First let me start off by saying that I am going to word this post very carefully. I can probably guess that the majority who read this article will probably either hate me after I write it, or say something along the lines of me “not knowing what it feels like”. I’m going to try to write this as objectively as possible, I do have an opinion and I am going to take the time to express it. I’m fairly sure that no matter how well I craft this, people will hear only what they want to hear. Read this with an open mind. If you wrap your head around the big picture I’m about to get into, you may not hate me so much. [PS- since I know my friends are reading this, you don’t apply. I love your teasing because I love you. This is directed towards the various comments from this article] Personally, I don’t really care who judges me from what I am writing here- my friends have all heard me say how irritating it is when other people mention something about my weight. I am completely loving of my body- I LIKE being tiny- but it’s practically beating a dead horse when I meet new people and they make mention of “OHH! you’re so cute and TINY! Let’s go out to dinner- you need it!”. REALLY? cause I can’t feed myself? I wasn’t aware that my fully stocked kitchen and pantry was going to waste and not being eaten by me. Last I knew, I was eating breakfast lunch and dinner. So sorry if you feel the need to feed me to try and make me gain weight. It’s a lost cause.
So before we get into my highly opinionated rant.. let me just start by saying- not all skinny people are healthy, and not all overweight people are unhealthy. Vice versa. I am ALSO aware that there are certain extreme conditions that prevent people from losing weight. This is not directed towards them- any kind of medical issue is nothing to poke fun at. I am aiming this towards people who have nothing standing in the way of their health. So let it begin…
You can find the article on here, from glamour.com
This image above has stirred up a lot of controversy lately, and rightfully so. Lizzie Miller is an extremely beautiful “plus size” model that has graced the inside of Glamour’s September issue. She literally oozes confidence in this photograph, even though she was a little uncomfortable putting herself out there for everyone to see. Photographs like this empower women to have confidence and feel amazing in their natural skin. BUT…
With every up, there is a down.
After seeing this published, I’m now reading articles everywhere about people saying “It’s great to see a REAL woman in this magazine!” as well as people stating that reality TV shows are being based on “normal” sized woman now FINALLY, stating that they are sick of the “skinny reality b*tches.” So what is being implied here? Thin people are not normal? I personally find that slightly offensive; the idea that a naturally thin female is not a real woman. It gets a little old hearing everybody singing hallelujah for more “real women” being featured in magazines; are we really spending time applauding people for being comfortable in their own skin but not being aware of health risks? I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware that being an extremely small size made me “unnatural”.
I was happy to start seeing people jump in and comment, as some hit home to me. (I relate to it very much and I think it’s very true)
“I really dislike the implication that thin women are not real. I’m sorry that people don’t want to hear it, but the average American woman is seriously overweight and in denial about it. I don’t think that bringing us images of women with gross stomachs helps bring anyone back to reality.”
“FitSugar posted a wonderful book a while back that entirely changed my thinking on this subject, “The End of Overeating.” It made me realize that many people with weight problems are simply victims of a food industry that makes a profit by getting you hooked on malnutritions, addictive food. Enabling bad behavior does not help a drug addict.”
“I just don’t understand why so many women choose to be overweight and passive about it, emailing each other pictures of a model like this to justify their exercise habits. It’s just not something I can understand.”
Putting a “real” woman in a magazine is like saying, “Hey- we should never strive to be better than who we are, because our whole society views have shifted, and women with stomachs and higher BMI as the norm now. Let’s rejoice and sing our praises! We no longer have to worry about being healthy because THIS girl is in a MAGAZINE, instead of the ones who get paid to be in the industry!” The healthy BMI range has changed, it’s now higher. That means people like me with a low body mass index at the bottom of the average are now considered “waif thin” and “stick thin”.
I like the comment that this girl left (along with many others that quickly agreed about thin people being chastised for having bodies that weren’t overweight) is because people in general are ignorant about any topic that is genuinely a concern.
“When I was super skinny (and fit), I was put down by so many other women because I didn’t have barely any curves. It was always women who said the nastiest comments to me (implying I was anorexic and OCD). I think if they put me down, they felt better about themselves since I embodied “the skinny magazine” image. Often, the same people who put me down for being too thin, would turn around and make fun of people who were bigger than them.”
“I COMPLETELY disagree with all the hype about plus size models in a very popular magazine being a great direction for them to take now and for the future. Lets be honest, we buy magazines to see those perfect bodies and air brushed faces. Would men and women purchase adult magazine ( maxim, playgirl) if all the people in them were AVERAGE looking? I don’t want make up tips and fashion suggestions from people who look just like me. There is nothing wrong with putting “perfect” looking bodies on a pedestal and applauding those who work out 7 days a week. Yes, the truth of the fact is, most of us don’t have the time to do it, but for those who do KUDOS.”
