Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 10/3/2009

Glamour Keeps the Body Love Coming

Ellens cool.

Ellen's super cool

So, my Mom is kind of Ellen DeGeneres’s biggest fan, and more often than not at 4:00 pm the sound of the Ellen DeGeneres Show’s theme song resounds throughout our house. This past Thursday, as part of one of my more recent campaigns of procrastination against a Lit paper, I wandered over to watch with my Mom.

As much as I also love Ellen, and love the show, her guests are usually celebrities who really irk me for their lack of a) talent and b) interesting things to say. But today, replacing such guests, were a group of beautiful women, who I didn’t immediately recognize.

Oh, hey, they’re not famous, I thought. Then, oh, hey, they’re not suffering from an eating disorder they like to shrug and call “just diet and exercise.” And finally, as I processed the segment, OH, HEY, GLAMOUR DID IT AGAIN!

See for yourself:

Cut off at size 6 = plus sized? JESUSSSSS WTF??
Also: “I think we should take it off and have no labels…you’re just your size.” YES!

I’m sure a lot of you remember “The Woman on Page 194″ who Jessi B blogged about back in August. That was Lizzi Miller, a plus size model (at size 12-14) who declares: “I’ve been that girl, flipping through magazines trying to find just one person who looked a little bit like me. And when I didn’t find it I would start to think there’s something wrong with the way that I looked. When J. Lo and Beyoncé came out and were making curves sexy, I started to accept myself more. It’s funny, but just seeing them look and feel sexy enabled me to do the same.”

Lizzie Miller

Which I think is just so true. I mean, the picture Glamour published of Lizzi Miller was 3 x 3 inches. It was a single page in the middle of a 200+ page magazine, where all the other models still looked like a strong gust of wind would knock them over. She is still an undeniably beautiful woman by our society’s standards, despite her size (which is actually average).

But even so, just that one picture really does make a huge difference. And the reported inundation of fan mail over this one, tiny picture proves it. LISTEN UP MAGS: THIS ISN’T JUST THE CUHRAZY FEMINAZIS TALKING. WE ALL WANT TO SEE NORMAL, BEAUTIFUL BODIES THAT DON’T MAKE US FEEL LIKE COMPLETE SHIT IN COMPARISON.

I know as a teenager, we buy into this shit. We really, really do. I know (otherwise) brilliant girls who look at pictures in magazines and think that that is what they’re supposed to look like. I know girls who absolutely study magazines just so they can learn about what they’re supposed to look like. It’s scary, it perpetuates the freakishly low self-esteem going around in my generation (wanna talk about the rise in girl on girl cattiness? maybe it’s because we all feel like crap about ourselves all the time…) It’s REAL and I think magazines are hugely responsible.

The Picture

The Picture

So maybe, Glamour is rolling out this new picture (yes, this one picture, even though there are more women, pales in comparison to the other hundred + pages of unhealthy images) because they know it’ll sell right now, and not because they want to show the world that “plus-size” models could conceivably one day be just regular models. Maybe they are still overwhelmingly promoting those models who still have starved and photoshopped bodies. But there is still this picture. And they do seem proud of it, too. And we need to keep showing them that we’re also proud of this, so that they keep publishing these pictures. The magazine is out October 6th – I know I’ll be buying a copy.

Enough with the pessimism about how far we have to go, and how small a step this is. This rocks.

Also– up at Glamour’s website they have a slide show of the models in this picture. Interestingly enough, many of them were “normal” models who couldn’t deal with the standards of the industry, and embraced their bodies to become “plus-sized” models.

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  • Cassie @ at 3:17 pm, October 3rd, 2009

    I don’t want to be a debbie downer, but seriously? We should be proud of that?
    Yes, baby-steps are important, but they kind of took a step back.
    Honestly, do those women look like any of us? Yes, they’re not rail-thin, but they’re still deemed “acceptable” for the mainstream. In the comparison to the first one, the second picture looks as if the women are still being objectified. And of course they had to put just one person of color there, because more would be too much. SO GROUNDBREAKING.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t get around it. But I do like the first one; she actually seems happy and comfortable.

  • Amy CT @ at 4:48 pm, October 3rd, 2009

    Wow.

    That’s so amazing to see!

    I’m a seventeen-year-old fashion journalist with a renowned online magazine, and guess how we made our name? Yeah – fighting the Size Zero niche. We make sure that all the models we put on cover stand for something – be that the anti-size-zero cause, or because they want to be the first Victoria’s Secret model with tattoos – and all of the models we actually shoot with are ‘average size’ (I don’t know the UK/US size conversion).

