|MTV 'MODEL MAKER'|
MTV is casting Model Maker, a new boot camp-style reality show for girls who dream about being a model but whose weight stops them from reaching their dream. Shooting approx. three months (dates TBA).
Seeking—Female Contestants: 18-25, 5'6"+, willing to shed 30 to 100 pounds to become a healthy, self-confident, high profile fashion model, with great attitude, pretty face, and the endurance to sweat off the weight.
Auditions will be held May 17, 2-5 p.m. at Torrid Store, Palisades Center, 1000 Palisades Center Dr ., W. Nyack, NY and May 18, 2-5 p.m. at Torrid Store, Cherry Hill Mall, 2000 Rte. 38, Cherry Hill, NJ. To submit online, email firstname.lastname@example.org; include your name, age, contact info, height and weight, and a brief bio about yourself and why you want to be a model. Attach a current photo, and include your audition state in the subject of your email. For more info and to view audition info in other cities, visit www.modelmakercasting.com. Winner receives $100,000 and a possible modeling contract.
Where shall we begin with how offensive this is?! Oh, right, I know--how about with the fact that Torrid is hosting the bloody thing?
Immediately after receiving this in my breakdowns, I sent an e-mail with this text the Shapely Prose team, as well as Paul at BigFatBlog, letting them know what horrors had come about. I also sent a rather scathing letter to the figureheads at Torrid:
I cannot for the life of me imagine why you are sponsoring the new MTV 'show' "Model Maker." As a very forward-thinking business that has encouraged women and girls of size to be happy with their bodies and be able to feel beautiful and sexy (even in this incredibly fat-hatred society), that you would then FUND new American tripe that says, "Sure you'll be pretty, once you're 30-100lbs thinner," is DISGUSTING.
Are you aware that the psychological pressures put on young women through media, society and their peers, all telling them YOUR BODY IS NOT OKAY are ridiculously more harmful to anyone's health than cellulite or a fat belly?
This hatred, fueled by people who have claimed that it would be okay to even put fat people in modern day concentration camps (http://www.bigfatblog.com/node
Fat people are told they are not allowed to exist EVERY DAY, in very blatant ways. In every ad that neglects to show a woman with a little meat on her bones, in every diet program that exists, in the glares that people give you for daring to share this earth with them, and most CERTAINLY in this fucking excuse for a television show, "Model Maker."
YOU ARE *TORRID.* Does that mean nothing to you? You are one of the only VISIBLE companies that has been proud to serve the fat-female community, especially with non-matronly clothing.
And this is certainly not about health. Size is not an indicator of health, much as pharmaceutical companies would have you believe otherwise. Health does not equal thin, and fat does not equal unhealthy. ( http://kateharding.net/but
I am appalled at this promotional move of your company, and I have already begun to inform the figureheads of the Fat Acceptance movement about this backstabbing role you've taken as a company. I implore you, if you have any decency, to please involve yourselves in something much more body positive--like Lifetime's "How To Look Good Naked."
I was smoothly replied-to with this:
Thanks for your email. I'm sorry that you feel we have let you down. We did think this over for a long time before agreeing to let MTV cast their show at Torrid locations. Just to be clear, we are not a sponsor of the show. We are not supporting the show financially in any way, either. MTV came to us because they believe that we have many beautiful plus size customers in our stores and they are right.
For the first 3 months of the year we featured The Glamazons in all of our windows and in national ads in 17 and Glamour magazines. Not one of them is smaller than a size 18 and we loved showing the world how great confident women with real curves can look. In our windows now are photographs of our 2007 Model Search Winners....all young girls with curvy bodies and big smiles. We have consistently promoted healthy body image through our association with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, High School Musical's Kaycee Stroh, and plus size supermodel Joanne Borgella. We will soon be featuring model turned author Mia Tyler, a very full size 16, who is releasing a new book called Finding Myself which chronicles her path to self acceptance. Likewise we will be hosting noted blogger Stephanie Klein in our stores for book signings of her new book, Moose, A Memoir of Fat Camp during June and July. Later in the summer we will once again launch our now famous Torrid Model Search. All of our customers are not the same and we work very hard to serve up a broad spectrum of fashion and special events throughout the year.
I appreciate your insights into how society treats plus sized women. We live it every day in every Torrid store. I get email every single day from customers thanking Torrid for giving them the chance to feel good about themselves. I have an adolescent daughter and I totally understand what you are saying. We get it and we do more than any other retail company in the world to advocate for plus size customers. As much as I appreciate your passion because we share it, I might suggest that you focus some of that energy on cosmetic companies, car companies, the food industry, the entertainment industry, and other companies that spend zillions on advertising and rarely use a model larger than a size 6, as if bigger women don't have real lives.
Of all the emails we get from customers the number one inquiry by far (other than requests for more Torrid locations) is from young women who want to know how to become a model for Torrid. Each summer we have over 3000 of our own customers show up for our model search. Likewise the MTV "Made" episode featuring a young woman from Ohio who had a dream of becoming a plus model for Torrid had incredible response from our customers and in fact introduced many new customers to the world of Torrid. Clearly the world of modeling is of great interest to many Torrid customers.
We support all of our customers whether you are happy as you are or dream about making changes in your life. I stand 100% behind our customer service and how we welcome guests to our store feel every single day. Our core philosophy is, and remains, that any size can be beautiful. Model Maker is a show about health, fitness, and beauty....all of which are important to a lot of our customers. There is nothing unhealthy about eating better and working out. The show is not about starving the contestants down to a size 2. I am very sorry that you are offended and I hope you will still feel comfortable shopping with us. We stand behind you and your dreams, too!
Have a nice weekend,
Though I didn't realize at first--and FJ and I were both impressed that the president would respond--a little digging taught me that this was a mass e-mail, sent to all the righteous fatties who had serious issues with Torrid's support on this mess.
Though Mr. Daniel says that they're not financially supporting Model Maker in any way, they kind of are, aren't they? They're the ones providing MTV with little lambs off to the slaughter, tubby teenagers just dying to shed some pounds to be 'real models.' Dear lord, what is with these people?! Of COURSE all you receive are letters of girls who want to model--that is what this ridiculous society tells girls they should do. Look pretty and pose and not smile and cock their hips. Most Torrid customers are on the younger side, and most young girls have dreamt of modeling. I bet these girls will also get over it like yesterday's breakfast, and realize that modeling is for a very, very small number of people.
Secondly, his little blurb about concentrating on other industries? No. Because, if you represent fat people and you STILL oppress them, how will mainstream industries ever take us seriously? YOU set the standard to how the fat demographic is treated. On top of this, you are officially now representing the entertainment industry--you have models, you have print ads, and you now are affiliated with MTV and their joke of a reality show.
Has anyone attended or seen this? I made myself very unavailable to the malls that day--I don't have enough Aleve to get me through that crap!