Why Girls Want to be Stick Thin

Tuesday, 10 February 2004

[Picture of Twiggy]THE reason why girls are bulimic and anorexic in the Western World today is down to one person: Twiggy.

Before we go on, let me be clear: I am NOT blaming Twiggy for a terrible situation. Not at all; have I passed a single word of judgement upon the bulimic or anorexic? Have I suggested for a minute that being thin is a bad thing (or a good thing)? Have I said I LIKE or DISLIKE Twiggy?

No, I have certainly passed neither opinion nor judgement. I merely state that Twiggy is responsible; she embodied a body type, a look, and I suppose events conspired to focus the lot on her waifish frame.

[Picture of Twiggy]It’s hard to say exactly which events conspired to make Twiggy; it was a crazy time. Post-WW-2 Britain was told that it “never had it so good”. There was much rebuilding– of houses and families — a great optimistic building the future… the teenager invented in the 50s was developed in the 1960s. New ideas, new markets, new inventions. No-one wanted old-fashioned. There was a need for thin and light, for colourful and shallow.

This was the time where the media was born — pulp fiction books, magazines, television, pirate pop radio, along with electric guitars, cameras, records and record players… it was a new world filled with new things. We have all heard about sexual liberation and Playboy Magazine and the USA’s “Summer of Love”.

In Britain, there was a genuine dislike for anything old-fashioned and stuffy. It was not-so-much an emancipation for women as a liberation for the working classes; there was a lot of employment about (for boys and girls), so the balance of power due to labour supply and demand shifted away from the old industries and strict bosses.

The Conservatives were ousted by the new ideas of a young new political force: the Labour Party and the Unions. This heralded in regional dialects to replace the plummy RP accent of the Queen.

Casual was the keynote.

[Picture of Twiggy]In came pantyhose tights instead of stockings and suspender belts or garters, and this allowed mini-skirts… and this was photographed by David Bailey and made the cover of the new magazines for the new girl teen market. The contraceptive pill arrived and suddenly we got SWINGING LONDON.

  • Awkward-looking, gangly-legged girls who had never been to finishing school, who had neither poise nor RP accent, suddenly found themselves in vogue. Literally.

[Picture of Twiggy]

Make no mistake, the girl next door wanted to know Twiggy’s diet, and what to do to get to look like a twig. This was a brand new thing, a brand new look. Branding… Not just a dress, but a whole “scene”. Not content with ousting some politician or sporting hero from the cover of ‘Newsweek’, Twiggy was not just a girl, she was a single name, she had her own magazine — she was a MAGAZINE.

This was the first time a lifestyle was being marketed at females — diet, make-up, clothes, where to go and what to do. This went far beyond anything that Playboy magazine had aspired to do with men.

[Picture of Twiggy]

Is it possible that the Twiggy “Look”, and indeed the whole MOD (modern, not old and stuffy) scene, came from the streets and was followed or reflected by magazines? No; I honestly think it is far more likely that people were following the magazine covers — that Twiggy led the way for the newly fledged magazine, boutique and fashion industry.

I have tried to engender something of an idea of the period above — just enough to jog the memory of the middle aged and older, but also to give a flavour to the younger generation who may be reading this. It is a mammoth task to do this accurately or well, this material is merely here to support my statement that Twiggy is the starting point. If you want to you can quite easily study the history of the period elsewhere.

If you do go away and study the period, then I cordially invite you to then disprove my theory that Twiggy is responsible for thin catwalk clothes models, the thin modeling industry, and why girls all want to look stick or twiggy thin.

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63 Responses to “Why Girls Want to be Stick Thin”

  1. Gina Says:

    Yet another excellent article!!! I dont think this has been discussed anywhere else and it is very informative. Poor Twiggy!!!

  2. Jay Says:

    I am amazed that you can blame Twiggy on the rise in anorexia and bulimia. Before her girls were getting ribs removed for hourglass figures. Twiggy was of her time and just another trend, she was not important at all and probably nobody outside of England would have ever heard of her. Anorexia and Bulimia are serious conditions and worldwide.

