Letter: Photographs that can make young women sick

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The Independent Online
Sir: Alexandra Shulman, the editor of Vogue, claims that 'anorexia and bulimia have nothing to do with pictures' (report, 22 May). This is like saying that lung cancer has nothing to do with smoking. According to Ms Shulman, it has been 'proved over and over again' that eating disorders are not in any way precipitated by images of skinny models. Where has she found such definitive evidence to support this view?

The proof lies in our schools, where more and more young people are developing irrational eating habits. A 14-year-old girl in a recent letter to a national newspaper wrote: 'The pressure to be thin or thinner is unbelievable. This pressure isn't helped by seeing skinny models everywhere you look; on television, in magazines, on posters, buses and tubes.'

It is almost impossible for any woman these days not to be conscious of her weight. The messages are everywhere in our advertising-orientated world, subliminally penetrating our minds: 'It's in to be thin]'

When I saw the Kate Moss pictures in Vogue, my immediate thought, after the fright, was that they must have been taken by a man. Ironically, they were not. They were shot by Corrine Day, 'a hot new property in fashion photography'. The editor of this prestigious magazine is a woman. What are we trying to do to each other? Perhaps we women have ourselves to blame for this anorexic state we are getting into.

Yours sincerely,

KATE WEBB

London, W14

24 May

(Photograph omitted)

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