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Old 6th October 2009   #1
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Default Brigitte magazine drops bony models

BERLIN Germany's most popular women's magazine announced Monday that it is banning professional models from its pages in favor of "real women" in an attempt to combat an unhealthy standard of rail-thin beauty that it says has isolated its readers.

The editor-in-chief of Germany's bimonthly Brigitte told reporters that, starting next year, the magazine will feature a mix of prominent women and regular readers in photo spreads for everything from beauty to fashion to fitness.

Andreas Lebert said the move is a response to readers increasingly saying that they are tired of seeing "protruding bones" from models who weigh far less than the average woman.

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Old 7th October 2009   #2
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Default Re: Brigitte magazine drops bony models

The question is this: Will Brigitte magazine's new policy be a boon to size celebration?

Unfortunately, the answer is likely, "No."

Despite the article's optimistic beginnings, the most pertinent information appears later in the text:

"We are not going to become a magazine for plus-sizes," [the magazine's editor] said.

In other words, instead of featuring anorexic professional models, Brigitte will now feature slightly-less-emaciated-but-still-underweight average women.

This is small beer, at best.

This approach does nothing to bring fuller-figured goddesses into the public eye. And only the proliferation of plus-size imagery can shatter the pernicious "thin = beautiful" myth.

Does Brigitte's new policy mean that there will be fewer pro-anorexia images in the media? Possibly. However, the approach may do harm as well.

As Judgment of Paris readers know, effective modelling requires considerable technique, from posing ability to facial expressiveness to emotional demeanour.

Brigitte's approach will therefore pit amateur presentations of non-models against the other fashion magazines' professional presentations of minus-size waifs. And based on this comparison, impressionable readers will inevitably conclude that the "true" models in the other publications are beautiful, while Brigitte's "ordinary women" are not.

In young girls' minds, this will reinforce the toxic notion that the recipe for attractiveness is emaciation.

Beyond its practical limitations, however, the Brigitte approach is acutely offensive in a different way, for it demonstrates a deep-seated prejudice against full-figured women. Even though Brigitte's new policy will ban emaciated professionals, it will still exclude plus-size goddesses.

In other words, Brigitte apparently finds even the plainest girl on the street preferable to a professional, full-figured model.

How deep does the industry's curve-o-phobia go, when a magazine would rather photograph thin women, however homely, to full-figured goddesses, however beautiful?

On the discrimination scale, this is every bit as bad as current fashion industry practices--and those practices are bad indeed. Brigitte clearly wanted to book slightly less emaciated models, yet the industry refused to provide them. Apparently, the modelling agencies would rather lose business than employ fuller-figured girls.

Thus, although the modelling agencies and Brigitte are divided over booking policies, they are distressingly united in their resistance to plus-size beauty.

One step forward, two steps back.

* * *

Now, let us consider a hypothetical proposition.

What if Brigitte had chosen to use full-figured "real women" instead of thin ones?

That would at least have been an improvement over its newly introduced casting policy, which remains discriminatory against timeless beauty. But it would still have been harmful rather than beneficial to the aesthetic restoration.

Consider the difference between this and the Mode/Figure approach. Those magazines provided alternatives to professional waifs in the form of professional full-figured models--girls who adhered an aesthetic standard, who possessed genuine modelling ability, and who were every bit as photogenic as their underweight rivals.

Thus, young girls comparing a Mode model like Shannon Marie to a Vogue skeleton like Kate Moss were compelled to acknowledge--despite media conditioning to the contrary--that the plus-size model was indisputably more attractive than the waif. And that realization showed them the fallacy of the underweight standard, and made them receptive to the timeless ideal of well-fed beauty.

The only way to eradicate the cult of skinniness is by producing images of full-figured goddesses who are more beautiful, and better models, than the stick insects.

But young girls comparing Brigitte's "real women" (whatever their size) to Vogue's waifs will be tricked into thinking that the superior beauty of the anorexic models is due to their emaciation, whereas it is simply due to the fact that the latter have been chosen according to aesthetic standards, and the former have not. As a result, girls will still believe--erroneously--that only starvation can lead to beauty.

Say what one will about the shortcomings of Glamour magazine, at least by using professional full-figured models it is on the right track, in terms of providing a viable alternative to the idealization of thinness. What a shame that the overall content of Glamour isn't more universally size-positive, and that its quantity of plus-size models remains minimal.

* * *

Incidentally, the Judgment of Paris addressed the "reality" issue once before, when the first set of "ordinary woman" ads began to proliferate in the media, several seasons ago. That thread appears at the link posted below, and offers further insight into this topic.

The gorgeous Charlotte Coyle (Wilhelmina) modelling for Marks & Spencer:

- ''Reality'': A Distortion

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Old 10th October 2009   #3
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Default Re: Brigitte magazine drops bony models

While it is good that they have said they will no longer feature anorexic models in their magazine it's still a cowardly move to say that they will not be a magazine for plus-size women. One would think with the name 'Brigitte' that they WOULD show full figured women in their magazine. After all, when the name Brigitte comes to mind, one thinks of a Germanic goddess. Or at least, one should. Not some modern "skinny Minny".
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Old 11th October 2009   #4
M. Lopez
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Default Re: Brigitte magazine drops bony models

Another article makes it clear that this move is being made out of exasperation with the starvation standard of the fashion industry:

The pertinent section:

"From 2010 we will not work with professional models any more," said Andreas Lebert, editor-in-chief, adding that he was "fed up" with having to retouch pictures of underweight models.

"For years we've had to use Photoshop to fatten the girls up," he said. "Especially their thighs, and decolletage. But this is disturbing and perverse and what has it got to do with our real reader?"

He said the move was a response to complaints by readers who said they had no connection with the women depicted in fashion features and "no longer wanted to see protruding bones".

"Today's models weigh around 23% less than normal women," Lebert said. "The whole model industry is anorexic."

That last quote is devastating - and absolutely true. This editor is one of the rare voice saying what NEEDS to be said - what even recovering-anorexic models seem too cowardly to say. The whole model industry is anorexic. That is a fact. They've whittled the standard size down, down, down incrementally, literally like a wasting disease, to the point that they've acclimatized people to a sickeningly gaunt look.

It would be like people living their whole lives amid a colony of lepers - they'd start to think that a leprous look is "normal," rather than what it is - diseased and unhealthy.

That's why many heterosexual men "see" the problem, see how sick the models look, while many women don't. Women surround themselves with this androgynous imagery all the time, until normal becomes abnormal to them, and vice versa. But heterosexual men step in "from outside," and see truthfully and clearly how severely dysfunctional the industry is.

The one good thing that could come out of this move by Brigitte is that it might finally push the industry to start deviating from its anorexic standard. At least, it will if other magazine's follow Brigitte's lead, or are seen as being prepared to do so. Either the agencies will have to change their booking policies, or they'll be replaced, plain and simple.

But above, all I hope the plus-size fashion industry takes the above quotation to heart. Because just as disgusting and offensive as Photoshopping models to make them look fuller is (instead of using fuller models in the first place) is the plus-size industry's contemptible practice of padding faux-plus models. Stop using non-plus girls! Start using TRUE plus-size models, for once and for all - models over a size 14, who don't need to be photoshopped or padded, but who ARE a full-figured size!
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