Recently, there has been a lot of attention paid to airbrushing in the past year. While for a long time not much thought was paid to the editing that was necessary to make magazine models look perfect, recently there has been much outrage about a process that usually makes women look thinner. From flareups over Demi Moore’s waist size to Kim Kardashian publicly releasing unretouched photos featuring her cellulite, there seemed to be a backlash against the ever-shrinking bodies featured on newsstands.
Indeed, when Glamour magazine featured photos of plus-sized model Lizzie Miller, there was nearly universal praise from female readers who felt incapable of living up to the weight standards set forth by the media. Now, after all of the hoopla about downsizing, former Cosmopolitan editor, Leah Hardy, admits that the magazine frequently did the opposite, purposely making underweight models look larger and healthier.
As many famous designers tend to only make their clothes to fit tiny, shapeless bodies, magazine editors feel under pressure to continue to select thin models so as not to lose these exclusive deals and be passed over by their competitors. The models, of course, also feel this pressure, as they believe they need to be small enough to fit into these clothes. This leads to many of these models showing up emaciated and unhealthy for photo shoots, as they have often been subsisting on diets of coffee and vodka, yet all parties feel they cannot cancel sessions, due to the availability of sought after photographers. The most egregious example of this “reverse retouching” is the placement of rail thin and sickly looking model Kamilla Wladyka on the cover of Healthy, a “natural health” magazine, having glowing skin and being significantly larger than she really is. Hardy expresses remorse for this and the unfair expectation it likely placed on their readers:
“Thanks to retouching, our readers – and those of Vogue, and Self, and Healthy magazine – never saw the horrible, hungry downside of skinny. That these underweight girls didn’t look glamorous in the flesh. Their skeletal bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots and dark circles under their eyes were magicked away by technology, leaving only the allure of coltish limbs and Bambi eyes.”
It is this quest to be like the models that has driven many young women (and increasingly young men) to eating disorders. With magazines and designers continuously pushing the Kate Moss cocaine-chic look and skinny models continuing to make millions, it is no surprise that readers feel compelled to go to extreme lengths.
Hardy may be onto something, however, as it appears that many people, especially men, tend to prefer women a bit curvy, so it might sense for magazines to feature more Lizzie Millers than Kamilla Wladykas.
Let’s hope so, anyway.
You Might Also Like ...