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Old 1st October 2009   #1
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Default Glamour article re: plus-size models

Glamour has a new article on its site about plus-size models, and it includes one of the nude plus-size-model images that the magazine shot recently. I'm not wild about all-nude images, so I'll simply post the link:

It's a mixed bag as an article, which some good points and some weak points. First, the latter; then the former.

The one notable weakness is the magazine's choice of models in this image, who are mostly merely a size 10 or 12. The article itself addresses this problem:

Guess what? Plus-size models aren’t all that “plus.” “At most modeling agencies, any girl larger than a size 4 might have trouble getting work because she won’t fit the clothes, and over a size 6 she might be moved to the plus division,” says Glamour senior bookings editor Jennifer Koehler. “There’s a shortage of truly plus-size girls to choose from, and every other week I’m e-mailing the agencies asking, ‘Do you have any new size 16s?’” Often the answer is no, she says, because there still isn’t enough work to employ them.
But there ARE "new" plus-size models in a size 16 that Glamour could have chosen for this image! Why not Kelsey Olson, who is my favourite plus-size model working today? Why not Marritt Pike? Both are size 16. Glamour has not used either model yet, so they are definitely "new" (newer than most of the models in the picture). Same for Katherine Roll. If, on the other hand, the magazine wanted to use models that it HAD used before, then why not Charlotte Coyle, a size 18? Or Kailee O'Sullivan, who, while only a size 14, looks truly curvy and beautiful? I still think Kailee's image for Glamour, two years ago, was the most beautiful and size-positive picture that the magazine has ever produced.

There are, in fact, many fuller plus-size models whom Glamour could have chosen for this image.

On the other hand, the article does include several important observations. The acceptance of visible fullness is a good thing. The article notes that plus-size models

have beautiful curves, round shoulders, belly rolls and lots of other womanly stuff many of us see when we look in the mirror. Oh, and there’s lunch, which the models actually eat.
One hopes that the magazine will also allow such curves to be visible when it shoots plus-size models in clothing, in the future, not just when they're undressed.

The magazine asks:

So what’s keeping the fashion and media worlds from portraying as many size 10’s and 14’s and 20’s as we do size 0, 2 and 4?
Let's hope that in the future Glamour remembers to include those "20s," not just the 10s and 14s.

The following is an important point, acknowledging fashion-industry prejudice against fuller sizes:

Most designer fashion labels don’t make a size 14 (they stop at 10 or 12). That’s an aesthetic decision, not a business move, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for the market research firm NPD. “We know that larger-size women will pay almost anything for good-quality clothes that fit, and luxury brands could benefit greatly from serving that need,” he says. “But there remains a deep stigma against going plus-size in the high-end fashion market. Find a brand that’s willing to bet its image and licensing revenue by doing this, and you will find a progressive company.”
Exactly. These anti-plus designers are deliberately rejecting a portion of the market. They're allowing their aesthetic biases to trump the profit motive. Any time an economics argument is used to justify excluding full-figured women, it's just a smoke-screen, just a cover for the real motivation: curve-o-phobia.

The article ponders whether Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman's appeal to designers to create larger samples will make an impact:

"It will take a season or two before we know,” says Glamour deputy fashion director Sasha Iglehart. “Crystal Renn has already graced Glamour’s pages multiple times. It would be a dream come true to work with beauties like her dressed in our favorite designers and brands.”
Again, let's hope that Glamour remembers Kelsey, Charlotte, Kailee, Christina Schmidt, and other true plus-size models when it makes these decisions, and doesn't just restrict itself to faux-plus models.

Here's an extremely intelligent statement in the article:

“We are undergoing a shift in the mind-set of the modern female consumer,” explains Ben Barry, who coauthored a study on how women in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom respond to advertising images. Conducted in collaboration with the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, the study of more than 3,000 subjects showed that women were most likely to want to purchase a fashion product if it was associated with a model that directly resembled them. “This does not mean that women want to do away with aspirational images,” cautions Barry. “It is the very opposite. The worst thing a magazine could do is to showcase an image of a ‘normally sized’ model that looks like most driver’s license pictures, with poor styling, clothing and photography. Instead, women want these models to have the same glamour and artistry as other fashion models.”
Yes! I've been reading this point at the Judgment of Paris for years. This is why so-called "real woman" campaigns are always failures. The public wants glamorous models styled and photographed beautifully - it just wants those models to be above a size 14.