    The thing that makes me smile most, though, is knowing that most of the online magazines like ours out there are all fighting the same battle – and we’re the future of the fashion industry.

    One day, things might change. I’d like to be there to see it when they do.

    (There was a TV show made about my editor and her anti-size-zero campaign. You can see it at http://battlefront.co.uk/campaign/who-wants-to-be-a-size-zero-anyway/?video=21714 – please watch & support!)

  • ellecarter @ at 5:09 pm, October 3rd, 2009

    I was actually kinda bothered by the things Ellen DeGeneres was saying about size zero models. In fact I found it offensive. Most models in the industry are teenagers. And at sixteen it is really normal for a girl to be a size zero and healthy. I say that because at 5’7 i am a size zero and have never had any sort of eating disorder or malnutrition problem.When you are young you naturally have a faster metabolism so for young models it is “normal”.The comments Ellen made about a size zero girls were ignorant and probably hurt some, naturally skinny, young girls feelings.

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 5:25 pm, October 3rd, 2009

    Lizzy is overweight, her legs are thicker than mine and I have been running everyday since I was 16, 4 years, she also has a noticeable gut.

    While size “0″ is not normal, neither is size 14.

    It’s especially important for teenage girs,that they be shown what *healthy* girls look like. There is absolutely no reason for a young or mid teen too be obese given the amount of calories it takes to grow.

    I saw a bunch of mid-teen size 12 girls at the store earlier today, if they are size 12 at 15, how big are they going to be at 25? 35?

    I understand the self esteem thing, but upping acceptable “sizes” makes as much sense as lowering the bar on achievement tests so that more kids get better grades. Cheaters never win as ultimately they are robbing themselves.

    PS @Amy CT – Balmain has a couple models who are tattooed *and* pierced …unfortunately I can’t afford 20k for one of Christophe Decarnin’s shiny mini dresses to support the brand, which is way better than VS.

  • Grace @ at 5:50 pm, October 3rd, 2009

    As much as I support showing more diverse body types in magazines, it feels like Glamour wants the equivalent of a feminist cookie, a reward for meeting basic standards. It’s a good start, but if it continues to be only one picture per issue, it won’t accomplish anything.

  • Zoe @ at 7:23 pm, October 3rd, 2009

    I love that picture of Lizzie Miller. My stomach hangs out like that and I’m a size 11-ish. It’s amazing how seeing pictures of girls similar to yourself is just such a relief. I hope they continue on with this. The magazine world needs a good revision.

  • yoga ninja mama @ at 8:12 pm, October 3rd, 2009

    @Alex Catgirl: i can’t believe what i’m reading. “lizzie is overweight”? *snicker and eye roll*. wow.

  • RebJ @ at 10:01 am, October 4th, 2009

    I’m not all that impressed with Glamour. Their just saying: its ok to be a size 6, as long as you’re super tall, have perfect (as in the European ideal) hair, and an exactly proportioned body. (By the way, did you notice they included ONE african american woman, and no other minority?)

    I think the larger problem is that the media/society puts WAY to much emphasis on women’s appearances. Do we all have to be *beautiful*? Most people have know problem retaining their self-esteem and admitting that they suck at math, they can’t cook, or have some other shortcoming–why can’t it be that way with beauty?

    I think the problem is not the pictures in the magazines, its the widespread existence and distribution of the magazines themselves. They tell us that our culture so obsessed with appearances, artificiality, and fleeting impressions that we have little time for other things. Hell, we can’t even hear about a someone like Michelle Obama in the news without lengthy analysis of her hairstyle, her ‘toned’ arms, her dress. It sickens me. Why don’t we every talk about Bill Clinton’s shoes or Stephen Hawking’s sense of style? Oh right–because their self-presentation is pale in light of their many important accomplishments. But if you’re a woman, that rule doesn’t apply. All woman have to be *perfect* in every single way.

    So, I guess its nice to see a different body type gracing the cover of Glamour. But its NOT a big deal. I hate hearing stories about the woman who cried after seeing *the woman on page 194* because she thought her belly was abnormal for the past 13 years. It makes me sad that as incredible and accomplished that woman may be, she defined her worth by the diameter of her waist for all those years. Glamour doesn’t deserve a “cookie” for that.