    • Charlotte Says:

      Very true, trying to say that one person is responsible for eating disorders is slightly over the top maybe?

      • Me Says:

        The writer made it very clear that he/she wasn’t blaming this worldwide condition on Twiggy alone, but truth is, many people in the fashion industry (whether English or not) know who Twiggy is, and her body type is the backbone of what the models in the modeling industry should look like. So yes, she is responsible for WHY models look so thin! Also, keep in mind, many young girls look at these models in the magazine, models whom are only imitating that standard Twiggy set within the fashion industry.

  3. John Says:

    Twiggy was well known everywhere, not just England. London was the center of 60’s pop culture. This post is interesting and thought provoking but I do not see Twiggy as being blamed on a personal level. She was part of something, and there was no bad intent.

  4. Jxxx Says:

    Look how far this has come: check out http://mamavision.wordpress.com/ for some insight. Do you even know that there are pro-anorexic groups using the web to encourage teenage girls to become anorexic and bulimic? have you even heard the word “Thinspiration” or noticed red bracelets? Twiggy may have started it, but it has advanced a long way since.

  5. Moodie Says:

    Bubbling Under

    English is a language on the move, with many hundreds of new words and phrases coming into existence every year. Although these are picked up by Oxford’s worldwide monitoring programme, many of these coinages have only a fleeting lifespan and may never appear in the dictionary. This monthly feature takes a look at some of the most recent and interesting words, phrases, and other language changes which have caught our eye and which could be vying for a place in one of our future dictionaries.
    Fat chance of escaping the food controversy

    The debate about healthy eating and body weight has been cooking up a storm over the past few weeks. From reports of ‘stick-thin’ models being banned from certain fashion shows if their BMI (body mass index) falls below a certain figure, to accounts of ‘junk-food mums’ passing burgers through school railings to their offspring at lunchtime, we’re being bombarded with advice, contradictory opinions, and often downright moralizing from so-called food fascists.

    At one end of the scale there’s concern over an obesity epidemic, with around 55% of women and 65% of men in the UK being classed as either overweight or obese. Obesity is causing a rise in other medical conditions too: diabesity (a blend of the words diabetes and obesity) describes diabetes that’s caused by being excessively overweight.

    To combat the advance of globesity (global obesity), it’s been proposed that a fat tax on junk food should be introduced: in the US such a measure has been referred to as a Twinkie tax (TwinkiesTM are finger-shaped sponge cakes with a cream filling, though why they should be singled out for special opprobrium is unclear).

    At the other extreme, skinny models and other celebrities are said to provide thinspiration to young women who aspire to be ultra-thin – slender enough to fit into size 00 clothes. Such thinspirational role models are typically pictured on pro-ana and pro-mia websites, which extol the ‘virtues’ of the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia.

    Ironically, the word anorexia (which comes from the Greek words an- ‘without’ and orexis ‘appetite’) is also experiencing its own form of expansion: the suffix -rexia or -orexia is being used to generate a glut of new words, including:

    bleachorexia: an obsession with whitening the teeth
    vitarexia: vitamin deficiency
    tanorexia: an obsession with maintaining a year-round suntan, especially by using sunbeds
    weborexia: collective term for websites that promote anorexia and other eating disorders
    yogarexia: an obsession with practising yoga to become or stay slim
    manorexia: the ‘male version’ of anorexia (since anorexia is typically regarded as a ‘female’ disorder, even though it affects people of both sexes)
    bigorexia: (also known as muscle dysmorphia) people with this disorder believe that they are puny (even though they are very muscular) and exercise compulsively to increase muscle bulk.
    permarexia: an addiction to faddy slimming diets
    brideorexia: referring to brides-to-be who crash-diet before the wedding so as to look good in the photos

    If we’re not chewing the fat about this weighty issue long into the foreseeable future, I’ll eat my hat.

