At the Vogue Festival last weekend, "Supermodel" Natalia Vodianova made a somewhat controversial comment that incited anger among many, and it was a comment that many in her industry are guilty of making.
"C'mon guys, you know it's better to be skinny than to be fat."
On its surface, it is a horrible comment to make and in very poor taste, especially when she was among a mostly female public. But should she apologize for her breach of etiquette?
Vodianova defended her statement by deflecting attention away from herself and onto the food and diet industry, explaining that her line of work is not the only one that capitalizes from distorting women's views of themselves. While it is very valid that the food and diet industry must share the blame, she stole a strategy popular among politicians: when criticized, point the finger at someone else.
Vodianova admits that she would have chosen her words more carefully if she were making a speech rather than interacting directly with the audience in a different forum. But does that really matter?
More than whatever offensive qualities the statement may have had, Vodianova was wrong. Skinny is just as bad as fat, and the shape of a body is really meaningless compared to how healthy it is. It should be understood that skinny is only better than fat when it comes to Vodianova and friends keeping their jobs, and nowhere else.
Most of people have found that it is nearly impossible to talk about issues of weight and body image without angering some section of the population. Rather than feeling offended by Vodianova and others in the fashion and modeling industry who make the same kind of remarks, more outrage should be placed at the fact that they often parrot misinformation passed to them by agencies, photographers, designers and other supermodels.
MindBodyGreen, a wellness website, often features articles about being aware of what one says. Is it helpful? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Will you be doing a disservice or service by your words of choice? That is the checklist readers are encouraged to consult before they speak. Some argue that Vodianova should be applauded for saying what she said at the Vogue Festival rather than keeping her mouth shut about the subject of body image. But she very obviously did not keep that checklist in mind. Saying nothing at all would have been better than addressing an issue Vodianova is clearly as unsure of as most women.