Glamour Magazine shows real women

Last month I blogged about Self Magazine’s extreme overuse of digital airbrushing for their Kelly Clarkson cover. So I’m glad to see that Glamour Magazine has decided to publish an un-airbrushed photo of plus-sized model Lizzie Miller.

My only objection is calling Ms. Miller “plus-sized.” I’ve seen plus-sized models. And she isn’t it. On the contrary, Miller is quite thin, with only a slight bit of healthy belly fat that would go entirely unnoticed if she wasn’t posed in a position that deliberately and proudly shows off her curves.

This is reminiscent of Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty. And although this doesn’t overtly fit in with the topics I usually discuss on this blog, I consider my job to be fighting distortions of reality wherever I see them, and this includes the media’s extreme measures in distorting the public’s view of how people look and distorting the public’s body image expectations.

So I would like to commend Glamour for doing this and I hope this is the start of a new trend (though somehow I doubt it).


6 Responses to Glamour Magazine shows real women

  1. What bothers me is that these women are still a fabricated version of what women are “supposed to be”: delicate, make-up sporting, “sexy”, all made for the pleasure of hetero men. It’s not even close to being anything less than chauvinistic fodder. It’s a pathetic attempt at calibrating a new view of beauty. These women are still cliched, exploited, false portrayals. They aren’t plus-size. This is not even close to true feminism or realism. It’s still an unattainable status quo, an ideal of what beauty should be- not what women are.

    • mjr256 says:

      I agree insofar as they’re still models and they’re still wearing makeup, etc. But I’d argue that their bodies, while not all that plus-sized, are more realistic and far more attainable. Beauty magazines do have people to answer to and they do need to sell their product. I recognize that. And I don’t think anyone really wants to buy a magazine with photographs of actual ordinary-looking women. But I do appreciate the gesture that was made to show that you don’t need to be a size zero to represent beauty and to be featured in the magazine.

  2. So why wouldn’t anyone want to buy magazines with “ordinary-looking women”? Because people can’t stand reality? I think it’s more like this: these companies profit of of forcing women, from a very early age, to feel as though they need to fulfill men’s desire’s in order to be happy. The catch is, most men realize there’s more to women than tits and ass. It’s too bad people like you want women to feel like ordinary isn’t good enough. It’s too bad you settle for that as an acceptable status quo. I won’t. It takes work to defy these dogmas, and sacrifice.
    Women of all sizes and shapes and textures are all different kinds of beautiful. It’s really sad that all this garbage is put on our teen and younger-still girls; even sadder that people are willing to stand for it. A gesture isn’t enough. Culture like this needs transformative reform.

    • mjr256 says:

      Let me rephrase. People are far more attracted to images of beautiful people and research consistently shows people are far more likely to buy magazines with beautiful people on the covers as well as in the pages. If they didn’t, there’s no way publishers would shell out so much money to manipulate photos. Advertisers and media companies aren’t stupid. They know the psychological tricks that attract sales. And if these methods didn’t work, they wouldn’t bother.

      These magazines profit off of advertisers who choose to spend money with them based on the magazines’ readership. Bigger readership equals more profits, period. Any other effects are mere epiphenomena, not part of any particular agenda on the part of the magazine. I’m not saying this is a good or bad; it’s simply how it is. Unless you first accept this reality, you can’t really expect to change it.

      “It’s too bad people like you want women to feel like ordinary isn’t good enough.”

      That’s quite the straw man you’ve created there. I never claimed “ordinary isn’t good enough.” I just don’t think it’s an evil conspiracy to force women “to feel as though they need to fulfill men’s desire’s in order to be happy” and am not naive enough to think a dramatic paradigm shift is likely to happen purely based on the strength of my vitriolic rhetoric.

      We live in a capitalist society and the magazines’ bottom line is profit. That’s just how it is and that’s not going to change. If you want to change the body images depicted in the magazines, you’re going to have to create a business model on which the desired outcome is more profitable to them than the way they do things now. Otherwise, what possible motivation would they have to change?

      I’d love to hear solutions as to how to begin to change the body images presented in the media but reducing everything to a black and white issue and insulting people who fundamentally agree with you is not helpful. All I’m saying in this article is that I appreciate the gesture, small step that it is. And if you really want to see a paradigm shift, my advice is that you accept that radical change takes time and usually involves slow, gradual steps.

      And yeah, I think it’s pretty obvious that most people can’t stand reality.

  3. Please excuse the typo.
    *Off Of
    And if I seem rude it’s because I’m so sick of people saying things like, “I don’t think anyone really wants to buy a magazine with photographs of actual ordinary-looking women.” Absolute bullshit. Define ordinary. No, let me rephrase that- we need to stop letting these magazines- and Hollywood- define ordinary. “Beautiful” should not be something we have to strive for and never attain- it should be something we are. No wonder women feel so horrible about themselves. Even people who think they are different propagate this irrational plastic-surgery=and-high-heels-and-makeup-oh-my standard. Do you realize that 8 year old little girls see this shit and go through their entire lives thinking that that is what they should want to be?

    Fucking sick and tragic.

    • mjr256 says:

      Attractiveness does affect profits and likely always will. That’s just how it is. And while you can certainly cast plain-looking people in your advertising, movies, etc and people will still see them, more attractive equals bigger audience almost every time. I work in media and as easy as it is to just blame the media for this, it’s not all their fault. It’s a fact of life that people will always be more interested in seeing attractive people than seeing less attractive people. I don’t see any advantage in denying this reality. If I ever get any of my films made, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t cast the most attractive people I can find who can successfully perform the part. I’d be stupid not to and doing a great disservice to all the hard-working people who helped make the film and who stand to benefit from its success. Now there’s of course a line and I would never cast emaciated actresses. It’s great to have high ideals but its okay to be a little practical as well.

      I honestly don’t think the solution is just waving a finger at the media. I think these kinds of values begin at home.

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