Posted at 11:40 AM Oct 05, 2009
By Andrea Grimes
In principle, I'm all about what German ladymag Brigitte is doing to widen the variety of women in its pages. Via the AP:
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.However, it's the atrocious attitude of the editor that makes the whole thing pretty unpalatable:
So, models don't have identities? They're not "real women"?
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. "We will show women who have an identity -- the 18-year-old student, the head of the board, the musician, the football player," Andreas Leberts said in Hamburg, where the magazine, published by Gruner+Jahr, is based.
Ugh. Being body-positive and wanting to see many shapes, sizes and colors of women in fashion magazines does not mean dismissing models (actual humans!) as not "real" and little more than a sack of "bones." Lebert comes off as ignorant at best and misogynist at worst. Presumably in his editorship of Germany's best-selling ladies' magazine, he's met a model or two--and possibly noticed that they are thinking, empathetic human beings with actual needs and desires.
Valuing body acceptance and individual beauty should never mean devaluing the way anyone looks--models included. Can we talk about how the fashion industry encourages unhealthy, indeed deadly, body types? Yes. But talking about models as less-than because they are affected by said fashion industry doesn't lift anyone up.