    Author: Catherine Soanes, Date: 01/02/2006″

  6. EL Thomson Says:

    I had always thought that the problems were hundreds of years old, like back when when women had ribs removed and wore corsets and had powdered wigs. But this has made me see things differently. For a start, this modern movement was a choice, a lifestyle choice. This is a radical and important departure from historical perspectives. The ideal was imposed on women by women as a statement of their modernity, their shrugging-off of the old male dominated world. And indeed Twiggy was the model, the role model and the perfect example. I did not realise this before, so thank you for making me rethink this historically, but also for reassessing female identities today with an idea of approaching the changing role of women anew. It certainly did not stop with suffragettes, and the impact of the pill is perhaps overstated at the expense of the lifestyle teen.

  7. rtone Says:

    I found a very interesting and informative blog that would be worth a visit:

  8. Kat Says:

    i definantly dont think that girls want be anorexic because of twiggy. For one thing, she isnt called twiggy because she resemboles a twig…get your facts right please.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Yes she is. Watch her documentary on the web. A photographer offered up this nickname, and said I called you this because you are so thin and look like a twig.

  9. barbiexcore Says:

    thats really an interesting article.

    I never thought about that side of it.

  10. rtone Says:

    Some poeple like to read things into posts, for example:-

    Kat Said:
    “she isnt called twiggy because she resemboles a twig…get your facts right please”

    Get your facts right, Kat; YOU are the only person who has discussed the name.

  11. Josh Says:

    before the rage of eating disorders, women trimmed their waistlines with foundation garments, which is not possible to wear under the revealing clothing from 1960 onwards. Look at what the women went through who tightlaced daily. whats worse. having anoexia? or wearing a springsteal boned corset tied so tight your uterus popped out an hung like a scrotum? or accidentilly broke their ribs? would these women stop wearing corsets? nope, the attached a curved metal bar to their corset to push the vagina back into a proper place. Fashion is responsible for wanarexics, not twiggy. A true anorexic may look for inspiration in other thin people, but its usually not about looks. its about control. Usually anorexics have traumatic life events which spark the need for control, as they have no control over any other part of their life. Also anorexia developed much earlier then Twiggy, It was decribed in the 17th century, and recognised as an illness in the early 20th. There is disordered eating, which you can look to fashion for being responsible, but eating disorders are a very different thing. its a psychological disorder and usually is accompanied with other depression related disorders. As an anorexic, I find your page offensive, not to Twiggy, but to yourself, its very ignorant if you. Anoerxia is a mental disorder, its like blaming stephen kings books *misery* for bipolar disorder. total ignorance.

  12. Charley Says:

    There are girls who become dissatisfied with their body image due to peer and media pressure. They begin a lifetime of gym memberships, fad diets, and increasingly, surgery. They don’t want to be victims, they don’t want to be attractive to men, they don’t want to be ill – they just want to be thin. They would ideally like to be thin and still be able to eat what they want and do no exercise!

    A few may develop bulimia or even anorexia.

    But the overwhelming majority of those with anorexia start out trying to assert themselves by having control over their eating, to be independent from everyone else, for attention, for identity. They become seriously ill and need help. They don’t see the problem and they use the net to get thinspiration and tips.

    However, there are others who WANT to have the disorders and want anorexia and bulimia to be mental illnesses so that then their lives are out of their control. They want to be victims. It is a life choice. I bet they come across this post by searching anorexia on the web! It is their main hobby, and they just want everyone to know about it, every forum and every web site. Sadly, some may actually develop the disorders they desire.

  13. Twiggy Fan Says:

    Jan 27, 2007 – Twiggy has condemned size 0 models.

    The 57-year-old former model became a catwalk icon in the 60s thanks to her waif-like figure, but is adamant the current raft of models are far too thin.

    Twiggy, who is a judge on ‘America’s Next Top Model’, said:

    “The fashion industry needs to be regulated to stop this dangerous size 0 trend.

    “When you see a model with the lollipop look, where her head is too big for her body, it means she’s dieting too much.”

    She keeps in shape by tap dancing and doing Pilates. She said:

    “I do sit-ups three times a week, I go to Pilates and I also do tap-dancing. It’s good exercise and you feel like Fred Astaire.”