THEN we get into the nasty comments where people who are overweight take offense at a person of normal (read: thin size) replying to the article. You can really see the ignorance and judgment of people who are pleased that this photo was placed in glamour. One person even said that it seems the thinner people that were commenting have lower self esteem than the heavier people. Ummm no… that is not true. The reason people on the comments are so defensive is because the heavier people had to make some kind of derogatory exaggeration towards skinny girls. Here’s a few.
“I am slightly offended that the editor-in-chief writes “a “plus-size” one by modeling industry standards, though hello, at size 12 she’s actually “normal size”…but I digress.” Hello! If YOU realize that “normal size” looks like this beautiful model, then why do you persist in using abnormally thin models in your magazine? As editor-in-chief, you are in large part responsible for allowing photo spread after photo spread of airbrushed, emaciated, extremely young women onto nearly every page.——-”
“The market is so saturated with distant skinny topmodels that you just don’t feel like buying a beauty magazine anymore. If you add in the crisis depressive/fearful moods you’ll realize that people really had enough of being put down by the media so as to force them in this sort of bulimic need for shopping they cant afford nor really need.”[Note: Sure. Let’s blame society for our own issues again. We are all responsible for our own actions. Society does not “force” anyone to go into a “bulimic need for shopping they can’t afford”. It’s cute how you tried to use an eating disorder word in your sentence to tie this together.. but I’m sure another word would have fit in just as well there. The next step is blaming the media and society for America being overweight. OH WAIT!! We already do! One step ahead…]
“Everyone knows that these air-brushed models are unhealthy and their physique has been enhanced and changed with special lighting, photo retouching software and makeup.——“[note: not everyone’s physique is changed. Yes, skin is retouched so it is a uniform shade and glows, without blemishes, but last I checked my body was NOT made to look smaller than it was. To say everyone is photoshopped to look that tiny is ignorant. Some people just look that way. Quit trying to make excuses for yourself if you are unhappy with the way you are.]
“Go, Glamour! Hopefully, the fashion industry has finally realized men — real men — want women who look like women, not like 14 year old boys or tarted-up, spoiled LA brats.———”
“Fantastic. i love her already. i have always loved women with “something” around bones. I hate skinny women.”
“This is a TRUE/REAL picture! and I LOVE IT! she looks great and so comfortable with herself! I can’t agree more with the comments on how we can finally see someone with a NORMAL body! Not everyone has all the pleasures like the celebrities to have personal trainers and personal chefs….”[edit: funny, I wasn’t aware that I was so thin because I had personal trainers and chefs. Damn, I just thought I was healthy. where are they hiding?]
“lets be HONEST about how this perfection we see is obtained. Between the spray tans, the airbrushing, the professional lighting, the team of stylists and hair people, we regular women of the world don’t stand a chance in hell of measuring up. ” [YES! YOU KNOW WHY?!?!?! BECAUSE THAT’S THE INDUSTRY! It’s a JOB. It’s no secret that all this happens because a magazine is a BUSINESS. Marketing and advertising is a BUSINESS. BEAUTY is a business.]
So wait… airbrushed models with studio lighting don’t belong in magazines because they are purposely made to look perfect?? They can’t do their job because normal people aren’t included? If someone wanted to feature you in a magazine (for fashion and makeup) and said, “sorry! we don’t want to do studio lighting or makeup. How about you step outside and use this digital camera to take the picture, we’ll feature it!” would you let them? Or would you expect the best work? Working for NASA takes exceptionally talented people. If a person of normal intelligence walked into NASA and started working, would you say- “OH thank GOD. FINALLY! a real person is in here. I was getting sick of all these smart people. Now it’s a fair playing field because we can’t have people more talented than the NORMAL people in the world.”. No. Because the industry calls for a certain level of talent.
I think the reason that this bothers me the most is because there is somewhat of a double standard here. Women are talking about how it’s GREAT that we finally show women who are curvy and “real”, and also glad that those “stick thin” models got out of the way. So, you make yourself feel better, than put down others? Do you REALLY feel better about yourself, or are you just using this picture as an excuse to say you do, when in fact you have some rage towards other people in the back of your mind? This woman could have the same beautiful face and smile, on a smaller frame, and nobody would give her the time of day in a magazine; she would probably be referred to as one of those “stick-thin” models. People would NOT be publicizing this photo to the extent that it has been. Personally, as someone who is naturally very tiny, I take a lot of crap from people who don’t understand what it’s like to not gain weight EVER. People always say it’s a blessing; it’s not. It’s a curse. It’s a curse because stores like Guess stopped carrying anything under a size 3. It’s a curse because American Eagle pushed down their sizes, so now a 0 in their clothes really fits a size 3.I have to actually special order smaller sizes from their website to get anything that fits. Screw you American Eagle.
It’s always okay for an average size person (or even a person who may be a little heavier) to talk down to people who are naturally tiny and make it seem as if they have some sort of problem. If a thin person walked around and suggested that a heavier person should exercise more (FOR EXAMPLE! I am not meaning this to imply that people who may be heavier are not exercising and/or healthy. Just generalizing a scenario) they would probably have to walk the gallows [or plank. yarr.] and be called shallow and insensitive. It is not alright for someone to tell a heavier person to lose weight, so why is it okay for anybody to tell a smaller person to gain weight? What on earth is with this annoying double standard?
