Note: With any article such as this, there may be some who will conclude that this is not written with sincere motives. I wish to assure that I am completely serious with the comments that follow.
Chloe Marshall is a 17 year old student in England. She recently won the title of Miss Surrey and will participate in the national finals with the hopes of being crowned Miss England. As you can see from her picture, she is a pretty girl, and her Miss Surrey title is well deserved, if not a surprise.
You see, Chloe is not your usual beauty contestant, at least as we normally think of them in today’s hotly contested events. Chloe is considered a “plus sized” girl. In fact, she is a size 16. Yet, her title was not awarded in a plus sized beauty contest. She won against other much slimmer girls.
“It’s really exciting, I’m really, really happy. I’m lost for words, I started to cry and everything. I’m over the moon,” she said.
“I wanted to go through to the Miss England finals to break through the stereotype that you have to be tall and skinny.
“I wanted to make a bit of a statement. When I studied the other entrants for the Miss Surrey competition I concluded that pretty as the contestants were, they were equally all uniformly blonde and Barbie-doll-like.
“I want to show girls out there that it is possible to be beautiful and not a standard sized zero.
“My mum is really happy and proud of me that I am doing something not just for myself but other people as well and my friends are really supportive, they can’t stop going on about it.”
From the Telegraph in London:
Chloe’s success comes as the debate about the use of size zero models in the fashion industry continues. The debate was sparked last year when a Uruguayan model, Luisel Ramos, 22, died of heart failure after starving herself. In November, a 21-year-old Brazilian model, Ana Carolina Reston, died from anorexia.
The deaths prompted organisers of Madrid Fashion week to ban underweight models, while Milan followed suit with a code of conduct to stop anorexic-looking models being used in shows.
Doctors and women’s groups have expressed concern that the use of underweight models encourages anorexia in the industry and sends a dangerous signal to girls.
Models are actually dying in an effort to maintain “the look.” We have actually gotten to that point and doctors are right. The hopes of achieving this sort of unrealistic body image has broader implications than just the modeling and pageant industries. And while statistics indicate that people, particularly in western cultures are getting fatter all the time, caused by diet and sedentary lifestyles, the opposite extreme is also present, particularly among those involved with fashion, and beauty. And impressionable young girls who are trying to understand and create their “image” can fall victim to the dangerous trap of “skinny is beautiful.”
Weighing 176 pounds (expressed as 12 stone 8.5 lbs in England), doctors would probably recommend that Chloe Marshall loose a few pounds, as she may be a bit overweight for a 17 year old, even one who stands 5′ 10″ tall. She may well have realized her highest level of success in the world of pageants, but she will have at least scored a point for rethinking the definition of physical beauty. And if that rethinking can help to establish a new “look” for the fashion industry, and in turn for body-image-discovering younger girls, that will be a good thing.