It’s been a relatively big week in magazines, which I touched on in the Best of The Interwebs on Friday. First, Vogue* released its six point Health Initiative which includes not working with models under 16 in the wake of a sexualised 10 year old appearing in French Vogue last year and a rash of under 16 year olds gracing the covers, and not working with models who appear to have an eating disorder. I wonder what the initiatives position is on articles which feature mothers shaming their seven year olds and placing them on restrictive, disordered diets. While the move is positive, Buzzfeed rightly questions why we are at the point where the industry needs to self regulate? And, as they highlight, these measures have been taken before in the fashion industry, however there is no-one to actually enforce the regulations. It is up to each individual designer, editor, casting agent, and so forth. These moves are designed to essentially placate the rest of us. Vogue is seeking to align themselves with current moves by Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram to ban thinspo, or pro-eating disorder websites. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a positive move, following on from Glamour’s pledge to cut down on photoshopping, and will hopefully have far-reaching ripple on effects within an industry which consistently presents unrealistic images.
Glamour published their results from a survey which asked what traits women associated with other women based on their size. While the option to not assign a trait to any body shape was offered, participants routinely decided against that alternative and showed their pre-disposition to judging women based on body size instead. On the other end of the spectrum was the petition created by 14 year old Julia Bluhm which asked Seventeen Magazine to cut down on photoshopping in the magazine, and feature one spread a month with un-photoshopped girls. The petition – which is still gaining signatures – was essentially met with Thanks! But, No thanks! as the editor of Seventeen Ann Shoket GRACIOUSLY sat down with Ms. Bluhm and explained “but we already feature real girls!”. Slightly missing the point? I think so. Seventeen is in a position of power, and it isn’t the first time this year they have come under fire. Earlier in the year they launched a body fit campaign which saw them feature a blogger who promoted disordered eating practices. Not a great look Seventeen…
Find of the week. Jezebel does a wrap up of the tabloid magazines in the US! It’s quite good. Impressively, they actually look through the entire magazine – so that’s a bit different to my focusing on the language in conjunction with images, but check it out!.
SO, this week on the covers of our magazines The Biggest Loser is all over it as it begins to wrap here in Australia. Impressively there are three chicks in the Biggest Loser final four, but let’s not let that take away from the fact the show is incredibly heinous. The tabloids are dominated with shaming and bodies and TOO SKINNY! And WE LOVE OUR CURVY BODIES and it’s all a bit much. Of the nine covers this week, only two do not focus on bodies, and one of those is Grazia – which is firmly focused on Demi Moore’s face. Disappointingly not a single magazine has earned an A this week. It’s a bad week to be a woman.
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
Vogue features cover girl Daria Werbowy with the tagline Good Girl Bad Girl Beauty. Not going to lie, I have no idea what they mean – I didn’t realise that beauty could be good or bad (unless it’s a ‘what not to do’ – which, can I just say, should probably include wearing your concealer as lipstick. Can we stop that?).
C – Magazine cover prominently mentions Diet/ Health with no hard promises or time frames, Features weight loss stories, Features stories about Beauty Routines which promise results, Features stories on Slimming/ Sexy clothing, Focus on obtaining a particular type of desirable body. Magazine cover focuses on dressing for the male gaze.
New Idea features Lisa Curry in a bikini on its cover this week with the tagline How I lost 13kg …to celebrate my 50th birthday! This is followed with Her Diet Secrets Inside! Remembering that Lisa Curry is a former Australian swimmer, I am going to assume her diet secrets are high protein, high greens, and a lot of exercise. I am not sure what to make of this cover. On one hand I think shame on New Idea for shaming 50 year old women. This is essentially a look she did it! What’s your excuse!. On the other hand, Lisa Curry is such a healthy role model. Still, it is promoting an ideal body…
Woman’s Day, TV week, and OK! all feature Biggest Loser finalists, and their make-over reveals. The covers range from publishing individual weight loss to total weight lost as a group. It can’t be ignored that while these incredible achievements are being celebrated, what is also being promoted is this idea that slim = attractive, and weight loss is rewarded with special make-over’s, compliments, attractiveness, and the list goes on and on. These magazines are doing nothing more than perpetuating this by focusing on the appearance of the finalists, as opposed to declarations that they love their new healthy lifestyles. Woman’s Day even offers a free miracle cream used by Posh!