  14. I think it is really crazy doing those extreme diets! I am naturally skinny myself and i cannot even fit to a size 0 because im really skinny! Everyone in school will make fun of me and some girls will be jealous and they would call me anorexic and some w Says:

    I think this website and the reply i gave will change a girls idea of being anorexic! Instead do a healthy diet and a certaing amount of exercise!

  15. You suck Says:

    Some people are naturally thin , eat all day and never gain a pound and we don’t need you morons putting us down or saying we starve ourselves to make you feel bad . Get a life you turds . We wouldn’t change our way of life just to make narrow minded jackasses like you look at us . Go jump in a lake and stop writing such imbicilic crap .

  16. Miss Terry Says:

    “Myths about metabolism” by Dr Toni Steer and Dr Susan Jebb:
    “There’s a common belief that people who are overweight have a slow metabolism (burn energy slowly), while thin people have a fast metabolism (burn energy quickly). This is a myth.”

  17. rtone Says:

    @You Suck…
    I would agree that some men ARE naturally thin due to their somatotype (mesomorph, endomorph, ectomorph), and I wish that Sheldon had extended his work to include females (instead of the three extremes he identified for men, he suggested that women could have as many as five extreme body shapes). Maybe someone someday will do the science and then we can realign the clothing, fashion and dieting industries accordingly. At present, however, females are suffering eating disorders in their attempts to hit a common target, regardless of natural body shape. For men, that would be like a natural mesomorph trying to change into an ectomorph!

    On your own you can’t change your basic, essential and underlying body category/ body type/ body shape any more than you can become Caucasian, taller, or change gender — you can only gain or lose weight by manipulating fat deposits and muscle mass — and these are controlled by eating and exercise (mainly eating).

    @Miss Terry
    What you say may be true, but it comes across as saying it is a myth that people who eat but don’t put on weight!

  18. Laura Says:

    I understand where you are coming from, but I have to disagree. I don’t see why Twiggy should take the blame for being one of the reasons anorexia started on a vast scale.

    You finnished the article saying, ‘If you do go away and study the period, then I cordially invite you to then disprove my theory that Twiggy is responsible for thin catwalk clothes models, the thin modeling industry, and why girls all want to look stick or twiggy thin.’, but Twiggy was never a catwalk model so why would they want to copy her if she was never in that part of the fashion industry?

    Models have always been skinny, just now actresses and singers are trying to copy the style. You can not pin point all the blame to one person. But if you do try to, blame todays actresses and singers for losing the curves!

  19. Zoe Says:

    Twiggy did catwalk in Milan. She was only a photographic model for just 4 years! Twiggy, as this fine article shows, is far more than either type, she transcends being “a model”, she was of huge importance to girls back then. As the magazine covers show here, she represented a lifestyle, a look. She was the first face of a global youth movement. Anyone else would have fallen apart, but Twiggy has proved to be a perfect example and role model to her peer. That has to be counterbalanced to the damage that “look” has done. The consequences are everywhere. What she was in control of is good, and what she was never in control of, is the anorexic and bulimic.

  20. rtone Says:

    Twiggy is 1.68m tall, and back in the 1960s, she was just over 41kg… that’s a BMI of 14kg/m2… that’s pretty darn skinny! She’s around the 50kg mark now, and that is still pretty skinny (BMI of 17kg/m2).

    By all standards she was (and still is) in the seriously thin/ below normal/ dangerous zone.

    see http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmi-m.htm
    Normal weight = 18.5-24.9kg/m2
    Overweight = 25-29.9kg/m2
    Obesity = BMI of 30kg/m2 or greater

    “Back in 1951, during the era of post-war food rationing, a typical woman measured 1 600mm tall… weighed 61.5kg.”
    see http://clippednews.wordpress.com/2004/09/02/people-are-bigger-now/

    So Twiggy was slightly taller lighter by a startling margin when compared with her peers. It just doesn’t wash to state that models have always been thin.

    Twiggy was simply astonishing at the time. Astonishingly thin! It is difficult to ‘see’ those days when you have today’s eyes.

