Reshaping Fashion

29 Mar

I got to be a part of something pretty great today.

Today I attended the Eating Disorders Awareness Coalition‘s 5th Annual Charity Spring Fashion Show, Reshaping Fashion.

Reshaping Fashion was awesome. It was a fashion show dedicated to proving that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. They had a woman in the show who had been a professional runway model, tall, and very thin, and men and women of all ages, sizes, races and builds. In fact, a few friends of mine were in the show. One of them is a very tall and slender 6 foot 8 man. The other two are plus-sized women. All the models looked FABULOUS and showcased this season’s latest fashions fabulously! They had clothes donated from so many awesome stores. The show was SO professional, music, lighting, photographers, professional hair and makeup, the works! Aside from the fashion show, there were silent auctions, door prizes, and refreshments. All the proceeds went to supporting an amazing charity. I was actually asked to be a model for the event, but was unsure of my schedule due to placement and had to decline.

I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with bulimia, and listening to the MC (Adele Newton from 91.5 the BEAT) and the guest speaker brought me to tears. Words cannot even begin to express how ugly these diseases truly are. There is nothing sadder to me than seeing someone deprive themselves of basic nourishment because they hate themselves so much. I once wrote in a personal journal that I was “too much”. I was too loud, I talked too much, I was too big, too short… you get the idea. And somehow I got the idea that if I shrunk myself, made myself small, I would be more accepted, my voice would quiet itself, I would talk just the right amount… everything would be better if I could just lose a few more pounds. During my struggle with Bulimia, I never got down to a dangerously low weight. Don’t be fooled, I still managed to do enough damage that I now have to live with certain (probably life-long) health problems. I also almost lost Britton, one of the greatest people to have ever entered my life.

Britton, rowing me around the pond in Central Park, NYC 2007

Enough about me, on to the AMAZING guest speaker. I had never heard of her before today, and I wish I had. To quote her website

Natalie MacNeil is a media producer and consultant, specializing in online media and marketing. She is a passionate entrepreneur, award-winning blogger, and speaker.

Natalie has developed an impressive portfolio of online, interactive media projects. Her blog, She Takes On The World, has received international attention and was named a 2009 finalist for Blog of the Year at the Stevie Awards, dubbed “the Oscar’s of business awards.” She is also the co-founder of, an online community supporting young entrepreneurs.

She gave an AMAZING speech about how media is affecting women, not only here in North America, but all over the world. When she was in Asia, she was constantly being told how beautiful she is… and then she figured out that Asian people are seeing the same ads we see here in North America, depicting beauty as a tall, thin, WHITE woman. Did you know that Mattel opened up a Barbie store in Shanghai, China… a huge 6 story emporium built with lots of pink! There is a spa, a cosmetics counter, and even a cocktail bar!! Sadly, Asian women still prefer the traditional blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbie to the asian one.
She went on to talk about how women in Asia have been receiving a special plastic surgery for asian eyelids, where the eyelids are shaped to look more like a caucasian woman’s. I actually saw an episode of asian eyelid surgery on a cosmetic surgery show last year. Surgeries like these are on the rise in Asia, In fact, eyelid surgery was the third most common surgery worldwide in 2006. Natalie mentioned that one hospital in asia did over 20,000 eyelid procedures in one year.
Am I the only one whose mind is completely blown by this??

Battling with your weight is distressing enough, I could not imagine having to live feeling as though I were the wrong race.

This has to stop. Catty comments about other women and how they look, what they wear, etc (we’re all guilty of it, including myself!) they all need to stop. Everyone of us is beautiful even if you don’t conform to traditional standards of beauty.  Every time I make a catty comment about another person’s appearance, I am fueling the fire. I am part of the problem. I don’t know abut you, but I don’t want to be part of something I hate.

Did you know:
– The annual death rate associated with anorexia is more than 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all other causes combined for females between 15 and 24 years old.
The Eating Disorder Program at Sick Children’s Hospital, Toronto has children as young as 5 years old being admitted to their program.
Eating disorders are now the third most common chronic illness in adolescent girls


2 Responses to “Reshaping Fashion”

  1. rovisi March 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    I’m no fan of religion, but isn’t there a commandment about not worshiping false idols? Maybe Moses was onto something…

  2. Natalie MacNeil March 29, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    Stephanie, thank you for your kind comments about my speech. I was honoured to have been asked to participate in an event that raises awareness for an issue close to my heart. Thank you for being so open about your struggles and personal journey with beauty, weight and appearance.

    When I saw beautiful little girls in Asia wishing they could have blonde hair and blue eyes, my heart just ached for them. A lot of changes need to be made and a lot of perceptions need to be adjusted.

    One correction: that hospital in Shanghai performed over 40 000 eyelid reshaping surgeries last year, not 20 000. It blows my mind too Stephanie.

    We all need to make more of an effort to point out the wonderful things about people and work on giving more compliments instead of criticism. It’s something we’re all guilty of. Thank you again Stephanie 🙂

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