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The Women on Page 198: Glamour Continues Dialogue on Body Image

The Women on Page 198: Glamour Continues Dialogue on Body Image

Do you remember the woman on page 194?

Her bare-it-all image in Glamour magazine’s September issue stirred quite the buzz early this fall when it hit newstands. With thousands of comments and over a million page views on the picture of “plus-size” model Lizzie Miller struck a cord with women across America. 

Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive was inundated with positive feedback on the picture and promised readers that Glamour was listening and “committed to celebrating all kinds of beauty.” I was skeptical that Leive would hold true to her promise, but I was pleasantly surprised when I turned to page 198 of this month’s issue and found not one but seven beautiful “plus-size” models starring back at me in a two-page spread – all au naturale.

The models – including now infamous Miller – have been assembled by Glamour to “continue the extraordinary dialogue on body image” that began with Miller’s picture just a few months ago. In the article Glamour reaffirms its commitment to showcasing a wide range of body types – even despite the challenges presented by the fashion industry.

Did you know that samples of designer clothing are almost always cut to a size zero to four? Without sample size clothing in larger sizes, finding current fashionable clothing for “plus-size” models to wear is a difficult challenge. Fashion editors can’t just buy “plus-size” models clothes from stores because those designs would be off the racks and impossible to purchase by the time magazines hit newsstands.

Fed up with the limiting sizes of sample clothes, British Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman wrote an angry letter to scores of top designers in England and America. In the letter she accuses designers of supplying magazine’s with “minuscule” garments for photo shoots thus making them hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips.” Shulman continued, “We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don’t comfortably fit even the established star models.” Having such a powerhouse of the fashion world pen such a letter is an important (and hopeful) step, but only time will tell the impact.

What I found refreshing in Glamour’s article was the recognition that “plus-size models aren’t all that ‘plus.’” According to Glamour senior bookings editor, Jennifer Koehler, the sample-size problem means that any model larger than a size four will have trouble getting work because she won’t fit in the clothes and a woman over a size 6 could be moved to the plus-size division. Jennie Runk, one of the “plus-size” models pictured in the article’s two-page spread, even admits to wearing padding to fit the “plus-size” clothing she is given to model because she is too small.

The absence of sample clothing in larger sizes is prohibitive to magazines who want to book “plus-size” models and creates a high demand for thin models who fit the designs. In their continued support of portraying a wider range of body types, Glamour promises to support any designer who manufactures clothing that can be used on full-bodied models. The magazine also promises to not only give “plus-size” models work but the “same great work straight-size models get, partnering with top photographers, stylists, and makeup artists.”

I was also pleased to see that this month Glamour pictured Scarlett Johansson – a celebrity who has advocated for a healthy body image frequently in the past – on the cover. Most recent she authored a blog on the Huffington Post in response to rumors that she crash dieted to lose 14lbs while training for an upcoming film. “I’m frustrated with the irresponsibility of tabloid media who sell the public ideas about what we should look like and how we should get there,” Johansson said. “The press should be held accountable for the false ideals they sell to their readers regarding body image — that’s the real weight of the issue.”

So, what do you think? Is Glamour living up to its promises of celebrating “all kinds of beauty?” Are you encouraged by this month’s issue? If so, what will it take to get other magazine’s to follow suit?  If not, what can Glamour and other women’s magazine’s do to portray a wider range of beauty? 

It’s important that we continue this discussion – loudly and passionately – so that real changes are made to escape the thin-beauty ideal we have all become so accustomed to.

What I’d like to see is the picture on page 198 on the cover and the women sporting today’s latest fashion trends in clothes that fit and celebrate their bodies.

More from Glamour:

On the C.L.: Are you Ready to Start a Body Image Revolution? Oh, Wait – You Already Did!

Supermodels Who Aren’t Superthin: Meet the Women Who Proudly Bared it All

Body-Confidence Secrets From Plus-Size Model Crystal Renn

More from Care2:

End The Fat Talk: Friends Don’t Let Friends Talk Fat

Stylist Quits After Designer Decides to Showcase “Plus-Size” Models

Life Doesn’t Have to Wait Until You Are Skinny: Plus-Size Model Crystal Renn Reveals All in New Book

The Woman on Page 194: Plus-Size Model Bares All For Glamour

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5:12PM PDT on Apr 20, 2014

I'm sure it's been said by somebody else here, but then again, perhaps it cannot be stated too much: We need to be celebrating all human life - in fact, all life - without regard (in human terms) to body type, never mind color, etc. etc. and only when we PUBLICLY celebrate that will the body image issue be laid to rest.

There are still young women who are making themselves sick and even killing themselves because they cannot achieve the idealized female body.

All people need to love their physical selves for what they are - obviously with an eye on good health and proper nutrition and with an understanding that some people are going to always be prettier, cuter, more beautiful than others; some will be slimmer, some more voluptuous, and what we sometimes forget is that there are people out there who find all the various types attractive to their taste specifically. I hope I don't embarrass myself by saying that I personally do like women who are slimmer - for my own taste - they are more likely to be the women I am attracted to, whether the result of programming or not (probably not, I don’t personally prefer large breasts for example) BUT I have male friends who like larger women with just as much exclusivity as some of us others,. I have known many men whose taste leans to (whose preferences are for) large women, even very large women ... men who would prefer that that their partners NOT lose any weight. SO the actual tastes of the populace more accurately

1:52PM PDT on Apr 2, 2014

Good lord...if you think the women in that photo are big fat hideous monsters you are the one with the problem. I find cadaverous people look like the walking dead and they are also dead in the eyes. When the time comes that we switch from living to surviving these zero size people will be the first to fall.

7:29AM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

It´s nice to see, that Glamour showing 'real' women. They are beautiful

6:25PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

They are beautiful.

12:05PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

Agreed, Rosa S when you say that Past Member is being contradictory. Her solution for all things appears to be 'go vegan,' even though being vegan does not guarantee that one will be thin anymore than being vegetarian does. A well-balanced diet and good exercise good a long way to help maintain a healthy weight which many omnivores, vegetarians and vegans are quite capable of.

It is true that women are far more pressured than men are to be slim but it is also true that people have different circumstances and even genetics. Following a well-balanced diet and avoiding as much highly processed foods as is possible certainly helps.

8:16AM PST on Mar 6, 2014


12:51AM PST on Feb 12, 2014

Thanks for sharing!

8:01AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

I find this low class

8:06AM PST on Jan 26, 2014

I think Mark L. makes a good point--these are not especially large women, just not skinny. why not show some really big women?

6:07PM PST on Jan 17, 2014

I find Miss R's comment contradictory and confused. On the one hand she points out the sexist nature of female body image which, as far as I'm concerned, is made so much worse by the constant pressure of having to be slim or 'fit' as she calls it. On the other hand she tells us to go vegan so we never have to "worry" about being over-weight again. Who's worried??? Human beings come in all shapes and sizes and, over-eating and obesity aside, some, by nature, carry more fat than others and are just as fit and healthy as their skinny counterparts. Let's accept that please.

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