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The Change

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The Change i

The Change from Size 0 to Plus Size Models in Magazines

Women, Girls, and the Media

Professor Black

December 17, 2011

The Change 1

The fashion industry has been making changes towards a more plus size friendly atmosphere when it comes to magazine covers and articles. According to Lillith “A year ago, a frail, washed-out creature called the waif almost did fashion in. And in what may give conspiracy theorists a sense of satisfaction, magazine editors, certain designers and retailers joined forces like characters in an Agatha Christie novel to deal a death blow to the waif, whom most magazine readers and store customers had rejected” ("Fashion Waifs Disappearing

The Fashion eZine-Anorexia,").

I believe a world filled with women and men displaying all shapes and sizes will only inspire consumers to purchase more magazines and media in general. According to Boyd after conducting their research “Preliminary examination suggests that more than half of young women's magazines are upholding elements of the voluntary Code of Conduct for Body Image, through representation of diverse-sized women in their swimsuit issues”(Boyd, 2011). The research they conducted “reviews the promotion of healthy body image to young Australian women, following the 2009 introduction of the voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image. The Code includes using diverse sized models in magazines”(Boyd, 2011). A code such as this is something I feel is necessary in all countries to begin allowing consumers to see the other side of advertising and articles in the magazines we choose to read for pleasure and knowledge. It is important for consumers to know it is ok to not be a size 0 as many once wanted us to only view in magazines.

The Change 2

What advertisers are looking to create, by using only size 0 models to display their merchandise, is not always the best way to advertise to their consumers. When I look at a magazine article with a size 0 waif like model I think “Wow that outfit looks great on them, but it would look horrible on me and I would never buy it”. As Cornog states in her article, “True, some of the fat women get themselves up to be invisible--dull colors, shapeless, badly fitting clothes, stringy hair. But some of them look just fiiiine, thank you very much: bright colors, clingy, low cut, show-it-if-you've-got-it. And it's clear they've got it--plus partners and children to show for it”(Cornog, 2002). I am one of those consumers that although I may not be a size 0, I still want to look nice and attractive in the clothes I wear out and with the advertising that was taking place I became one of those size 12 consumers that wore lifeless, boring clothes to become part of the décor, instead of allowing myself to feel good about myself and purchase the stylish clothes the advertisers wished I would purchase from the ads they displayed in the magazines.

Growing up I knew I wasn’t what most considered slim, and as a result I was always self-conscious of what I wore and how I looked. I wished for a long time that I was slimmer, and no matter the amount of exercise I performed I still couldn’t reach the small waist size I dreamt of. Seeing the pictures of the small sized models continued to beat up my self-esteem. According to Garner, Garfinkel, Schwartz & Thompson’s study, “they examined the changing body shape of Playboy centrefolds from 1959 to 1988 and noted that their body weights were significantly lower than those of the average female. The current study updates and examines changes in body

The Change 3

measurements and weight across four decades using a multivariate one-way Analysis of Variance. Chisquare analysis of the models' expected weight and actual body mass index (BMI) indicates that the female body weight standard has become increasingly restrictive. Implications for counseling girls and women are discussed within the feminist therapeutic context”(Saraceni, 2007).

Consumers are currently seeing more plus size models and models that are showing all, in a way that makes us feel as we are of normal size and we can look at advertisements and articles to feel good about the way we look. The type of articles I will display and analyze, further confirms my feelings of the shifting from the “waif model” era to the era of showing all shapes and sizes we are moving into. Recently in the September issue of Glamour the image below was seen on page 194.


The Change 4

The response Glamour received from its readers was outstanding. Cindi Leive, editor of the magazine, posted on the magazine's website stating “that since the day the September issue hit newsstands, letters have been pouring in about one unknown model featured in the body-confidence article "What Everyone But You Sees About Your Body." Leive writes: The letters blew me away: "the most amazing photograph I've ever seen in any women's magazine," wrote one reader in Pavo, Georgia. From another in Somerset, Massachusetts: "This beautiful woman has a real stomach and did I even see a few stretch marks? This is how my belly looks after giving birth to my two amazing kids! This photo made me want to shout from the rooftops."
The emails were filled with such joy—joy at seeing a woman's body with all the curves and quirks and rolls found in nature. (Raising a question: With all the six-packs out there, do you even know what a normal belly looks like anymore—other than the one you see in the mirror?)” (Hartmann, 2009). The readers were in love with the picture shown on page 194 because it made them feel human again.