    Similarly, it doesn’t seem to be the case that girls were suffering anorexia and bulimia then to the extent they are today.

  21. Ali Star Says:

    Twiggy is NOT the reason that girls want to be stick thin in this day and age. The reason is that society perpetuates that the only women that men want have huge boobs a small waist and weigh 100lbs, because that is what most of the actresses on TV look like. Twiggy is from the 60s. She practically invented fashion modeling! Twiggy was just being who she was, a gorgrous girl with a fierce haircut that knew how to model. People should hold society and their peers and parents accountable for anorexia and bulimia. I didn’t even know who Twiggy was when I had an eating disorder, and when I found out who she was years later, the only thing I thought about her was “wow, what a great haircut,” and went and got one for myself, not barfing up my food or starving myself out. That’s for teenagers and people STARVED for attention. Sorry kids.

  22. Becca Says:

    I came across this article and thought it was very interesting. Although, Twiggy could not have been responsible for the rising of either anorexia or bulimia. Just because she was on the cover of a magazine doesn’t mean that she started it all. As far as anyone knows anorexia and bulimia was started way before her time. But wasn’t acknowledged as it is until then. Today there is more information on both disorders than there ever was.
    There are some girls and even guys who become anorexic and or bulimic due to the media. Others may do it to get attention. But there are many people who are because they feel it’s the only thing they can control, especially if other things are going on in their life that they can’t control, or it’s because they are punishing themselves for something they think is their fault. So you can’t say that every person who is anorexic or bulimic that they are doing it to get attention, because that isn’t always the case. For those who talk only about being anorexic or bulimic might be doing it for attention, but it could also be a cry for help. There are others who try and hide it the best they can, and sometimes they get away with it all their life without anyone questioning, but others don’t.
    I’m not saying I condone it, but they are serious disorders that need to be questioned, especially if you know someone who is. I’m not saying I’m an expert or anything but I know enough about all eating disorders, there are three of them, the one least mentioned is binging because most disorders that anyone tends to turn to are anorexia and bulimia.
    True the media and fashion do say how thin is beautiful. But there are foundations out there such as “feed the models” so you can’t blame the fashion industry or media for someone being anorexic or bulimic.

  23. John Says:

    The head of law at Harvard just wrote a book about how girls today are being manipulated by the media. They are being “told” that it is better to be sexy than to work hard and get good grades and good job or a career in business.
    The truth is that they are told to be sexy AND what sexy is (which is skinny)

  24. JK Says:

    I think Twiggy is cute. Its not her fault she was unnaturally skinny, all those fat people out there need to get a life and stop blamming her for making people skinny.

  25. abhi Says:

    a really good post. i was reading an article that said that reading fashion magazines makes women depressed within a few seconds. young girls in particular are so impressionable and insecure that they gravitate towards standards and models.

  26. Alysa Says:

    As with fashion, rends do come and go..but to say that women (and men)’s emotional and physical issues all stem from the image of one specific model, would be unbelievably ignorant. Twiggy was a fashin icon. do i idolize her? no. but i do respect her role in the fashion industry.

    oh and many other models went to extreme lengths-including eating disorders- before Twiggy’s time. she was no more the fore runner than any other stick thin girl walking down the street.

    if what you were saying were at all psychologically thought out, then obesity is what dominates today. but im not going to go stuff my face to be like everyone else.

    runway models for the most part are stereotypically thin. that has to do with the garmnet-the whole reason for fashion models. it is not to cause subliminal messages for little girls to go throw up aftr every meal. Twiggy was just one of those models.

    she was revolutionary not because of her eating habits, but becasue of what she represented : a revolution in the fashion industry, with a new style and a new image of which she represented.

    then, basing of your articles mentality, everyone today would want other stereotypically “Twiggy” attributes: boyshort hair, pale skin, drawing fake eyelash lines on their lower lids.

    and that is simply not the case.

