Letters

"Kate Moss has always been, and probably always will be, thin. Like it or not, some girls just are." Readers react to the rise and fall of Kate Moss.



Salon Staff
September 28, 2005 7:17PM (UTC)

Read "The Rise and Fall of Kate Moss" by Rebecca Traister.

Whenever the subject of body image comes up it seems common sense goes out the window.

Yes, Kate Moss is thin. When she started modeling as a teenager she was just skin and bones, which is fairly normal for ectomorph girls that age. But the clueless and sensationalist term, which I can't believe you just used again -- "heroin grunge chic" -- stuck and has haunted her career for the last decade, despite the overlooked fact that as she's matured and filled out she looks like a perfectly normal girl, no different then dozens of other ectomorph girls we all see every day.

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Now that she's been caught sadly indulging in a coke binge, the press can have a field day and smirk, "I told you so." This overlooks the fact that her thinness is most likely just her natural body type and is not related to cocaine use. She has always been, and probably always will be, thin. Some girls just are.

With the growing epidemic of obesity in America it seems some people can't see a thin person without whispering, "Oohh, she must be anorexic, bulimic, a drug addict, etc." Or, even worse, perpetuate the ridiculous image of a nefarious cabal of gay, women-hating fashion designers who plot to make the lives of women everywhere a living hell. Kate Moss was not used for this purpose. She was used because she has an exceptionally beautiful face.

-- James Bradley

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Rebecca Traister's article on Kate Moss strikes right at the heart of the fashion industry's hypocrisy. If only this would force the industry to adopt a healthier image of women! Not only are teenagers influenced by the starved look, all women, even older ones, feel forced to pursue a life of dieting simply to stay in style. Of course, we could all go through therapy to improve our self-image, but we are more likely to look in the mirror and say the answer to a healthier perception of ourselves lies in our figure. Yet, with all the dieting, America is getting fatter. What a wicked turn of events -- endless dieting and greater and greater inability to lose weight! I can certainly see why models resort to snorting.

-- Sally Sanders

Kate's humiliation only puts the spotlight on the fact that the fashion industry pays women to maintain an inhuman body shape so that they don't have to think creatively about how to really dress a real woman. The truth is, the clothes should fit the woman -- the woman should not have to fit the clothes. If the fashion industry really wanted to impress us bourgeoisie, they'd cut clothing to fit a woman like myself -- a fashion-loving mother of two with a pudgy stomach who cannot wear low-slung jeans without revealing parts no one wants to see. Show me clothes that look good on women of all shapes and sizes -- now that would be newsworthy. Until then, the fashion industry has to face up to the fact that they are encouraging drug abuse and eating disorders in girls and women who think that their body is wrong because the clothes don't fit them the "right" way.

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-- Danielle Ryan

I expected a little more substance from Salon. The Kate Moss article mainly fetishizes her body in the way women do, calling it "not healthy."

I disagree strongly. Here is a reminder for U.S. citizens who have not been out of the country for a while: There are people in this world, women even, who are rail-thin. Just like there are fat people, white people, black people, small people, large people and all sorts of other people.

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The article goes even further, claiming it necessary to take in some illegal drugs to keep the body that way. That's just ridiculous. How about the much more likely reasons for getting addicted to drugs: depression, pressure, etc. Or doing it just for fun?

That an anorexic fashion ideal does cause many women to behave unhealthily in order to lose weight is undeniable, but to blame the industry for Moss' drug abuse is way over the top.

-- N. Heger

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Although much of Rebecca Traister's article may be factual, she gets it completely wrong with her comments about how models get their bodies. It's a popular misconception that models must be involved in "cocaine or speed or heroin or caffeine or cigarettes or anorexia or bulimia or some combination of the above" in order to maintain their "shape".

The fact is that many people (and especially women) hate to believe what actually is the truth: There is a small segment of the population that has no need whatsoever for diet or exercise and still has what some think of as a "perfect body." Yes, it sucks for all those who have to work at it (and will probably fall short) but there is no evidence whatsoever that models exhibit the above behaviors any more frequently than the general population.