One other reason this bothers me is because it’s true that the average American is considered to be overweight. Our society as a whole is not very healthy- there’s nothing secret about that. There are video games now that let you workout while staring at the TV. There are even some GYM CLASSES IN SCHOOL that are incorporating this. I understand that it’s a way to get people moving… but really? Using video games? Video games are something that parents have been trying to move their children away from for years now! While I think it’s wonderful that Lizzie is being featured in glamour as a “real and normal” woman, it also makes me worry. I feel as if this is our society’s way of accepting the fact that the majority of Americans are overweight, and allowing us to justify this by saying “thank god, no more skinny women in magazines! Move over because the REAL women are hopefully going to be featured!”. This woman is 20 years old. I had originally assumed she was towards 30. Weight held around the stomach is one of the most DANGEROUS areas to hold weight- it’s a medical fact. I took this from the Glamour article. THAT’S RIGHT. THE MAGAZINE PUT THIS IN THEMSELVES.-
“The emails were filled with such joy–joy at seeing a woman’s body with all the curves and quirks and rolls found in nature. (Raising a question: With all the six-packs out there, do you even know what a normal belly looks like anymore–other than the one you see in the mirror?)”
Umm yes, we do know actually. Our normal stomachs don’t look like the one in the featured picture- does that make us any less real? Maybe people who carry more weight around their stomach should stop looking at themselves as the normal and consider themselves a health risk. So really, glamour? Would you EVER write something like that about an overweight person? Would you say, “Raising a question: With all the belly fat out there, do you even know what a normal belly looks like anymore?” No. Because that would be HORRIBLE and glamour would be chastised, as well as probably SUED. So why is it okay for the media to start sitting around and nitpicking on thin people? Especially magazines that include DIET TIPS as well as workout tips on how to get thinner? Contradictory much? It’s almost like society is just trying to make themselves feel better- to justify the fact that our society IS getting more obese. Is this what you hope to do by featuring this woman in your magazine? Now, I’m going to say once again, SHE IS VERY BEAUTIFUL. If you take anything away from this post, understand that I think it’s amazing that she has so much confidence. But also think to yourself, do you want to open magazines and see this?
Of course then, there are all the comments from readers saying “OH! I’m definiately a subscriber NOW! Please feature more women like this!” and, “I never liked glamour because of the unrealistic models, I am now going to buy more issues.” Okay so…. marketing ploy maybe?
“You just sold yourself a subscription. I’ll take a magazine that actually has the guts to put real women in there instead of spoon feeding us constant images that are unreal for most American women. People say that aspirational images sell. I say that is a load of garbage when it comes to this issue.”
There’s been other plus sized magazines that featured “real” women, and they ended up falling flat on their faces, or discretely slinking back into the background. Why? Sex sells. Beautiful “unrealistic model-y” women sell. People do not want to open magazines (well the majority of us anyway) and see this everyday; it takes away from the fantasy of the magazine.
Maybe I’m going overboard with this, but I personally don’t care. I don’t mind being the girl that cries wolf towards a marketing ploy by Glamour. Seems like everybody is too afraid to remark on this article about what this represents. I’m not.
Other comments included:
“When my daughters are older I hope they grow up and learn healthy ways to live but at the same time hope they find a man that is accepting of bigger ladies like my father and I.”
Yes, that’s very sweet, but by hoping this for your child, you’re pretty much saying you don’t want to put in an effort to raise your child in a healthy way. Is this the laissez-faire attitude we want our children to grow up with? Don’t try to better your health and eating habits- it’s okay- because America accepts unhealthiness as a standard now? I’m not saying we have to force our children to be a certain weight. THAT’S WRONG! We should love our children and take them as they are, and NEVER encourage any kind of eating disorder, HOWEVER, does that mean we can’t take steps to educate and encourage healthy eating habits? Include them in a healthy lifestyle? Take our children out hiking? Or to play in the park on the weekends? Or should we just give them video games to workout with so that our hands are clean of them? We need to change our attitudes.
And to end this… the whole idea behind the modeling industry is that the girls in there are exceptionally beautiful- there is SOMETHING about them that makes them stand out, which is why it’s so hard to break into the industry. So for everyone to immediately jump in and start saying “thank god we have REAL women” is just plain ignorant. Stop blaming industries for our short comings. If we aren’t happy with ourselves, there’s no need to blame people in shape and make them feel as if they aliens. Stop looking through magazines and saying “UGH! Stupid fake hooker with her airbrushed tan and studio lighting! How do they expect me to look like this!” and wisen up! Open your eyes! Feel better about yourself, and encourage other people to feel better about themselves- but don’t do that by being captain obvious.