Many women choose to have children and not all can find the time to bounce back to their old body shapes. They become self-conscious of the body they live in after the baby is born. Glamour’s article shows them they are still just as beautiful as they were before the baby came to be. It also shows readers Glamour is open to the new way of displaying models. Leive concludes her article by asking readers what kind of images they'd like to see in the magazine, adding, "Trust me, Glamour's listening, and this only strengthens our commitment to celebrating all kinds of beauty." It's already obvious from the response to one three by three inch photo that women are interested

The Change 5

in seeing beautiful pictures of women of all shapes and sizes that look like them, rather than what the magazine says they should aspire to look like. But, we're still skeptical. If magazines run more images like the one on page 194, women may internalize the idea that you can look sexy with messy hair, no clothes or accessories, and a layer of body fat and stop buying products to fix their natural yet somehow "flawed" figures” (Hartmann, 2009).

Another transforming advertisement that landed in V magazine isn’t as natural as the advertisement displayed in Glamour, but displays a full figured model that is showing her stomach in an advertisement for the magazine. Although I like this advertisement I don’t believe it will sell as much articles of the clothing as intended. It says to me the swimsuit will show your fat mid-section and I am not sure that is what the seller was looking to show.


The Change 6

While I believe we are moving more towards a more diverse world of advertising in magazines and media, I don’t believe we have seen the last of the waif model. Inbar reports “The stick-skinny, celery-and-cigarettes crowd of female models will likely never go out of fashion — but now their more substantial sisterhood is giving them a run for their money. Glamour magazine fired the first shot last year when it featured a photo of plus-size model Lizzie Miller flashing a broad smile while letting her belly show. Now V magazine has upped the ante with the release of its “Size” issue this week — featuring models whose dress sizes hit double digits sporting skimpy bathing suits, hip-hugging jeans and, in some cases, nothing at all” (Inbar, 2010). The photographer Solve Sundsbo stated, “I loved the opportunity to show that you can be beautiful and sexy outside the narrow interpretations that normally define us”(Inbar, 2010).

Although V is known for pushing the envelope with its saucy front covers and its stories inside, with known artist such as Lady Gaga being shown, they are now moving towards the new “model” shape and size. I think this is great for such a largely known and distributed magazine to show its progress and its open mind to the wants and needs of its consumers. Crystal Renn, a widely known plus size model states in the article, she’s not out to topple the thin models from their traditional throne of dominance in the fashion industry”(Inbar, 2010). Dakota Fanning, a size 0 actress, is one of the two covers of avant-garde V magazine’s annual “Size Issue.” She states, “I’d like to see everyone take on the attitude that there are women of all different shapes and sizes as ‘the beauty ideal,’ and that it’s not one type or another”(Inbar, 2010).

The Change 7

The third/fourth article I will show and analyze is two cover pictures of Adele. A famous plus sized musician of our time. When you look at these cover pictures together it is easy to see Vogue is attempting to show they are making progress, allowing for plus size models to be on their cover. It is a weak attempt in my eyes. It says to me “we are trying to keep up with our competitors, by allowing the cover, but we don’t want you to get the wrong idea that we like it.” When you compare Vogue’s cover to Cosmopolitan’s article you can see who is truly looking to embrace the new idea of displaying all types of shapes and sizes in their magazines. While I think Adele is a beautiful woman in both pictures, you can truly see her in Cosmo’s cover comparatively.

While Adele’s cover is not to advertise a product, other than her singing, or showing the world you can be naturally beautiful the way you are as Glamour’s and V’s ads showed, this is another hurdle we are crossing over in the magazine industry, having a plus size model/singer on their covers.


The Change 8

Adele is positive role model not only for young singers, but for those women who do not have a slim body shape. Vogue didn’t look at their cover from this point of view. They cropped the picture to only include her face on the cover, while Cosmo displayed both of her positive attributes on their cover: her voice/popularity and her size. Plus-size tall reports, “The Adele Cosmopolitan cover offers her up as a positive role model for women in the UK – with the average size being a UK 16. She stands looking healthy and beautiful and is a stunning reminder that you don’t need to starve yourself to be beautiful. Body positivity is a very important issue, and we are so happy that the Adele Cosmopolitan cover breaks away from the normal front cover traditions and

shows curvy girls everywhere that they should never feel second rate”("Adele Cosmopolitan cover:why Cosmo wins over Vogue," 2011).

My last article/cover I will display and analyze is Vogue Italia’s June 2011 cover. It displays three plus size women on its cover. [pic]

The Change 9

Looking at this article I don’t see where the plus size models are. If they are there they are definitely being hidden by the table or their oversized shirt. This cover doesn’t speak to me in a way of plus size models being represented, but says to me look at how provocative we are. Sozzani reports,” We help [plus-size women] dress fashionably. We say: It's pointless for you to buy leggings, take this because this will look good on you. We help them choose. We don't talk about diets because they don't want to be on a diet, but it's not a ghetto”(Moss, 2011). This cover does not show me this, it shows me and consumers of Vogue Italia isn’t afraid to have a provocative cover, but it doesn’t say to their consumers, “we have moved in the direction of accepting all shapes and sizes in our magazine”.

