Doutzen Kroes, 28-year-old Victoria’s Secret sex machine, recently told the New York Post that sometimes “it makes [her] feel guilty now” to be “in this profession that makes certain girls insecure.” Which is a lovely idea, if not slightly heartbreaking; however, it is not the fault of any individual model or models collectively that girls feel insecure. Even in a vacuum that would not be the case. It’s not these women or their bodies that destroy young girls’ body image–it’s the gestalt of the industry, it’s that their bodies are held up as ideal over and over again. The woman Doutzen Kroes herself is not culpable, no matter how often she apologizes. Honestly, it might not even be her “real” body that impressionable young girls are dying for, but a smoke and mirrors illusion of her body.
While it doesn’t seem necessary for Kroes to feel personally guilty for making money by fitting into society’s rigid standards of beauty, it is important that she and other models continue to criticize and analyze the context they work it in. They shouldn’t stop working it, but hopefully soon we can see models with more diverse body types, without airbrushing and more dialogue about outrageous beauty standards and the industry’s ridiculous practices. Kroes also told the post:
“I always say, I don’t look like the picture . . . If you put me in bad light with no hair and makeup, it’s not good . . . I wake up sometimes like, this is not what I see when I look at the magazine, who is this visitor in the bathroom?”
This statement is reminiscent of that thing Cindy Crawford famously said that one time: ”Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford!” No doubt women like Kroes and Crawford wake up looking more like models than the average civilian, but they still have to feel inadequate to doctored up pictures of themselves. I’d never really considered what it must be like to see all of these manipulated and perfected images of yourself in magazines and then have to compare it to the reality of your true form. Most girls will never feel pretty enough to model, but even the ones who are pretty enough need to be tweaked by teams of professionals in order to be photographed and fed to the public.