Monday, September 7, 2009

Glamour, dahling, glamour....

Typically, I would reserve such social commentary for my roommate,
over a pack of smokes and pot of tea. But this time I simply 
couldn't resist.

I want to make a few points regarding Lizzi Miller's photo
for Glamour magazine, which is currently causing a lot
of fuss on the interwebs.

Make no mistake, I think this woman is strikingly beautiful, and not just
because her body so resembles my own, and so does not the body
of our cultural image of "model". It is, however, this juxtaposition 
that I want to comment on.

Firstly, I vehemently object to the term "plus sized model" for a number of
reasons. Namely, this is an industry distinction, used to sort models
by size. Within the industry, it makes sense, as most designers
make samples in specific sizes to show on the runway
and in photo shoots. But the fact that this term exists at all points to 
a disturbing reality of the fashion world. Designers typically don't make
sample size 12 for a show. If they do, they're usually a "plus size"
specific label. This deeply ingrained practice has so thoroughly delineated
models and labels that it seems inconceivable that a size 12 model
would appear in Dior or Lanvin, but rather normal for
her to appear in the "plus" section of a Sears ad. It's simple to 
see where this distinction comes from, and how and why the 
industry upholds it so rigidly, but that doesn't make it right. A model
is a profession. Most professions that have distinctions that 
indicate what sort of jobs a person does are based
on experience and skill. Not the size of one's waist.
A model is a model, no matter what size he or she may be.
Just because Marc Jacobs doesn't book the size 12 girl doesn't
mean he couldn't! We've created an entirely new subspecies
of this profession and subjected women to the stigma of being
a "plus sized" model based on the idea of beauty held
by a frighteningly small number of select individuals. Are
you going to let the people who book models for
aren't likely to ever meet!) tell you that because they don't
book girls that look like you, you're not beautiful?
We've given these "fashion people" so much control
over our lives. We look at magazines like Vogue and Glamour,
with their twiggy models wearing clothes we can't afford ANYWAY,
and judge ourselves, and tell ourselves that we're not good
enough because our jeans came from Penny's instead of
Bloomingdales. People like Anna Wintour are running
the lives and minds of American women from behind
expensive office furniture in Manhattan, and we're

Lizzi Miller's photo for Glamour in interesting, thought provoking,
and definitely makes me feel better about my own thighs, but it is
by no means a giant leap, or even a good-sized stride. The editor
of Glamour says that this shoot will influence her further decisions
regarding the women in her magazine, but I for one, am very 
skeptical. It could even be argued that Glamour did this just
for the publicity. God knows they sold a million copies to 
women desperately wanting to see a belly and bum like their
own printed on glossy paper. But even this desperation we feel
is in the hands of the editors, and they're in a perfect position
to use it to sell more magazines and exploit our perception of 
our own bodies. Next they'll go after the skinny girls, and when
the table is turned, you'll find the bottom is just as dirty and
underhanded as the top, and the same people are sitting
around it, plotting against out bodies and counting their

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