When comparing this cover the articles/covers already mentioned this cover does not compare well to them. When comparing Vogue Italia’s cover to Adele’s Vogue cover it has the same representation attached to it. Vogue wants to stay in front of their competitors but they don’t want to be known or associated with models other than the waif. While it can be compared to Glamour’s article in regards to shock value, their cover showing three models in skimpy attire, it doesn’t come close to the attention Glamour’s article received from its consumers. Glamour’s article showed a real person, with real flaws and showed their consumers they were moving in a new direction based on their consumers’ needs and wants. Vogue Italia’s cover showed their consumers they may not be afraid of being provocative, but they are afraid of the new progress being made with allowing all shapes and sizes into their magazine. When looking at this cover compared to V’s article it is pale in comparison. Although I didn’t feel compelled to

The Change 10

buy the article of clothing the plus size model was wearing, they at least showed their consumers they were hearing their concerns.

While all of these articles show plus size models, either in an article or on their covers, they are not all moving in the direction their consumers are hoping for. I feel the consumers are looking for a mix of body shapes and types displayed in a way as to not draw the consumers’ eye away from the fact the model is plus sized, as Vogue Italia and Vogue displayed, but in a way consumers can see they are heard and viewed as Glamour, V, and Cosmopolitan showed. Consumers want to see a mix of waif models and plus size models, showing consumers a little of everyone so we can choose what we want to wear and what magazines we want to read. It comes down to choices and being able to have them when we pick up a magazine to read.

In conclusion I believe the more we see variety in the models selected for advertisements the happier female consumers will be. I believe we all just want our voices heard and our body shapes and sizes seen in the public as normal. The days of just a waif like model being “ allowed “ in magazines are over and we are moving to a much healthier and positive media image for women across the country.

The Change 11


Adele Cosmopolitan cover:why Cosmo wins over Vogue [Electronic. (2011). Version]. Retrieved December 4, 2011, from

Boyd, E. R., Boyd, E. R., & Moncrieff-Boyd, J& Moncrieff-Boyd, J. (2011). Swimsuit issues: Promoting positive body image in young women's magazines. Health Journal of Australia, 22(2), 102-106.

Cornog, M. (2002). Blank, hanne. big, big love: A sourcebook on sex for people of size and those who love them. Counterpoise, 5(2), 34-34.

Fashion Waifs Disappearing
The Fashion eZine-Anorexia [Electronic. Version]. Retrieved December 3 , 2011, from

Hartmann, M. (2009). Glamour Shocks Readers By Featuring Plus-Size Model’s Belly [Electronic Version]. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from

Inbar, M. (2010). Plus-size models buck thin trend in V magazine [Electronic Version]. TODAY Style. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from

Moss, H. (2011). Vogue Italia Puts Three Plus-Size Models On June Cover [Electronic Version]. Huff Post Style, from

Saraceni, R. R.-M., Shelly. (2007). Images and Ideals: Counseling Women and Girls in teh "Thin-is-in" Culture. Canadian Journal of Counseling, 41(2), 91-106.…...

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...CHANGE AND WHY WE NEED IT Pastor Bill Purvis Of Cascade Hills Church has a favorite saying: Change is Inevitable; but Growth is Optional Growth is the result of a Positive Outlook to CHANGE If you are not changing, you are not growing. Charles Darwin said: It is not the strongest of the species that survive, or the most intelligent, BUT the one most responsive to change: When something is inevitable your best bet is to: 1. Prepare for it 2. Adapt to it 3. Don’t be surprised by the next by always looking for it. Live a Life Of Expectancy…..expecting change. Dr. Spencer Johnson, #1 Best Seller of the Book “Who Moved My Cheese?” said Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come. If you don’t change your will become extinct: E.g.…is like Block Buster Video and Movie Gallery….with the event of RED BOX $1.00 There are no more Movie Galleries and Block Buster’s around why….change in movie rental industry. Lets establish here that GOD does not need to change, we do. And in fact he said “I am The LORD and I Change NOT” So if change is inevitable then we don’t have a choice but to change. Change What? LIFE: by that we talking Experience, Life Experiences The SUM total of your life now is made up of your experiences and the decisions you have made in the past. If you notice, it’s really how well you adapted to life’s changes determined your success today. If you change your life you change your experience and Vice......

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