Join Date: July 2005
''Voluptuous Women Wanted'' (article)
The following article describes a rather brilliant project -- at least in conception -- being undertaken by a Northern Illinois University grad student
The pertinent points:
The posters went up in February, recruiting women for a photo project by NIU graduate student Kristen Lou Herout, who is determined to show there is no reason models in fashion magazines should all be stick-thin. Herout is recreating at least 30 ads from magazines like Cosmopolitan and Elle using the same poses and the same lighting but replacing the waifs in the ads with plus-size women.
...In late February, she began shooting the first of 10 models ranging from size 12 to 24...
The cultural ideal has swung so far out of whack, Herout said, that photos of even the thinnest models are digitally altered before running in magazines.
"If a supermodel can't be proud of her own body, I don't know who else can," she said.
Advertisements can negatively affect people, according to Jean Kilbourne, author of "Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel."..
Though there has been a slow shift in recent years toward celebrating all body types, Herout feels it doesn't go far enough. Ad campaigns like the Dove Real Beauty campaign may show heavier women, but they're not photographed in the same sexy way as thinner models, she said. And though the women in those ads may be heavier than typical models, they would not be considered big by the general population, she said.
"In bridal magazines, they'll throw in a token plus-size bride who's like a size 10, and she's always smiling against a bright backdrop," Herout said. "But the skinny brides are shot with the dark expressions and exotic makeup and complex backdrop. ... (Dove) is throwing all these big women at you, but they're not shot in the same sexy way as the thin models, and they're set apart like, 'Look at us, we're using f** models.'"
Excellent slam of those awful "reality" campaigns.
The most important decisions on the student's part are that she will use models up to a size 24
, and that she is rejecting the homely "reality" approach of the company mentioned.
That "reality" approach has been decried on this Web site from the beginning, for the very reasons that the student notes: "they're not photographed in the same sexy way as thinner models." I only hope this student, or someone she knows, has the ability to photograph the plus-size models "in the same sexy way as thinner models," with "dark expressions and exotic makeup and complex backdrop." That's what the plus-size industry as a whole needs to adopt.