This week there was an unsurprising Katie Holmes focus dominating the covers of the weeklies due to her pending divorce. Speculation is rife; predictably Scientology is alleged to be a major factor. I think in the coming weeks we will probably see Nicole Kidman brought into it against her will. Other than this, we are starting to see more and more magazines pick up their A game, with fewer giving me things to actually talk about in this little article. It’s a conspiracy I tell you!. Nah. Wait till August: Spring will be just around the corner, so there will be much body shaming I am sure – probably similar to what is on the cover of (surprise surprise) NW this week.
The Courier Mail had an interesting OP ed last week – originally printed over at The Sunday Telegraph – by Steve Jackson, which asserts that weekly magazines are selling women out with their apparent celebration of celebrities who appear to have a healthy body image. Mr Jackson makes many interesting and valid points. When the weeklies laud a celebrity who is not a size 0 for having the courage to wear a bikini to the beach, they are actually engaging in underhanded body shaming. Headlines like “we are curvy and we love it” are backhanded compliments. The Weekly magazine running these headlines are ACTUALLY TELLING YOU that this person is overweight. This person may actually be a standard Aussie size 8 or 10, but the magazine would have you think that this is fat. When we consider that the average Australian woman is a size 16, one has to wonder how it affects their psyche when looking at the cover of a magazine she is told that a size 10 starlet is overweight. While I disagree with Jackson’s assertion that words such as fat and overweight are largely missing from magazines, I can’t deny how on point he is with this OP ed. The magazines are selling you out with a steady diet of body shaming and body policing.
Congratulations are on offer to Teen Magazine Dolly which won the ‘inaugural government run Positive Body Image award’ for its work in promoting positive body image to girls. Girlfriend magazine (who, I won’t lie, I think should have taken it home) was highly commended.
In April, teen Julia Bluhm asked US Teen glossy Seventeen to post one unaltered photo spread a month. After much (team) work, and an online onslaught, they won. (Well. Kind of, depending on how you read it. If you read it like I did – well, you read it like Jezebel did as well).
We’re really excited, because Seventeen didn’t just promise one un-photoshopped spread a month, they went even further by promising not to change the faces or body size of their models, to listen to readers’ feedback and to celebrate beauty in all of its diverse shapes, sizes and colors.
Now, fellow SPARKteam members are petitioning Teen Vogue to follow suit.
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
OK!, Womans Day, TV Week, Marie Claire, New Idea, Who, and Girlfriend are all completely flawless this week! OK! does have J-Lo on baby bump watch, and New idea is running a story about Kerri-Anne [Kennerley] and her life after surgery. Marie Claire features Gwen Stefani on the cover, and the four weeklies focus on Ms. Katie Holmes.
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
Grazia claims that Kim Kardashian and Beyonce have put aside their hatred of each other – by bonding over a diet – Kim’s Body BFF – The diet secret that won over Beyonce. Now, I can’t find any confirmation of this particular rumour on the internet (not counting Grazia’s website), with all my search terms simply returning the fact that Beyonce simply refuses to talk to Kim K, though Grazia UK asserts that the two have actually bonded over religion. Women’s bonding over diet and body issues is not a new thing, and it doesn’t really surprise me that Grazia would assert that the two women would bond over something so mundane. However, it’s an assertion that normalises this kind of behaviour. Did you lose weight. I am trying out this new diet. My butt is huge. How is the diet going. Oh, you should try the new diet I am on – its great! You eat nothing but dsdghjkjhgfgjkjhgfghj. Yeah, that’s when I usually tune out. Movies, TV Shows, magazines, and books alike have all documented the conversations that many of us have sat through which seem to be entirely focused on diet. Diet companies such as Lite and Eas, feature people who seem to be having a conversation with us – the viewer – or mother and daughter teams who have bonded over their Lite and Easy program. Jenny Craig uses celebrities to create a conversation with its audience in which you feel like you bond with the celebrity through a shared experience. Study after study has proven that women tend to bond over fat talk and diet pacts. If you lose weight, other women want to know how and why. Fat talk, and diet talk is normalised in our society. It’s more normal to hate the body you are in, than it is to express feelings of body satisfaction. It’s possibly more disturbing that Grazia is asserting that Kim would be dispensing diet advice to Beyonce – who just had a baby – at all. This adds to a culture which pressures women to drop the pounds after having a baby as quickly as possible – a favourite game played on the cover of our tabloid magazines.
Famous – The celebrity who detoxed for 365 days straight.
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.
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.
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 – The Bony, The Curvy, & The Freaky: Bethanny (Frankel) too stressed to eat; Gemma ‘I look amazing!‘; Jodie (Marsh) Obsessed with weights. OH, NW! You crazy kids!!!! Pretending that you are all concerned over these celebrities whilst blatantly shaming and policing them. Poor Bethanny is always under fire for her frame, and Jodie Marsh – well, how dare she have goals which include weight lifting! She should check with you, NW! I will be sure to send her a memo about that. I am sure she also LOVED the fact that you called her FREAKY! Way to go NW! Way to completely undermine the months of hard work and training that go into achieving a lifters body, not to mention the amount of fake tans they have to apply to become competition ready. I actually don’t know WHO Gemma is, but I am sure she really appreciates your backhanded compliments. She is sending flowers. They will arrive any day now. I am also certain she appreciated the tagline NW: Fuller than Gemma‘s Bikini! I’m not even going to touch Juicy! The surgery shocks they couldn’t hide. Special sealed section!
Best Cover – Girlfriend
Worst Cover NW – when will you learn??
Honourable Mention – Marie Claire.
What do you think? Did I get it Right? Did I get it wrong??