    —-
    @Alex Catgirl: are you serious? What’s *healthy* for one girl is totally unhealthy for another girl. And I’m a size zero–Thanks for telling me I’m not normal.

  • Lisa @ at 12:47 pm, October 4th, 2009

    I can appreciate the baby steps, but theres bigger women out there. I agree that what’s healthy for one girl may be totally unhealthy for a another.
    Where’s the round women? I see a bunch of slightly-heavier-than-industry-standard, hourglass/pear shaped women. I would love to see a woman who was round in the middle with thinner arms and legs. Those women exist and should be acknowledged too. Or maybe someone who is the same sort of shape as Beth Ditto, she’s much larger than any of those women.
    And I agree, whats with the token black woman? That doesn’t seem very inclusive to me.

    Glamour has done what any other major media company would do to sell their product. They see what people want and capitalize on it. I don’t think Glamour shouldn’t be applauded for doing their job. Which is to sell magazines, not make women feel nice about themselves.

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 12:52 pm, October 4th, 2009

    It’s all about averages RebJ, you may be a size 0, but I bet you are 5′ or less. Clothing size is not an exact science. A 4’11 Size 0 is not identical to what the Size 0s the 5’11 runway models wear.

    Scaled for height, A Size 0 made for people who are 4’10-5’0 women is more like a size US2.

  • RebJ @ at 1:43 pm, October 4th, 2009

    @Alex Catgirl

    I’m quite a bit taller than 5 foot. I have friends who are shorter than me and more athletic than me and still won’t fit into my jeans. I have friends who are health nuts and size 14 and have [gasp!] a “noticable gut”. I have friends who fit into size 0 pants but not into size 0 tops. The point–bodies are different. There’s no equation for a “healthy” body. Even supposedly scientific measures like BMI aren’t going to give you a “magic number” weight according to your height.

  • Toongrrl(formerly known as Jess) @ at 2:51 pm, October 4th, 2009

    Girls! Girls! Girls! This is monumentus and I aim to go and buy that issue of “Glamour”!
    @JulieZ
    “no talent”, ha ha!!! I’ve remembered when Hilary Duff appeared on Ellen a seven years ago, I must admit that I’ve liked her back then (*embarrassed*)

  • Amy CT @ at 3:17 pm, October 4th, 2009

    @Toongrrl Seven years ago it was probably acceptable to like Hillary Duff! ;)

  • ACW @ at 8:22 am, October 6th, 2009

    I think the major point here is that Glamour is pushing for the fashion industry to recognize that a size 8 or 10 is not ‘plus’ and are, in fact, healthy sizes.
    At age 17, at 5’8″, I starved myself to break through a size 10. Even though I was consuming, on average, about 700 calories per day and stairclimbing an hour five days a week, the smallest I managed was a size 9… and I ruined my metabolism and health in the process. Someone asked what happens to size-12 fifteen-year-olds? They struggle to fit the standard, hurt themselves in the process, and end up disenchanted size-16 thirty-two year olds.
    Emphasis should be placed on *health*, and I think Ellen stressed that in this segment.
    Now, to address the POC issue… there is an aspect to this that generally remains unspoken. Society largely agrees that “it’s okay” for women of color to have curves and be attractive. Quote: “When J. Lo and Beyoncé came out and were making curves sexy…” The idea persists that Anglo women have to be rail-thin to be healthy and sexy, which may be why Glamour chose to include more Anglo women for this issue. Just my $0.02…

  • Natasha @ at 10:57 pm, October 10th, 2009

    this is amazing! those models r beautiful and arent size 0! i was always really thin which is pretty odd cuz i eat a lot im just nataurally am that way.and i started worrying when i gained weight and turned normal size (or a few pounds close 2 normal size)cuz 4 me it wasnt and started dieting now i know better. i was thinner then every1 at school! wow this rox!i like glamour. :) and ellen.

  • Glamour Model Bella Valentine @ at 3:25 am, October 11th, 2009

    My internet connection is too slow so I wasn’t able to view the video but I still have a couple of things to say on the subject.

    1. The target market for Glamour magazine are young moms and women in general. The editors know that they are not gonna buy more copies if they keep showing women that look better than them in a bikini. The editors want to make you feel good about yourself because that’s what’s gonna make you spend more money.

    2. The style of photography displayed in Glamour magazine has NOTHING to do with glamour photography.

    3. Even though I agree with you that the published image of Lizzi Miller had a strong concept behind it and made a strong statement, everyone in the modeling industry agrees that:
    A. The photograph itself has very poor lighting, composition and pose.
    B. The magazine did it because they knew their readers would go crazy over it and they would sell more copies.