  27. […] at females ?? diet, make-up, clothes, where to go and what to do. Twiggy led the way for thehttps://rtone.wordpress.com/2004/02/10/twiggy/Category:Lifestyle magazines – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaPages in category &quotLifestyle […]

  28. Sydni Says:

    you are pathetic
    girls choose to be anorexic and bulliemic
    its not because twiggy was skinny
    i mean look at her now
    she could pass as almst a full figured model

  29. aubrey Says:

    people do not become skinny and sick because of looking at twiggy, most the time it is caused by depression,stress, or be unhappy with their body

  30. twiggyfan Says:

    okay wow!
    twiggy is not to blame.
    she even said herself.
    she is natrully skinny.
    heack, before her people were taking there RIBS out for a hourglass figure, i do not get why, your blaming twiggy!

  31. Sean C Ryan Says:

    Girls want to be stick thin because of the media forcing people like Twiggy down our throats. Twiggy was pushed as the perfect woman and women across America killed themselves to be like her. Twiggy became popular, but it wasn’t Twiggy that constantly said “Twiggy’s beautiful. Twiggy’s perfect. All women should be like Twiggy.”

    It was the media. Twiggy was a factor in Aneroxia, but she wasn’t the reason. She wasn’t the reason Anorexia has spread like wildfire and is killing thousands of women.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    I completely disagree.
    I have an eating disorder, and can 100% say that it has nothing to do with trying to look like a figure in the media.
    I think it is ridiculous to attempt to explain such complex disorders in terms of individuals being influenced by someone famous they have seen who happens to be stick thin!

  33. Hannah Says:

    I’m quite irritated about this article. For starters, I know plenty of girls who look like Twiggy naturally without dieting. Twiggy is not an unrealistic body type, unlike the models we see strutting the catwalks today. The next issue I’m concerned about is that you are blaming a single person or a group of people for causing eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. Dieting, maybe. But true anorexia and bulimia are often due to lack of control in your life, not to a skinny model. All these people who say that superslim models and actresses are causing eating disorders are either in denial or seriously looking for someone to blame. If you are the type of person who dislikes the look of unnaturally thin models, then you don’t have to look at them. Twiggy doesn’t deserve this! How would you feel if someone told you that you were responsible for millions of girls with eating disorders? Does anyone recall Twiggy saying, “I’m anorexic and I think you should be, too?” I’m no expert, but I highly doubt she did. So it is pretty illogical for you to blame it all on her.

  34. xoxo Says:

    she was an icon, she will be an icon. but it’s your choice to be anorexic. her look became a style back then. so it think how can you blame a person for who she is? its not her fault that the fashion world picked up her look. even after more than 40 years

  35. UR-True Says:

    See http://swindlemagazine.com/issueicons/twiggy/
    W: Models weren’t skinny in those days.
    T: They were slender, but they were very, very tall. They didn’t take anyone under 5′8″. So I wouldn’t have got taken on. So it’s funny that after me, the next big iconic model is Kate Moss, and she’s my height. It’s ironic, isn’t it?

    Diana Vreeland was a huge plus for me because she was the one that brought me over. She was the one that had the courage to bring me over to New York and put me in Vogue. She was the doyenne of American fashion for all those years.

    So when she said, “This is the look, this is the girl,” that was it.

    She put me with Richard Avedon, and the rest, as they say is history.

    What happened to me is a one in god-knows-how-many-million chance.

    W: You got paid more than the Beatles.

    T: I think I might have at one point [laughs]. But the ironic thing is it could have all been over in six months.

    I think the next great stroke of luck for me was meeting Ken Russell.

    Because yeah, I was a big model and I could have gone on modeling, I was world famous by then.

    You know, I was 20 when I stopped modeling and I could have gone on modeling for another 15 years, probably.

    W: You were skinny naturally.

    T: The obsession with thinness, I think it’s gone out of hand-obsession with thinness and obsession with looking unnaturally young.

    I used to eat like a horse.
    I’m much more careful what I eat now because I’m older. I’ve wised up a bit.

    I’m happier that I’m heavier than I was, because I was very skinny.

    But I was very young.

    I’m very into healthy eating.

    I think this obsession with skinniness-it’s weird now.

    It’s not just models now: it’s gone into that Hollywood thing.

