Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beautiful

I know it’s probably odd to emerge from my no-blogging closet to praise a women’s magazine, but I felt compelled to do so. Besides, it’s dark in there, and it smells like old Keds and tennis balls.

I can’t say I stumbled upon this on my own – I don’t subscribe to any of these magazines, and when I buy them individually, I usually opt for Marie Claire because it’s the French version of my sister’s name and I get a few more pages for my buck (granted, that likely amounts to a few more perfume ads and subscription cards, but oh well). Instead, I found this by way of Jezebel, which I hit up daily, usually during lunch.

To preface, I don’t have much of a soapbox when it comes to the way women are portrayed in lady mags. Not because I don’t think it’s fucked up, but more because it seems like the dead horse has been ground into glue, and the fashion industry will always opt for the expensive, the impractical and the emaciated, when given an option. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t pleasantly surprised by Glamour’s use of a not even plus-sized, but a just plain normal model in its most recent issue.

I have these moments that occur from time to time in the locker room at the gym, when I catch someone changing out of the corner of my eye (in an accidental, non-dirty way), and I find myself breathing this silent sight of relief – because that’s how I look. That’s how my stomach looks, or that’s how my legs look, my butt, my back. And that’s exactly how I felt when I saw this picture. That immense sigh of relief.

It’s sad to think that in between those moments, I’ve somehow been convinced that I’m abnormal, slightly bigger or doughier or awkwardly shaped than everyone else. It sucks, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one. It’d be nice to go through life without that distorted sense of physical self brought on by pictorials of skinny Russian models riding tigers or whatever.

So maybe my soapbox needs to be bigger, since it’s virtually impossible not to be an unwitting victim of the images put in front of you. Regardless, kudos to Glamour for taking a look at the world through everyone else’s eyes. I hope it’s not just a glimpse.

2 comments:

Lady said...

Um, hi. So first, you are skinny - and i mean like bird skinny. I ponder this on occasion and wonder how you do it. But then I remember that you sustain yourself on canned tuna and salt and I feel better, because I like to sustain myself on Chipotle and peanut butter. It is a nice sentiment, all the fat girls in the crowd joining hands, but could Glamour just be doing this because Self and Shape have just gone under so much fire for doctoring photos? Could this just be a publicity stunt? And didn't Dave Eggers do this in like 1994?

Catherine said...

I actually use that drawer full of salt to cure bacon...

Anyway, I totally agree -- we are both PR-ish and savvy to the fact that this is probably just a thinly veiled attempt to be seen as the good guy, when several bad guys have recently come to light. But it's always easier to be delusionally hopeful - it makes the letdown that much more interesting.

And yes, Dave Eggers did something similar in 1994.

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