D – Magazine cover actively promotes diets which promise fast results. Actively promotes Exercise for specific results. Actively assumes worth is determined by Male Gaze. Actively promotes youth for an audience over the age of 21. Actively promotes drastic beauty routines. Slight shaming tendencies.
Grazia – OMG! Demi‘s New Face. The secret to her amazing makeover is coupled with a ‘Before’ and an ‘after’… though who can really know which photograph ACTUALLY came before. The cover also features the inane tagline Fash Week Pre-tox. What we eat to survive. I think the magazines are messing with my mind this week…
E – Magazine cover actively shames celebrity/ media personalities’ appearance. Actively promotes unhealthy diets/ unhealthy weight loss/celebrity diet tips. Actively engages in fat/ thin/ age shaming. Shaming dominates the page.
NW. Super Skinnies Gone Too Far! ‘I’m not too thin‘– Brandi. Brandi is Brandi Glanville of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and the only people who appear to be body policing her are sites such as celebitchy –almost a year ago. NW continues their skinny shaming with Who chain-smokes instead of eating? Who works out twice a day? Who‘s dropped 10-kg and is still losing weight? This is partnered with someone called Lizzie, and tabloid favourites LeAnn (Rimes), Miley (Cyrus), and Audrina (Partridge). These empty accusations are nothing more than body policing and thin shaming. It isn’t surprising that a celebrity would work out twice a day- Some of them are reliant on their bodies for work. NW continues this trend of focusing on a celebs body rather than their merits with the painful tagline The Voice: Battle of the Bodies featuring Seal and Delta.
Who is doing their absolute best to promote an ideal body on this week’s cover. Our amazing new bodies: 10 stars tell how they got in their best ever shape. Hot new pics. Rihanna -Fitter than ever. Leann Rimes -Back from bones. Waaaaaiiiiit a minute, didn’t we just see LeAnn on the cover of NW where they claimed she was emaciated??? I kind of love it when the tabloids contradict each other. It’s impressive that Who manage to body shame all different body types on the one cover with their assertion of the current perfect figure. Who also runs a Biggest Loser feature with before and afters of Rebekah, who lost 44kg and Lydia, who lost 55 kg. I am not sure I really need to spell out the link here. Who have done it quite well themselves.
Conversely, Famous are running the tagline Size 14 and proud of it! ‘We love our new bodies!‘ They’re young, curvy and finally happy. Meet the stars who‘ve said no to skinny for good. The pictures include who I think is Nicki Minaj, Leighton Meester, and Demi Lovato, plus a Guess who! Firstly, I am a little bit more than disgusted to see Demi Lovato on this cover. Demi has recovered from an eating disorder, and she shouldn’t be being body policed – as should no celebrity, or person for that matter. Secondly, I don’t know who on this cover is a size 14, and it is not the place of a tabloid magazine to assert that any of them are. Insinuating the sizes of people is incredibly harmful – not just to the people to themselves, but to women everywhere who are a size 14, look at these women and think ‘Hang on! I don’t look like that!’. This focus on size has got to stop! Considering that most clothing sizes are not homogenous store to store, designer to designer and country to country, placing your worth on the number on a piece of clothing just seems a little bit ridiculous, doesn’t it? But that’s what the disordered do. We place our worth in numbers, and covers like this just normalise that sort of behaviour. This cover is supposed to be asserting that these female celebs are embracing their bodies (as they should) but really, it is thinly veiled shaming. Said no to skinny? Really? Most women alive feel that curvy is just a nice way of saying fat – because in the press, that is the way it has become. Famous have really failed this week.
Not related to bodies, but funny anyway is the tagline R-Patz hires bodyguard to keep ex-lover away. I caught the video on the website as it had the tagline Robert Pattinson disses Nicki Reed on the red carpet, and I was completely intrigued like any real voyeur! So, I watched it… and the clip is from the Eclipse premiere in 2010… and Nicki Reed is moved on because Pattinson is giving an interview. Hardly a body guard to keep her away but good reporting there, Famous. I like how it’s even on time, and not two years later. /sarcasm.
Best – Vogue…
Worst – Famous
Honourable Mention – TV week… at least there is no gossip on the cover?
Did I get it Right? What do you think? Any other Magazines you would like me to discuss? =)
*All 19 Editors in Chief of Vogue devised and signed the Health Initiative.