Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Beautiful Girls

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
There is an entire Wikipedia article dedicated to models who have died during their careers. And there are too many names. Just looking at this too-long list feels wrong, unhealthy. But all the same, I can’t help but feel lucky—lucky to be alive, and healthy, and happy. I realize now what a gift it is that I can look in the mirror and see things as they truly are.

It’s frightening for these women to be described in past tense, when their pictures are young and beautiful and should be alive—most of them. Some whittled their bodies into shrunken ridges and purposefully molded bone. Some died, for all their money and glamour, as starving children desperate to please.

These girls were my age when they started modeling. They weren’t much older when they died. And in between, they battled horrific demons. These pretty girls—one, in particular, had liquid round eyes and skin like soy milk—were fighting something real, and “real” girls might have mocked them for it. Because they were pretty and rich and everything girls are supposed to be and people didn’t take them, or their pain, seriously. For some, that’s realistic. For others, we look back and feel ashamed.

I wonder at the industry. Fashion is completely superfluous, and therefore the mark of a great civilization. Something so frivolous should not become so important.. Fashion should be fun. It should be a celebration of art and beauty. Fashion, though, takes itself so seriously. All grim poker faces and iron grips.
I love fashion. I see it as something beautiful and delicate and powerful. It is art. But art celebrates the ugly and the unexpected. Fashion exists to sell, and it pushes the envelope in the safest possible ways. It has latched onto an ideal of beauty and will not let it go, even when women are dying. Often, they’ll take thin, beautiful girls and have them lose more weight. Often, they’ll make them something impossible.

Models represent the ideal, the ultimate level of unattainable perfection. Becoming one is the absolute affirmation of beauty. They are so young, so thin as to snap, so alien and unreal that they cease to be human. In that moment, walking down a runway wearing a dress for a queen or a rebel or a strange unearthly creature, a model is not a young girl. She is a stepping stone. No wonder we’re captivated by them. We’re a culture that loves the macabre, and we are fascinated by their fates.

The death of a young woman is no more tragic if she’s pretty and famous. There are bigger problems to worry about, definitely—starvation and war and abuse. There are young people dying who deserve just as much mourning and respect as a beautiful model. But these women deserve something, too. I’m not sure what. All I ask is that we give them respect. We mourn them. And we let them rest.



Join the Discussion


This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

Pumpkinscout said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm:
This is beautiful but I'm not exactly clear on your opinion here...still it's very good
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback