NOTE TO ... Glamour Magazine

March 26, 2009

I’ve read Glamour for over 25 years. Some of those years I had a subscription, and some found me paying big bucks for a grocery store copy. This week, I happened to pick up a copy at the Philadelphia Airport. I admit that I couldn’t resist finding out what your 700 Dos, Don'ts & Deals were. While Newsweek remains my favorite magazine, like many women, I not only want to be educated, I also want glamour. In fact, one of my ongoing fantasies is to write an article for Newsweek as I sit feeling and looking glamorous in my apple green office.

It just so happened that the issue I picked up was your latest celebrating Glamour’s 70 years on the stand. The issue was filled with pats on the back regarding your journalistic and artistic ground breaking feats, many of which brilliantly pushed women forward. For example, Glamour used the first black cover model in 1968 and feminist icon Gloria Steinem hailed as a contributing editor from 1963 to 1970. More recently, Marianne Pearl reported on women working to change the world in her award-winning column, Global Diary.

Congratulations!

Toward the end of the issue was a lengthy piece under your Health & Body category detailing your latest survey of 16,000 women telling their body confidence secrets. You were so sad and shocked to report that your readers, 75% of us, still think we’re too fat. And, darn it, we still don’t seem to grasp the overwhelming stats that men prefer real women to super skinny anorexic types. You were happy to report that the younger set are more comfortable with their bodies then my generation was 25 years ago. Your last big survey on this took place in 1984, the year I graduated from high school. Yes, I wanted to be skinny then, too.

There’s one big issue with the issue highlighted in the issue.

Several pages back, under the Glamour Fashion category, you include two fabulous fashion shoots, The New Happy Clothes and What to Wear this Weekend. The fantasy inspiring pages beautifully display skinny models in red, white and blue garb, and wholesomely sexy farm clothes. Also, under the Glamour Beauty category, you've given us The 10 Best Hair & Makeup Looks. And they're all so pretty! We're shown the looks that are timelessly beautiful modeled by women who look strikingly similar to those I gazed upon as a starving-myself-to-be-beautiful eighteen year old in 1984. Good Lord! I have less chance now than I did then. Thank goodness I had the sense to give up on starving myself years ago. What's a girl to do? Fantasies are supposed to make life fun--kick it up a notch not give you a deflating punch in the gut you're trying to get rid of.

If Glamour is so concerned and saddened that our attitudes haven’t change enough in the last 25 years, why do you continue to reserve your thinnest, youngest looking models for your arty fashions shoots, the one’s reeking of fantasy-feeding images? In this particular issue, you diligently inserted various articles throughout preaching to us “love your body just the way it is,” and praising Beyonce’ and the Hollywood set for pushing well-rounded choices of beauty icons and role models, yet you can’t seem to adjust your own super stylistic fashion shoots to match that heartfelt message of love for us and our imperfect bodies.

Why not put your money where your mouth is, use your power, and show some real ground-breaking balls in your own industry? Take the average size clothes sold in this country (or at least the healthy norm according to our healthcare professionals), find beautiful, photogenic women who can wear them, and take some arty shots of that. I triple-dog dare you to try it for three months. Wait! Are you telling me that your fashion designer buddies don’t make clothes in those sizes, or that you have industry pressure to display these clothes on bones so that they hang just right? Well, if you must show us these super smallish threads, perhaps you could include a disclaimer. It might say:

Caution: The following clothes are specifically created to fit young women between the ages of 13 and 15, those with eating disorders, and those genetically bone-thin (a small percentage of the population). Do not try this at home.

Then in juxtaposition, provide us with fantasy-pushing, glamorous shots of women just like us.

Aberration Nation Newsflash: As long as you keep feeding us this particular fantasy, changes aren’t gonna come.

