Glamour editor-in-chief, Cindi Leive, was surprised--and surprisingly inspired--by the outpouring of positive responses she received after publishing a photo of plus-sized model Lizzi Miller (she doesn't look plus-sized to me!). They both appeared on the Today Show, and from the editor's own mouth, this will have an affect on the way Glamour portrays beauty in the future. I hope so, but we'll see. (Since issues are developed months in advance, I'll start watching for the change around November. In the meantime Cindi, how about removing the ads next to your article for "Body by Glamour" and "Exactly what to eat to lose weight in 30 days." Talk about a mixed message.)
Could this be another sign of a shift toward recognizing the beauty of "normal" and "average" women?
Other hopeful signs:
- The controversy over doctored photos like the Kelly Clarkson photo on the cover of SELF Magazine
- The outrage over the PETA "Save the Whales" billboard (apparently they are concerned about cruelty to animals but not to humans)
- The early popularity of Lifetime's new show, Drop Dead Diva, whose main character is a plus-sized attorney
- The growth of the Health at Every Size movement and organizations like Association for Size Diversity and Health and National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
- The rise to celebrity status of blogs like Shapely Prose, the F-Word, The Rotund who have finally given a voice and a forum to people who are sick of being discriminated against--or worse yet, ignored
- The success of the Dove Real Beauty Campaign (EVERY young woman and her mother should see the Dove Evolution of Beauty video if you haven't already)
- Celebrities like Jamie Lee Curtis being photographed sans make-up
- A welcome trend toward featuring "mature" women in ads without tag lines like "I've fallen and I can't get up!" (As I age, this is becoming an increasingly important issue to me.)
As a family physician, I saw thousands of naked bodies, so I know what "normal" and "average" look like. But even the words, "average" and "normal" are just so...unsexy. Who made that decision for our culture?
I also saw the devastation of low self-esteem, eating disorders, and chronic yo-yo dieting. In fact, I fell into it myself. A well-educated, smart doctor should know better, but as I always say, doctors are people too.
So when I see these small sign posts pointing toward an appreciation of true "normal" beauty, I feel almost giddy! How many young women (and increasingly, men) could be saved decades of self-loathing, futile yo-yo dieting, and misplaced energy and focus?
I hope my colleagues in the medical profession take notice. We can blame the media for creating the illusion of perfect, but the "war against obesity" must also be held responsible. Your weapons don't work and are, in fact, hurting the very people you claim you are trying to protect.