Why this statistical fact results in such mean-spirited assaults is an interesting topic. I note that I am a skinny man, yet I get none of the nasty comments that skinny women do.

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-- M. Reed

I found Rebecca's Traister's article about Kate Moss boring, as it serves no other purpose than to label those in the fashion industry as hypocrites. They are hypocrites -- but so what? Show me a vanity-based industry that isn't filled with hypocrisy. It's all about covering your behinds and making money.

The important message that Traister and others seem to miss is that Kate Moss should be the new poster woman for unhappiness. There is no other reason for a woman who has so much going for her to play this form of Russian roulette. Her self-esteem is nonexistent. That is the message we need to hold up to young girls who want to be supermodel beautiful and live a fantasy life.

I also want to point out that within the fashion industry, it is not just the models who snort cocaine. The fashion photographers do it. The hair and makeup artists do it. And even the talent management and the high-rolling executives who run the fashion houses do it, not to mention the fashion designers themselves. Cocaine is, in fact, more prevalent now than it ever was. Coke is the fuel of the fashion industry. It is the gift of choice when someone has a birthday or gets promoted. It is also the catalyst for many of the totally outrageous clothes that drape the bodies of the supermodels on the catwalks of the world.

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-- Audrey Regan

Rebecca Traister's assumption that every thin, successful model (or thin person in general) must be either anorexic, bulimic or on drugs is ridiculous.

Drug use and eating disorders may be common in the modeling world, but Ms. Traister does not cite any actual evidence that in order to be thin enough to be in a fashion magazine a woman must necessarily be engaging in disordered and/or unlawful behavior.

Her statement that waif models have pushed healthy people like Cindy Crawford and Kathy Ireland off the fashion pages is also a gross exaggeration. Both models have branched off into other business pursuits and have gotten married and had families. Kathy Ireland does not model because she runs a multimillion-dollar business empire, not because she's considered too fat to work.

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Cindy Crawford is still much more visible than Kate Moss.

Ms. Traister also repeats the tired refrain that reading magazines causes anorexia. Anorexia is a complicated disorder, and I have never heard proof that merely seeing skinny models is the cause.

If most teenage girls reading fashion magazines developed anorexia, why is obesity so much common than anorexia in young people?

Ms. Traister's article is nothing but a bunch of presumptions, presented by using sensationalist language. It had the feel of a slam book entry written by an unpopular teenager who hates the skinny girls.

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-- Martina A. Silas

Don't get me wrong: As someone who at 22 has outlived three friends thanks to heroin and who still struggles every day to keep my own head above water, I don't buy the whole high-fashion skank-chic thing either. But I'm extremely annoyed by the double standard that appears when people hear the "shocking" news that a rich, successful celebrity who has far too much money and ample leisure time to waste does drugs. If a skinny, attractive woman like Kate touches a Class I (but primarily psychologically addictive drug that can easily be used recreationally without completely ruining one's life) like coke, whether an addict or not, the public engages in the worst kind of shameless schadenfreude. "Oh, so that's why she's so thin." But when Pete Doherty makes a public display of his gravely serious heroin addiction, it's considered cute, just predictable rock-star antics that are to be expected from such a charismatic talent. Scotland Yard is on Kate Moss' trail? Why don't they just empty Pete Doherty's pockets? Mick Jones was there in the room partaking with Kate, and is he getting a public flogging? Maybe if he were younger and thinner and more beautiful than the average Mirror reader, he would be.

As a much too experienced, longtime recreational user of all kinds of substances, I have to say that it seems utterly ridiculous to get upset about -- what was it? -- five lines of coke in a sitting. For some people that's breakfast! But calling on my knowledge of how those people behave and function in society, I don't think Kate is one of them. Kate's current "problem" is probably nothing a good weekend spa visit, a week or two off from work and social obligations, and a gym regimen couldn't start to fix.

-- Name withheld


Salon Staff

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