We know that you’re a business, not a healthcare outfit. Our fantasies fuel sales. But if you truly care and have the guts to do some cutting edge fantasy adjusting, we’ll still buy the magazine. You may even pick up a new reader or two. On top of that, more of us might have time to read if we’re not so darn busy trying to be perfect.
___________________

Aberration Nation Readers, Did I get this right? Let me know what you think?

Comments

Celeste

Celeste said:

I am very much in favor of a paradigm shift as you mentioned. You are serving an important purpose, to shine a light on the behavior of major publications. If this is not done, then the line between real and fake will continue to be blurred and many innocent women will go on feeling they have failed to meet some impossible standard for their bodies. Thank you for having the guts to ask “why?”.

armedwithjello

armedwithjello said:

You absolutely did get this right!</></>A few years ago, when my best friend complained one time too many that she was fat, I stripped down to my underwear with her. We stood in front of the mirror, ourselves essentially mirror images of each other. Even our breast were lopsided in opposite directions!</></>I pointed out that we look pretty much the same. My friend’s response?</></>"Now I feel bad because you’re fat and sexy, and I’m just fat."</></>She has since met a wonderful man who has helped her realise her true beauty, and she now views herself like a 50s pin-up girl. She has accepted herself as sexy, and I hear a lot less of the word “fat” these days.

Celeste Hall

Celeste Hall said:

I think you address a very important issue with this article. The line between fantasy and reality often gets blurred, especially with publications of this sort. I love your idea and I hope the editors of Glamour will give it the serious consideration that it deserves. Good luck!

Anonymous

Anonymous said:

Hey! LOL! I’m that best friend Armedwithjello talked about! What a small world… I remember that day so vividly :) Anyway, I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head with this article. Nothing makes my stomach churn more than when a magazine that glamourizes super skinny in it’s photospreads then has the audacity to wonder why so many women think they’re fat. Glamour may be groundbreaking in many ways, but until they get their heads out of their asses, I’ll never buy it. Now… if they started using real women in their photoshoots, I would definately re-consider.

Penelope Przekop

Penelope Przekop said:

Read Glamour Magazine’s response to NOTE TO … Glamour Magazine (excerpted from email to me on 30 Mar 09. In addition to this response from their reader services department, the blog content has been forwarded to top editors, including Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive. </></>Does their response satisfy you? I think these actions are all great, but that they could do more if they truly want to stand out as cutting edge industry leaders and use their power to support women, particularly in the area of body image. I think it’s time to get out-of-the-box creative so that we can have a paradigm shift. What do you think?</></>_____________</></>We both appreciate and share your concern about the importance of women being shown in a positive, empowering way by the media. Glamour’s editorial goal is to provide our readers with information on issues that matter to them, ranging from health and politics to fashion, beauty, and relationships. In our articles we do try to emphasize the importance of fostering a positive self-image, and we offer advice to women of all sizes, shapes, and complexions. </></>Glamour has won numerous awards for its medical and news coverage, and has been in the forefront of the magazine industry in the promotion of women’s rights. Our health and nutrition coverage reflects our concern for women’s overall good health—rather than featuring fad diets or dangerous, quick-fix exercises, Glamour encourages sensible eating and exercise habits both in our health articles and in our “Body by Glamour” program. </></>Editorially, Glamour has always tried not only to emphasize women’s accomplishments, but also to feature realistic models. We show models who are healthy and fit, not overly thin or emaciated-looking, and we have made it a point to run more features that include a range of body types. Our May swimsuit issue consistently showcases bathing suit options for women of all shapes and sizes, as does our monthly “Dress Your Body” section. Our December 2008 issue featured a fashion spread and interview with British singer Adele, titled “I Don’t Care About Being a Size 2,” and our May 2009 issue features a swimsuit spread with plus size model Crystal Renn. We hope that such articles will encourage readers to develop realistic views of their bodies. </></>With all of our content, Glamour strives to fairly represent and support all our readers, and we will continue toward this goal.

Anonymous

Anonymous said:

Me thinks they protest too much.

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