimberley Foster is editor of Catwalk Queen and and harbours a secret ambition to be part of the next "girl power" pop group.

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