My name is Stephanie, and I am a second-year undergrad at Carleton University. I’m taking a “Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management,” which is a mouthful to explain at cocktail parties. I'm minoring in Development Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. But more important than the academic stuff is my real passion, which is certainly not writing papers. I’ve been volunteering for environmental and social justice charities, including Amnesty International, for about 5 years now. And one of my other passions is Athena Magazine, which combines four of my favourite things: feminism, writing, activism, and letting other young women know that they are kick-ass contributors to Planet Earth.
“Feel-Good Fridays” are all about celebrating the accomplishments of our fellow activists, appreciating the good things in life, and rejoicing when some progress is made by the confusing machinery of our society. Sometimes the successes are small, but they’re always worth celebrating. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction.
Today’s Feel-Good Friday instalment is most definitely a baby step by women’s mag industry. As we all know, photo-shopped, airbrushed, nip-and-tucked photos are the norm. And sometimes the magazine industry gets some grief about it, but for the most part they continue to do this. The flood of images is simply overwhelming.
But recently, Glamour magazine featured a ground breaking photo of “plus-size” model Lizzie Miller. Now, this photo really shouldn’t be considered groundbreaking—it should be perfectly normal, and it is for billions of women around the globe. But since all models, “plus size” or otherwise, are airbrushed within an inch of their lives, I will take my body-image success stories where I can get them.
For once, we can see reflected in a magazine photograph a woman with recognizable and beautiful shape. The reality is that she is still young, white, blonde, and not at all representative of most of the female population of this earth. But she has a little bit of stomach showing, and that is something I have never seen before in a magazine. I mean, never. It speaks volumes about the images of women in our world when I say that this photo shocked me. My reaction was “WHAT?” Quickly followed by: “WOW. Awesome.”
Magazine readers from all around the world responded enthusiastically to the photo of Miller, flooding Glamour with compliments and encouragement. Glamour’s Editor in Chief, along with the model herself, made an appearance on the talk show circuit and announced that she planned to include more diverse images in the future in Glamour magazine. Hopefully her promise will hold and we will see more of this positive work from other popular women’s magazines.
What’s your take on this now-famous photo? A positive step? Or simply a way for the mag industry to stave off criticism for another month or so?
peace and positivity,