Friday, March 7, 2014

I Have a Skin-over-Bone to Pick with Lindsey Vonn

About a month ago, American skier Lindsey Vonn participated in a benefit fashion show for cardiac health. Vonn took to the catwalk in a fetching red frock. On crutches.

Vonn was on crutches, because last year she fractured her tibia, among other owwies. She exacerbated those injuries in December, rendering her unable to participate in the Winter Games at Sochi. Which is very sad for Vonn and I feel for her. To put in all that work and not be able to go the Olympics... That's a wicked bummer.

Vonn's appearance made headlines, not for the crutches, rather because of disparaging comments she made about professional fashion models. She said,

"It may look good in a magazine but it's not actually healthy. And girls who are that skinny are actually fat. You can see the cellulite on their legs and on their butts," she said. "You know I have cellulite too but I go to the gym and I try to eat healthy. I think that's a better model for girls to look up to than skinny people who need to eat more."

Oh dear.... where do I start? {clearing throat... Rant: enter stage left} I see her point, but I get really frustrated when women pick on each other. Vonn's comments reminded of a Middle School girls' locker room. "OMG, did you see that skinny girl's cellulite?!" It's just not kind. It's not helpful. And it's not fair.

She added, "I've been to a lot of photo shoots and I see these girls that are just really thin. They're not healthy. They don't work out. Health — that's one of the reasons I am out tonight. Just in general staying active and being healthy is important," Vonn said.

Umm... is anyone else finding it ironic that a woman on crutches, who has enough hardware in her body to set off the airport metal detectors from the parking lot, is really the best person to be getting preachy about health? Yes, there are different ways to define 'healthy,' but a big reason I exercise is hopefully to avoid having to install one of these when I'm old:

I would find it hard to believe that Vonn's myriad injuries from her physically punishing sport aren't going to have long-term consequences on her health and well-being. I recognize there's a difference between skiing hard and trying to whittle yourself away to almost nothing (assuming that's what models are doing), but it's the fashion industry that needs to take the heat. I can't get behind slamming the models themselves.

Indeed, there are some alarming reports coming out of the fashion world--stories of models thinking it's perfectly normal to faint from hunger, editors admitting to having used Photoshop to plump up hollowed cheeks, soften visible ribs, add color to wan skin. This is what best showcases designer clothes? Really??

I wish the models would all say, "Bag this, let's get a pizza," but many of them won't, because they know there are thousands of eager, hungry girls (and yes, I mean girls) waiting in the wings to take their place. They're just doing what they have to do to be successful.

In the same way, winning skiing gold medals at the Olympics requires a certain all-out-leave-nothing-on-the-slopes kind of performance. And that can spell injury. I get that. She's doing what it takes to be successful at what she does. Which is skiing. And the 'skinny fat' models are doing what it takes to be successful at what they do. Which is modeling. 

I'm not justifying starvation, but why not call out the industry as a whole, instead of the models? If the editors, the designers, the Fashion Week organizers said, "Enough. We're not doing this anymore. We're taking things in a different direction," there would be change. But until then, the models are just doing it what it takes to win runway shows and magazine spreads. Just like Lindsey Vonn does what it takes to get down the mountain as fast as she can. They may have more in common than they think.


Ok, so those are enough deep thoughts for the day. In other news, I'm travelling to NYC on Saturday, March 15th to participate in Physique 57's Barre Crawl! Yes, people, a class at each of Physique's three NYC studios. Before you (and I) completely freak out, the last one is a stretch class. Still, I'll be doing a Mat and Mixed-level back-to-back.

I'll be Instagramming photos throughout the day, so follow me @momsatthebarre to see my first ever selfie! 


  1. OMG, I am going to be in NYC on March 15! I wonder if we could meet up. It seems our travel plans our bringing us together again. :)

    1. Send me an email and we'll see... I'm not there for long!

  2. Oh wow. I didn't hear about this at all. I'm sad that she felt the need to try to "help" by disparaging an entire group of girls. And cellulite--yeesh! It's a pretty common female thing--and most of us have it. It's just that some people have more, some people have less, and some people only let pictures of their legs be put up on the internet with good lighting and/or liberal photoshopping. Sigh.

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