So this week Victoria Beckham has been in the firing line following her latest fashion show and the scary tiny models that she had on the catwalk wearing her clothes. This comes five years after she spoke out in favour of positive beauty ideals and fifteen years after she allegedly rang Piers Morgan in a state because she was worried that upon seeing a photo of her in which she looked very skinny, young girls would 'see this and think that's how they want to look...'
The Twitter reactions to these images are quite rightly that of shock and anger that in this day and age, following the promises that she has made, Victoria Beckham is still using thin models to show off her range. Victoria has declined to comment following the backlash from the show but does insist that her clothes are inteded for a range of body shapes. (err...?)
I have always been a fan of Victoria Beckham, she has made a huge success of herself, knows fashion and seems to be a great mum, but after I saw the photo of Peyton Knight, the 17 year old catwalk model, posing with Victoria herself, I too was shocked and angry that she had allowed this to happen.
The law requires that a Catwalk Model must be 16 before they are allowed to appear in these shows and so although, by hiring the 17 year old, Victoria is not doing anything 'legally' wrong, morally I think she's doing something terrible.
Knight has been a model since the age of just eleven, which means that this life is all she has ever known. Not only will she be subject to the normal stresses of teenage life, but by being thrown into this unforgiving spotlight she is facing more pressure than should ever be put onto a teenage girl.
Whereas normal teenagers 'only' need worry about what their friends are saying about them on Social Media, Peyton has become the subject of a stream of nasty messages, which although probably stem (somewhere very deep down) from concern, are coming across aggressive, abusive and actually just plain mean:
And you know what saddens me? We spend a lot of time on Social Media hitting back at people for "Fat Shaming", quite rightly, because it's a horrible thing to do, but all of a sudden we're "Thin Shaming" too?
The fact is, Victoria should not have hired this model, I am shocked that as a mother she feels it's okay to send a girl this unhealthy in appearance down a catwalk because she is not an accurate representation of girls these days. Nor should she be. We live in a society doing all it can to help girls feel accepted. Through the Body Positive Movement and Plus Size Blogs, people are offering support in whatever way they can, yet here we are.
The fault however, should not stop at Victoria Beckham. Peyton Knight has made a career out her appearance and as young as she is, she's not stupid. If she were doing something wrong, she would not have been hired for one of the biggest shows in the world. No, what she is doing, is working. The way she looks gets her jobs, makes money, and, phena-phena, puts food on the table.
What we really need to be worried about, is that this is still happening in our society. We can be angry with Victoria, we can be angry with the industry, hell, I know I am. But what we need to acknowledge here, is that Peyton Knight is a person. As tough as she looks, as grown up as she seems, we must not forget that she is not at blame here. She may not be well, she may be under too much pressure, she may love what she does and how she looks, who knows, but she is a daughter and a friend and actually, just a teenage girl.
So by all means, let's do something about this. Keep fighting back, keeping pushing for change, god knows we need it, but instead of directing this at the model, who let's face it, is under more pressure than I could ever imagine, let's direct it at the industry that put this pressure on this girl in the first place.