Ready To Wear: Somehow it's fine to target women such as Kate Moss – they're not 'real'

Susannah Frankel
Monday 21 March 2011 01:00
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Ageing faster than a blue cheese in a damp cave!" opined the Daily Mail's Jan Moir, following Kate Moss's recent appearance at the Louis Vuitton show in Paris.

The model was smoking, remember, which apparently is enough to open the floodgates to the moral outrage – not to mention unabashed misogyny – that is not only the preserve of this title but proliferates like the aforementioned mould elsewhere too. "What a shower of wretched cretins, praising this playground act of filter-tipped anarchy," Moir continued, neatly annihilating some of the main protagonists of an industry that, for all its shortcomings, employs more women in significant positions of power than many others put together. As far as I am aware – and I was one of the cretins in attendance – the applause was typical of the end of any fashion show and not aimed specifically at Moss at all.

Whatever, the way it's somehow fine to target women such as Moss – to accuse them of everything from being ugly to smelling bad, if you please – and to masquerade as an upstanding member of the sisterhood in so doing, is nothing short of mystifying.

Perhaps the reason why any vitriol passes as somehow acceptable is that it springs from our perception of what is and isn't deemed "real" – as in, wouldn't it be good to see more "real" women in fashion shoots? So what is a model, exactly? A hologram?

It is difficult, given a world with more than its share of far more pernicious targets, to understand quite why Moss and her ilk attract such negative attention. Look at it another way. Isn't it good to see her – and her supermodel sisters Naomi Campbell and Amber Valletta – back on the catwalk? Their longevity is remarkable, after all. Like sportsmen, models have a very brief and intense working life: not so these three, who, through sheer good management and determination, are among the exceptions that prove the rule. They may be flawed, but attacking them for their age is nothing short of abhorrent. The politics of envy, perhaps? And that is big in playgrounds, too.

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