'I'm sorry, you said she was how old?' Youthfulness and the fashion model
Draper, Angela E. (1999) 'I'm sorry, you said she was how old?' Youthfulness and the fashion model. Social Alternatives, 18(2), pp. 33-37.
As a young girl, the world of fashion modelling perplexed me. Tall, slender and appallingly beautiful, sylph-like women strutted up and down the catwalks and stared back at me from the covers of magazines. I admired them from afar, always aware of the implausibility of my ever being up there strutting alongside them, as I was too young. These fashion models were women, not girls. However, it never ceased to amaze me just how much these women looked like girls, so young and fresh, despite their obvious womanly attributes. How were they women yet, simultaneously, so overwhelmingly youthful looking? What was it that distinguished them from other women their age who actually looked their age as opposed to someone as young as myself? These questions will now be addressed in relation to the manner in which the physical body can be manipulated by an individual so as to alter their appearance. In particular, the body of the fashion model will be the focus in the following discussion. I will be exploring the way in which the fashion model manipulates her own body so as to embody an image of natural youthfulness which is prized, in Western society, as a valuable commodity.
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