Last month, I recommended that any woman berating herself for not having a perfect body should check out this photo published in Glamour magazine. The plus-size model shows that you can still look gorgeous even with a little belly flab. The overwhelmingly positive reader reaction prompted Glamour to devote several pages in its November issue to plus-size models, including this photo, aptly titled, "Oh, wow, these bodies are beautiful."
In a mass publicity blitz to promote the issue, Editor in Chief Cindi Leive told Ellen DeGeneres last week, "We're committing to picturing a wider range of body types on our pages."
Botticelli would be proud.
I'm just hoping other Condé Nast publications follow suit. Instead of celebrating plus-size models, some artificially shrink even normal-size celebrities. The September issue of Self magazine featured a digitally slimmed-down cover photo of singer Kelly Clarkson. Editor in Chief Lucy Danziger admitted shaving pounds off of Clarkson—as well as slimming her own hips in an editor's letter photo—in this blog post titled "Pictures That Please Us." She writes, "Portraits like the one we take each month for the cover of SELF are not supposed to be unedited or a true-to-life snapshot... . It's not, as in a news photograph, journalism. It is, however, meant to inspire women to want to be their best. That is the point."
Hmm. Are they inspiring women or trying to tell us that it's impossible to be pretty if you're not a size 6? Actress Kate Winslet took GQ magazine to task after it digitally slimmed her down in a 2003 issue, and rumors flew again last year when a slimmed-down cover shot of her appeared on Vanity Fair. Check out this video to see Photoshop in action.
Glamour, on the other hand, doesn't digitally alter photos to make models/singers/actresses look thinner, public relations director Samantha Rosenthal tells me. "That's never been our policy," she says, "and the conversation has moved far beyond that." Indeed. Leive assured The Today Show's Matt Lauer that the magazine would continue to feature full-figured women and has even taken on critics who say that the magazine may be encouraging obesity by doing so. She quotes Assistant Editor Margarita Bertsos, who recently lost 75 pounds and says the photos remind her to love and treat herself well, which includes healthful diet and exercise, and that they show her "that I can and should smile in my nakedness and belly rolls, because I'm worthy of that kind of that unabashed self-love." Not said but implied: Anorexic-looking models encourage, well, anorexia.
Here are 5 other ways to improve your body image.
Corrected on 10/07/09: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the person being interviewed by Matt Lauer. He interviewed Glamour editor, Cindi Leive.