These are a few slides from a talk I gave to a group of high school students on the media messages and their impact on our lives/body image last year, as part of the Eating Disorders Foundation of NSW's annual Youth Forum.


Fashion designers work to a fantasy of what the human body looks like. They are taught how to draw human figures in a distorted, idealised way.


The two figures in the middle are typical of fashion design drawings. Designs are based on these oddly proportioned, fantasy, body shapes.

The figures on either side were statistical averages from a series of anthropometrics studies done with US military personnel. Whilst limited to a select age range and profession, these nonetheless are based on measurable and observable reality. These are real body shapes. ( From Human Dimension & Interior Space by Julius Panero and Martin Zelnilk)


If a product designer were to work off the same fantasy body shapes that fashion designers so, a typical toilet would look like this.

None of us would willingly climb a stepladder every time we need to use our toilet - how silly would that be? And yet, why is it that we continue to try and fit into clothes that were not designed for our bodies to begin with, or shoes that are uncomfortable and damage our feet?

This is most peculiar.