The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Skins and sick thin....
Posted Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 14:46

The papers are full today of the high street teenage clothes battle which is about to begin.


The battle is between model Kate Moss and the range which she designed for Top Shop; and, the singer Lily Allen with the  range she has designed for New Look, which launches today.


I am all for readily available, inexpensive and disposable fashion, available in easily accessible high street stores for fashion conscious young girls with cost conscious mothers. There is, however, a far more sinister theme running under the surface.


We hear much of the quest for size 0. If you take a close look at the hottest item in the Kate Moss range, a pair of stunning hot pants, you can understand why and how the pursuit of this unhealthy goal has become an all absorbing pre-occupation for many thousands of young girls. A size 8 would feel self conscious in the Kate Moss Hot Pants. Not so long ago a size 8 was on the worrying side of thin.


Anorexia and bulimia have become the new age illness of our teenage girls. 4 people out of every 100 have anorexia, and what is more worrying is they often deny it.


Grazia magazine commissioned a poll last year of 5,000 readers and discovered that only 1 in 50 women are happy with the way they look.


It’s no surprise that skinny Kate Moss, who looks like she could do with a good pan of stew to stick to her ribs, has become the role model for a whole generation of Kate Moss wannabes.


The makers of Skins, the cult teenage TV series on E4, knew just what they were doing when they created the endearing 'so totaly' character Cassie. I am not sure if the scene which depicted Cassie demonstrating how she could look as though she was eating, without actually doing so, whilst deploying distraction techniques, was a good or bad thing. Did teenage girls watching it think ‘that’s bad’ or ‘that’s how I can do it and look like Kate Moss?’ The reason why the character was created though was because the programme makers knew that almost every teenage girl watching would either be, or know, a Cassie.


At the risk of being very unpopular it isn’t just the models who are to blame for designing the ‘cool way to look’. The advertising industry has to shoulder some of the blame too.


The advertising industry worries me to death. The influence it has over our youngsters and teenagers is frightening. The over-sexualisation of young girls and the constant search on behalf of the industry for size 0 models induces and endorses the belief amongst teenagers that sick thin is attractive and the ultimate right on body image.


The advertising industry needs to take a look at what it is responsible for through ‘moral’ eyes.


One can ask, is it right for a major clothes retailer to produce posters of a six year old in thong leopard print knickers wearing lipstick, as one retailer did – but one would really hope that there would be someone, just one senior individual within the advertising industry who would say, "you know, this just isn’t right, what are we doing here?"


Maybe when that happens, the advertisers, the retailers, and the models can get together and decide to do some good. Sell clothes, sure, but use their massive industry and influence to hold out a helping hand to all those girls doing just what the fictional Cassie in Skins does every day.


They could shine a light into the dark and lonely bedroom of the teenage girl who vomits at night into tissues, or sits and cries because she feels unworthy of love or affection because she is a size 10.


The average British woman worries about her body every 15 minutes. There are better and dare I say it, bigger things to worry about.


David Davis MP has got grey hair.

Anonymous said:
Responded: Wednesday, 9 May 2007
You should be writing for a major newspaper. Some big editior is going to stumble across this site soon and we will have lost you forever.
Alison, Ampthill said:
Responded: Wednesday, 9 May 2007
Don't say that, we will have to pay to read it when that happens.
Mike H said:
Responded: Wednesday, 9 May 2007
I tend not to read newspapers very often, but I'll bet there are plenty of column-inches devoted to this difficult subject already. Unfortunately the kids affected are likely to be reading teen and celebrity magazines rather than newspapers - magazines that are largely funded by fashion advertising. At the same time the media in general take every opportunity to reinforce the apparent desirability of the stick-thin image by pursuing these icons of the fashion industry, irrespective of what antics they are currently getting up to. Add some peer pressure into the mix and you have a very powerful cocktail. What's the solution? I really don't have a clue. One thing I am sure of, and that is that we'll wait a long time for the market to sort this problem out on it's own. I'm just thankful that I have two sons who grew up in times before our society became so obsessed with celebrity and 'image' and at a time when children were allowed to be children.
Anonymous said:
Responded: Wednesday, 9 May 2007
A sad blog Nadine. It is very easy for those of us who don't have daughters to pretend the problem doesn't exist. frankly, I'm almost glad I only have boys, it's one less worry.
Anonymous said:
Responded: Wednesday, 9 May 2007
My daughter has a friend whose teeth have rotted away because she self induces vomiting after she has eaten only the smallest amount. She is obsessed by food and talks about nothing else. Her mother pretends it isn't happening but now the school are heavily involved and her friends who are asked to help and monitor her. After lunch at school she is made to sit for 30 minutes to make sure some of the food is absorbed. Top models don't know what they are doing.
Matt said:
Responded: Wednesday, 9 May 2007
So true, so true.
Responded: Wednesday, 9 May 2007
I hadn't even heard of 'Skins'but my daughter tells me it is popular amongst the girls at Dame Alice. She reckons half of the girls in her year diet or fast.They are 14yrs old.
Nadine said:
Responded: Wednesday, 9 May 2007
Thanks all. I am going to blog on TBs speech 2mrw so may not blog until later in the day
Anonymous for now said:
Responded: Thursday, 10 May 2007
"2mrw"? What? Please Nadine, we all know you're a busy girl, but textspeak? Emphatically nooooooo!
Nadine said:
Responded: Thursday, 10 May 2007
Whooops! Sorry, you are quite right, no more text speak (write!)
Robert Goodwill MP said:
Responded: Monday, 14 May 2007
Hi Nadine Mrs Goodwill bought some of the Kate Moss hotpants last week. She is size 10 and looks great in them although is unlikely to be seen around the House of Commons sporting them! Enjoy reading the blog Robert Goodwill MP Scarborough and Whitby
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