Cindy Crawford's unaltered photo sparks new discussion on body i - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cindy Crawford's unaltered photo sparks new discussion on body image

Cindy Crawford's unaltered photo is sparking a new discussion on Photoshopped pictures and whether it's creating unrealistic body images among women. (Source: WOIO) Cindy Crawford's unaltered photo is sparking a new discussion on Photoshopped pictures and whether it's creating unrealistic body images among women. (Source: WOIO)
Many countries are trying to regulate the fashion industry to ensure model safety. (Source: WOIO) Many countries are trying to regulate the fashion industry to ensure model safety. (Source: WOIO)
(WOIO) - Have you seen that un-retouched photo of Cindy Crawford? It's sparking a new discussion on Photoshopped pictures and whether it's creating unrealistic body images among women. The topic has become so big it is making it all the way to Congress.

When fashion designer Elie Tahari casts for fashion week, he starts off with hundreds of models. Then he narrows it down to about 25.

"The relationship between a model and the designer, it's always something that comes from inside," he says.

While Tahari says he is looking for something on the inside, what the rest of us see is the outside. And that outside is almost always tall, beautiful, and very, very thin.

"It is important that a fashion model is a fashion model," says agent Bethann Hardison.  

In fact, it's been the industry standard for years.

"She has to be lean. She should be tall and it is not someone who is fuller bodied. That is not fashion. That is something else," she adds.

"I have a fast metabolism," says Madisin Bradley

At 5'9'' and a natural size 0, the 22-year-old fits that mold.

"I've had trouble fitting into certain pieces during fashion week," she says.

And not because the clothing was too big.

"Far too small for me and I'm very tiny myself," she laughs.

After two models died in Europe from anorexia-related causes, the fashion industry in Spain and Italy began monitoring how thin a model can be, based on body mass index, or BMI. Israel has gone further, passing a law that requires a model to have a BMI of at least 18.5.

For comparison, American women on average have a BMI of 26.5 and wear a size 14.

The Israeli law also requires that any print ad that has been Photoshopped says so.

"Young children are being affected by imagery every single day," says plus-sized supermodel Emme.

She wants regulations in the U.S., especially around Photoshopping.

Young girls are thinking, "That's how I wanna look like," says Emme.

A Girl Scouts of the USA survey found 89 percent of teenage girls feel the fashion industry pressures them to be skinnier.

"Definitely, by the time I was 12, I was restricting what I was eating," says Kathleen MacDonald.

MacDonald, policy director of the Eating Disorder Coalition, says her body issues started from fashion magazines.

"I had started to give up and was planning to take my own life, 'cause I was so sick of being sick and sick of not getting better," says MacDonald.

It took MacDonald 20 years to recover from both anorexia and bulimia. It's a fight she has detailed before Congress.

Her coalition is now sponsoring three separate bills calling for eating disorder education and for greater transparency in advertising.

"I am committed to doing this until not one more person dies prematurely from an eating disorder," exclaims Macdonald. 

Tahari says the solution to unhealthy models shouldn't come from congress but from the fashion industry itself. 

"Every designer needs to take responsibility and they have to deal with real things, real women, real sizes, real models. It's good for business," he adds.

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