They said/We said: Franca Sozzani takes to Harvard to discuss body image and eating disorders

Photography by Victor Boyko/Getty Images

Perhaps in attempt to combat her critics, Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani hit Harvard yesterday, to speak to students about body image and eating disorders as well as the role that the fashion industry may or may not play in endorsing the ideal of thinness.

At the helm of the often-controversial publication, Sozzani has been responsible for both steps in the right direction (think the June 2011 beautifully-covered “curvy” issue) as well as some major gaffes (think Karlie Kloss’s overtly jutting hipbones earlier this year).

While accepting part of the blame, Sozzani stated that other factors must be tackled, such as anorexia-endorsing websites, family issues and the food industry. “I can accept that fashion may exaggerate, but I cannot help but mention all the negative tools that society employs to spread false information on food and aesthetics. How can all this be possibly caused by fashion?”

So how do we eradicate this problem? Banning pro-anorexic “thinspiration” content on social media sites such as Tumblr and Pinterest is a good start (as addressed in the speech).

We have to give it to her for speaking so openly and attacking the ever-controversial issue that contains no clear-cut solutions. And with more support of those in the public eye (see: Sarah Palin), we hope this issue will become a thing of the past.


The Cut: “When will “curvy” — i.e., more normal-looking models — appear regularly enough that they don’t have to be padded with gimmicks like special “curvy,” “shape,” and “health” issues? No one disagrees that a great model of any size will photograph beautifully and make clothes look fabulous. Right?” [The Cut]

The Gloss: “Look, we think Vogue Italia is phenomenal (if not consistently tone-deaf) and we’re glad that Sozzani is has been so public in her battle against extreme thinness as a beauty ideal. We just wish the pages of the magazine would reflect that.” [The Gloss]


Randi Bergman, online editor: “While Sozzani brings up some good points, I am not sure I see the point of the speech. While she may have covered an issue with some beautiful curvy models, I am not sure that her body image authority extends to the topic as a whole, or is even too steeped in reality to begin with, given her constant guffaws on race, weight, culture issues.”