Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Models are People Too

by: Stephanie Horton

I think models are beautiful. But lately, I've been trying to figure out why that is. Are they beautiful because of their flawless make-up? their professionally styled hair? their body type? the fashion & couture? the artistic perspective of the photographer? What about these people intrigues me so much? Is it that they look so "put-together," which elicits some sort of assumption that they are accomplished? Is it the picture perfect scenery, even in the grittiest of ads? The mystery? Maybe it's my own desire to one day have "the fabulous life..."

I'm looking at this month's Self Magazine right now, and on the cover, I'm reading "105 new sexy-body secrets - A Flatter Tummy! A Faster Metabolism! Way More Energy!" and "Lose 4 Pounds in Just 2 weeks" and "3 Minute Makeovers for shiny hair, glowy skin, sparkley eyes, pretty nails and more!" (wait, there's MORE?!) and then at the very bottom of the front page, in a smaller font, I'm reading "Be your kind of beautiful." Well, I'm wondering what "my kind of beautiful" is... and I think it's having flat abs, feeling energetic, being 4 pounds lighter, having shiny hair, glowy skin, sparkley eyes, pretty nails, and oh, I'm sure there's more.

This picture of perfection is typically what we see in magazine models, and we're used to that. We rarely question it, and when others dare to discuss it, they are either seen as jovenistic (those who enjoy a skinny model here and there) or extreme feminist (those who throw mainstrain magazines into a white hot burning flame). But earlier this year, V Magazine caused a stir when it published a series of photographs of "full figured" models. The buzz around these photos is what you would expect: some against it, some for it, blah blah boring everyone has an opinion stuff. But wait! Why do we even have to have an opinion on it? So what if these ladies wear pants a few sizes up from the mainstream model? Most of us do! These women are models, they have been photographed for a magazine, and they look great! Kudos to anyone who dares to pose bare back or side or front for a widely read publication! How about we applaud the ambition and drive and self confidence behind these models (of all types) rather than agonize over their waist lines?

Other companies and magazines are jumping on the same bandwagon: Dove, Hungry Magazine, There has also been some uproar about the scarcity of couture available for larger women, which will hopefully be reversed w/these "plus size campaigns." It would be nice if we all had the option to buy over-priced, yet oh-so-beautiful and therefore worth it shoes, handbags, and clothing!
The fashion industry is what it is, whether it's using size 1 body or a size 14 body as its model. As we saw in last week's post on the 1939 Cosmo, the ideal body type changes with time. It's about style, not skinny. It's about wit, not waist. I'm not jovenisitc and I'm not an extremist. I simply think we can all be beautiful, no matter what people would say about us if we posed for a fashion magazine.

What's your opinion?


  1. I think it's got a lot to do with ATTITUDE. Short, tall, big chested, small chested, full figure or petite, the vital element that makes any of these models "beautiful" seems to be CONFIDENCE in their beauty. It shines through, it's tangable, and ultimately it makes a model vibrant and "attractive" to a viewer...

  2. I too think Models are beautiful, and i don't think it's fair to trash on models when blaming society/the fashion industry for our crushingly low self-esteem and poor body image. There is no doubt that all of these women and men are gorgeous, the waif thin ones as well as the plus sized women. They have drive ambition and this is their career. I do like that there is now a growing awareness in the fashion industry that people that wear a size bigger than 00 are people too and that fashion labels are shifting to meet their customers demands. It's not perfect, but hopefully it is moving in the right direction!

  3. Fashion, modeling and advertising/publishing in general aims to get you wishing you were whatever they're selling... ooo, if only I were thinnner, prettier, richer, more this, less that, I would feel as glamorous, important, idolized as they. It wouldn't work, and have worked for so long, if it didn't key into something deep within ourselves. But what is that? Our need to belong to society? Our desire to be at the top of the heap in terms of reproduction? Whatever it is, it can be damaging, or it can be inspiring. I'm so glad you (plural) are talking about it, and identifying the need for all of us to applaud each other for being proud of who we are, and no matter what we look like.

  4. One of my favorite magazines is SHAPE, mostly b/c I really enjoy exercise and am always looking for ways to change my routine. SHAPE seems to promote being "healthy" and "fit," however, almost every model in the magazine appears to be way more "toned" and "lean" than the average woman. Recently, Jenny McCarthy posed on the cover and joked about needing the airbrushing (this from someone who is in extremely good shape). She had to go on TV to clarify that there was minimal airbrushing that nothing about her actual physique was altered. I had previously read a reader letter in SHAPE critizing the magazine for an inherent contradiction - trying to promote health and healthy body image while airbrushing models. The magazine claims to not utilize alot of airbrushing on their cover models, but i doubt that anyone can really look that flawless. In addition, Jessica Simpson recently caused a stir for posing on a magazine cover "bare faced" (some stated that she was still wearing minimal make up like a little blush and mascara). Why should this be such a big deal? Everyday I see plenty of beautiful women walking down the street that are "bare faced" and not airbrushed. I suppose the fact that even "beautiful" women need some help is supposed to make them seem more average to us.