    4. If REAL glamour magazines (Maxim, FHM, etc) would start hiring plus sized models, men would quit buying their copies, they would lose advertisers, and they would go out of business very quickly.

    5. Not sure what kind of people you hang out with, but I have never in my life come across a woman/girl/friend, that looked at magazines to decide what she should wear, look like, etc. I have certainly never done it.

    6. Most importantly: lots of women keep calling models “unhealthy” just because they are jealous of their bodies. Has it ever crossed your mind that some people are genetically thinner than others? Or that maybe they have a healthier lifestyle than yours? Just because someone is thin, toned, and looks great in a bikini, it does not mean that they are UNHEALTHY!
    Everyone in my family is super skinny and they have not worked out one day in their life. And they eat a lot: I’m from Italy so in my home every meal is a three course meal (at least). I know for a fact that both me and all of the other female models that I know have a much healthier lifestyle than any non-model women. That and genes may be what makes the difference. Most non-models don’t work out on a regular basis (or if they do, they do it wrong so that it doesn’t count), and they don’t eat healthy.

    7. The modeling industry will never ever shift the standard model’s measurements to the ones of a plus model for several reasons. It’s a job requirement so you people need to get over it. You would never expect some average Joe that has never gone to medical school to perform heart surgery, so why are you expecting someone that does not have model measurements to be a model???

    I’d like to add that I strongly believe that women can be beautiful in all shapes and sizes, but those same women need to stop confusing modeling with reality! Modeling IS NOT reality, it’s a job!

    XOXO
    Bella
    - Your Favorite Glamour Model -

    PS: If anyone has questions on workout/diet and how to have a healthier lifestyle feel free to ask and I’ll be happy to share my tips.

  • Jamie @ at 11:52 pm, October 12th, 2009

    “And I’m a size zero–Thanks for telling me I’m not normal.”

    Well, how do you think the so called “plus size” women have been feeling all of these years? When you open a magazine and immediately are barraged with rail thin women with no hips or boobs, you’re going to start thinking you aren’t normal. Welcome to what myself and others have been experiencing for YEARS now! :)

  • Mara @ at 11:17 pm, October 13th, 2009

    It’s great to have a variety of sizes in magazines. We really need more of that, of women who don’t all look the same. There’s nothing wrong with being a size 0 or a size 16. I know healthy people all along that spectrum. Healthy, beautiful women. Obviously, it’s not good to be a given weight if you’re not physically *supposed* to be that weight… It’s unhealthy for a woman who should be a size 16 to starve to fit into a size 10, just as it’s unhealthy for a woman who’s naturally a size 2 to eat unhealthily and become a size 10. There is no one right size for everyone. Neither “skinny” nor “plus-size” women should be marginalized for what they look like.

  • Elvin Broccolo @ at 3:10 pm, February 5th, 2010

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  • AMANDA @ at 10:16 am, February 26th, 2010

    Some people are saying Lizzy is overweight. She is not. Look at her. Just because you’ve been running and your legs are thinner does not mean anything. I run a lot as well and my legs are thinner, because I am burning fat as well as building muscle. Lizzy looks perfectly healthy. I think the real message here is that all (healthy) sizes can be beautiful, and all body types as well. Of course, some women are natuarally size zero, some doing absolutely nothing but eating junk. I have several friends like that, and of course it makes me jealous sometimes because I have to run, do abs, and eat organically to just stay the way I am. But I just have to accept that this is how my body reacts to food and exercise. Women like Scarlet Johansson and Anne Hathaway really make me happy, because that’s what my body is, and I know I’m no Megan Fox or Gisele, but I also know that Christina Hendricks is TO DIE for, and the old Marilyn Monroe figure is getting more attention again. Kristie Alley and Queen Latifah are both absolutely statuesque and powerful women, and Drew Barrymore is apple shaped and stunning, a type of figure you don’t see often enough.
    I’m happy such a big deal was made out of this, because it means that it actually is a problem and that people are concerned enough to care.

  • Dia @ at 4:21 pm, April 7th, 2010

    I have that magazine,even though Glamour is portraying the picture and article as if they had it first. I saw it on another site before I saw that Glamour had a piece on it. Then I was like ‘hey,I’ve seen this before’, and I think everyone’s noticed the black token lady in the back.

  • Jason Tayo @ at 11:47 pm, June 24th, 2010

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