    I find it worrying, I have to say.

    The media, I think, should be a bit more responsible.

    The fashion industry and the magazines push this image, and unfortunately teenage girls are very susceptible to it.

    I was the beginning of the media thing starting to happen.

    We didn’t have the intrusion that we have nowadays.

    I’m glad I’m a boring, married, middle-aged woman now.

  36. ella Says:

    I TOTALLY agree with this artical. Models before twiggy had to come along were curvy a real woman. She started this horrible reveloution!! im not saying she wanted people to become bulimic ect. but she played her part. As a 14 year old im constantly being pressured to be stick thin its horrible knowing that your never gonna be good enough

  37. Anika Says:

    You’re argument fails because of one main thing:

    Marylin Munroe and Elizabeth Taylor are both style icons from the 1960’s, so why didn’t that lead to the rise of need to be curvier ?

    Why doesn’t Magda Szubanski lead to hundreds of girls wanting to be “fat” ? Oprah? She’s not the thinnest woman alive. She’s seen by billions of women world wide.. why are they all not trying to gain weight to look like her?

    Anorexia arises because of poor self esteem and obsessive compulsiveness. I go to a girl school where 99% of the girls read fashion magazines, see skinny models all the time and watch T.V shows such as 90210, where the average girl is a size 2. That hasn’t made them all go anorexic.

    Everyone sees skinny models on TV, and if twiggy was the reason for anorexia then every woman would be anorexic because we have all been exposed to her, and other skinny models alike.

  38. kath Says:

    wow. well done. you have just blamed my life on some woman who isnt even in my lifetime.
    of couuurse i have no reeal reasons that im anorexic/bulimic… i just want to be like twiggy.

  39. Gail Gary Says:

    You have it exactly right. Twiggy was iconic. She was at the cusp of the a time when female sexuality was first becoming wrenchingly divorced from reproduction. When women wanted to be associated with endless youth rather than motherhood. The birth control pill came along, and Twiggy followed, and was a huge influence on what girls/women thought they suddenly wanted to be: childishly vulnerable and yet beautiful, powerfully compelling and yet…not sexy in the old, wasp-waist, jutting breast way. Twiggy was a 100% departure from all that, and she even did away with fussy hair and long dragonlady nails! She wasn’t trying to be elegant…just the essence of girl-on-the-cusp, practically a boy-girl, that men still wanted to gaze at and protect. She spoke volumes with those amazing eyes, and the culture ate it up. Yup, you have it right—she was the start of the ultra-thin, no hips, long skinny shanks, coltish thing. She embodied it, and the seed passed through the culture and grew into such as Kate Moss (sorry, it’s too easy to name her, and yet she, too, is bizarrely iconic of this type of waifish beauty) and today’s fashionable skeletal lady.

    It’s intriguing that breasts have come back, yet the ones we are bid to stare at are usually artificial ones, mounted on a skinny hipped, boyish body. Again, divorced from the reproductive context; if breasts have any suggestion of being misshapen through actual use as a baby’s comfort, they are generally given plastic surgery to repair them and make them artificially perfect again!

    Twiggy, as an iconic image, was a cultural escape from the ideal of women being made for carrying babies. Yet she is not in any way a true feminist icon; she is still meant to be stared at only, not tested or spoken to. The classic Twiggy look is as much boy as girl, and as puzzling.

  40. Unico Says:

    Did everyone basically skip the very beginning of the Article? geez.

    Have you guys ever heard of “Thinspiration?”
    Girls use clippings of models as their goal for losing weight, some are proana and pro bulimic.

    The Article isn’t blaming Twiggy. The Article is stating, that her body type was used to launch trends and fashion. After Twiggy came the “Heroin Chic” era. That was inspired by models like Twiggy.

  41. Dovie Says:

    Models weren’t always as scrawny as they are today. That look really came into style with Twiggy in the 1960s…

    I don’t think it’s healthy for women to strive to be those super-skinny supermodels.

    Where do you think the problems with anorexia and bulimia come from?

