Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gotta love the Germans, who appreciate real women — curves and all. But then, I would expect nothing less from the country that brought us wurst, beer, strudel, kuchen, dumplings and dark bread.

The German media has fired an aggressive volley in the charge against shapeless, anorexic-looking women. Germany's most prominent women's magazine, Brigitte, just announced it is BANNING professional models from its pages. So the "models" featured in the mag from now on — those in beauty, fashion, fitness pieces — will be a mix of prominent women and regular readers. They will be paid the same scale as the models.

The Associated Press quoted mag editor Andreas Lebert as saying readers are tired of seeing protruding bones on models, all who weigh much less than you and me.

It's about time.

One of my guilty pleasures in Project Runway, the Lifetime show that pits up-and-coming designers against each other. All are hoping to launch their careers. It's terrific — except when the way-too-skinny models are being fitted. Protruding bones? Painfully displayed everywhere. No wonder most women — and lots of men — have body issues.

Compared to Brigitte, Glamour magazine's November issue, which will feature plus-sized models in the buff, looks trivial. There are three things I find offensive about the Glamour spread. First, these women are models, and although plus-sized, they are not the plus-sizes you see walking down the street. Second, they are naked. I have nothing against nudity. I just find it strange that to celebrate a few rolls of fat, Glamour feels these women must bare all. And third? This in only one titillating spread that shows no commitment. But it is a step.

A giant step in Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" — www.dove.us — which internationally targets women and girls with messages about self-empowerment, self-esteem, and body typecast issues. When Dove started the campaign in 2004, it caught the attention of everyone because of its bold ads starring real women. Dove backs its campaign up with some horrid facts:
  • Only 2% of women in the world describe themselves as beautiful.
  • 81% of women in the United States strongly agree that "the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can't ever achieve."
No wonder American shrinks stay in business.

Wouldn't it be great if some American magazine would follow Brigitte's lead? Wouldn't you buy a magazine showing models whose skin covered their bones?

Perhaps it's time to pay attention to a poll on www.stylist.com asking: "What do you think of plus-sized models appearing in glossy fashion magazines? When I posted today, there were 184,193 votes:
  • 75% voted: "Love! It's about time"
  • 21% voted: "A mix of body shapes is ideal."
  • Only 4% voted: "I'd rather look at skinny models."
Could it be that skinny really is out? We can only hope advertising and the media catch on — and fast.

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