Glamour promises increased representation of larger figures in its pages in the future. Let's hope that it makes good on that promise - and remembers that professional plus-size fashion models size 16 or better do exist. (They're promoted on this site all the time.) Please, Glamour, use them!
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Old 1st October 2009   #2
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Default Re: Glamour article re: plus-size models

This is looking good. Glamour seems to be geniunely supportive of the use of fuller-figured models, and while there are some attitudes displayed in the article that need work, there seems to be signs of a real commitment to size-celebration.

This is particularly encouraging:

A promise to give the best plus models not just work, but the same great work straight-size models get, partnering with top photographers, stylists and makeup artists. Because a generous helping of fantasy, in our view, is fabulous—as long as it’s extended to women of all sizes.

It's absolutely key that plus-size models are given the same 'generous helping of fantasy' that the waifs get. Only then will people be able to judge them on fair and equal grounds, and come to the inevitable conclusion that curvy, voluptuous women are more beautiful than a stick ever could be.

Let's cross our fingers and hope that Glamour hold true to their promises, and include truly full-figured and beautiful models such as Kelsey Olson and Christina Schmidt. Maybe somebody should send them a link to the galleries on this site?
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Old 1st October 2009   #3
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Default Re: Glamour article re: plus-size models

Some of the models in that editorial were on the Ellen show today. The video is on YouTube:

Unfortunately, all of the models look so faux-plus that Ellen is absolutely incredulous that they are called plussize models. And she is right to react this way. I remember when Crystal Renn was on Oprah, Oprah was appalled at the idea that Crystal is what passes for a plussize model these days.

The full-figure-fashion industry should take a cue from the incredulity of people like Ellen and Oprah (who represent public opinion in general) and start featuring TRUE plussize models (over a size 14)! Even though I am still disgusted that Ashley Graham appeared in a diet ad, at least she is the one girl in the Glamour spread who looks somewhat plus - so why wasnt she on this show?

Ellen turns out to be a very good host on this issue. She asks the right questions - specifically, why is there a size 0 at all, and why do designers make clothes that size? She never gets a straight answer, and it really is a shame that four intelligent women are either unwilling to answer this question directly, or too afraid for their careers to answer because they cannot state the truth without condemning the fashion industry. I wish at least one of them had had the courage to speak out forcibly against the industry (and everyone who is a part of it) and its intolerable prejudice against women with curves.

Similarly, when Ellen says (rightly) that to be a size 0, models must have eating disorders, the models dodge this question and take refuge in a politically correct evasion. But the truth is that most models DO have eating disorders! (Some have even starved to death. Why didnt they mention that?) Again, I wish theyd had the courage to speak the truth.

At least Ellen says, point blank, that actresses DO starve themselves to fit into sample sizes, and that this must end.

I dont know what to make of it when Crystal says that samples should be size 10. If she means for the straight-size industry, then yes, fine - size 10 instead of size 0 or 2. But I hope she isnt suggesting that for the plussize industry. That would be appalling, and would eliminate what few full-figured models DO exist.

On the other hand, Crystal notes that plussize models go "up to size 20." Okay - in that case, when plussize models are featured in a magazine like Glamour, or on a show like Ellen, then let them be size 20s (instead of, yet again, the "safe" faux-plus type).
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Old 1st October 2009   #4
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Default Re: Glamour article re: plus-size models

That photo should be made into a mural or Time Square billboard. I could look at it all day.
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Old 1st October 2009   #5
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Default Re: Glamour article re: plus-size models

I would accept Crystal's size-10 suggestion for straight-size fashion, as a good size that then could be pinned down for straight-size models, if then the samples for plus-size would be size 20 (or better), so that they could similarly be pinned down- for plus-size models in a variety of genuinely full-figured sizes.

Incidentally, the Glamour site now features a larger version of Crystal's lovely page in the magazine from a few years ago.

For a while, it was the magazine's best image, until it was superseded by Kailee O'Sullivan's Glamour masterpiece, which may still be the most gorgeous picture ever printed in any general (i.e., not plus-specific) magazine:

For a generalist magazine, Glamour has a fairly good track record, both image-wise and in terms of model choice. It recently featured Charlotte Coyle in its pages, and also presented a fine image of Megan Garcia a few seasons ago. They might be able to make some worthwhile contributions to size-celebration. I'm hoping...
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