    Why do you think so many young people (especially girls) have such problems with negative body image? Society and the media have created this unrealistic standard, and Dove has set out to change that perception … and redefine beauty.

    Visit the Dove website for details:


  42. barry Says:

    If you really want to look thinner or skinny even if you are tall seek the help of a fashion dresser, so that he/she can show you how to dress down or up.:-) They do a great job.

  43. DeeDee Says:

    I see your point in posting this article, but you can not blame one person. Many people are to blame. I doubt Twiggy thought she was influencing girls to starve themselves to get her figure. She was just a young, pretty girl who liked to model.

  44. Twigster Says:

    Good article BUT how can she be to blame she was born that way, she’s admitted that she ate like a horse and couldn’t put any weight on.

  45. Lovehandler Says:

    Curves ahead! The plus-size models that prove fashion is finally ready to embrace larger women -By Tamara Abraham Mail Online. Last updated at 3:56 PM on 05th January 2010

  46. rtone Says:

    It is STILL going on…
    Janary 2010 magazine Cover

  47. maggie roper Says:

    some great info here!
    im adding this to my bookmarks

  48. […] truth is that most women think they are fat because of role models pushed through the media since Twiggy was invented to sell teenagers a lifestyle, a look and products galore. My advice is to take a break from reading such trashy magazines. Posted in Annoyances, Change […]

  49. give me hell Says:

    Most people in the world are naturally skinny. the problem with eating disorders is mainly an American one. if you live an active lifestyle and know how to eat you will never have to struggle to look good.

  50. Maricruz Rouff - Sexy Says:

    What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & assist other users like its aided me. Great job.

  51. nope Says:

    you say you aren’t blaming twiggy for anorexia and bulimia, but thats your first sentence

    • dope Says:

      ha, you need to read this again nope. S/he is not blaming Twiggy, but it is nevertheless down to Twiggy. Twiggy was the pawn, she was manipulated.

  52. nowmode Says:

    I’m sure eating disorders started long before world war two and the nineteen sixties. The fashion industry has been contributing to the epidemic ever since Vogue decided style was fashion and made it its business to decide what is fashionable and beautiful, which has indeed included thin. As you mentioned eating disorders are worldwide, and thus a reflection of various cultures, which are not limited to, and if at all affected by, Europe and America. This discussion goes far beyond Kate Moss (who also had the idealized body image of thin, via coke chic) and Twiggy; We must remember that fashion is a business, and that promoting the rail thin waif body image may very well be a marketing strategy. If you are saying that twiggy was used to market this as a definition of beauty to sell products, you are correct. Kate Moss solidified this ideal. Of course some people are naturally rail thin (like myself) and unlike myself are fooled into believing they are apart of the very corrupt wolrd of the fashion industry i.e. A Victim of Fashion.

  53. Rose Says:

    Twiggy wasn’t even the first person in fashion to promote the waif look. During the 1930s designer Elsa Schaiparelli (who often went weeks without eating) insisted that all of her models be extremely tall and extremely underweight. During the 1920s starlets would eat tapeworms to achieve the curve-less boy shape. This didn’t start with Twiggy, and vilifying her certainly won’t end it.

    • DAVID Says:

      Elsa who????? Seriously, you have missed the entire point of this article, which is to say that media is to blame, and Twiggy was the original mass-media prototype/ achetype. You Elsa makes no sense as no-one has ever heard of HER. This article doesn’t vilify Twiggy. Try reading it again.

      • Anonymous Says:

        I think you’re the one who missed the point, all she was getting at was that anorexia had started before twiggy, it existed in the 20’s as well wen this designer insisted that models be extremely thin and tall.
        Although you don’t know who Elsa is,, being extremely thin had already happened ; although it was much less severe than it is now,

  54. paulcarlaw Says:

    The women of the past that were written about are not everyday teenage girls. In the past, the poor and working classes did not – I would suggest – get ribs removed or have the luxury to suffer from anorexia or bulimia. That would be for the leisured classes. Twiggy represents the change. That society changed, women got votes, work, the pill, independence, and everyday working-class girls were a new market to exploit. Twiggy was used to that effect.

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