I just came back from a much needed, and rarely had treat – a manicure and pedicure. Part of the fun in blocking out the world while someone else tackles my hands and feet is the chance to indulge in magazines I never have time to read. As I sunk into the massaging chair and dunked my feet in the swirling water, I started flipping through the pages of the November 2nd issue of People. The first thing that grabbed me was a short blurb on a model who is 5’10, 120 pounds and, according to People Magazine, was fired by Ralph Lauren because she was too large to fit into the sample clothes used in their ads. She is considered too heavy to be a model at a size 4. Too heavy to be a model at a size 4? Have we lost our minds?
As nurses we see women and men of all shapes and sizes and we know that the average woman isn’t a size 0 (how can you be no size at all?). In fact, Wonderquest says the average American woman is just shy of 5’4 and weighs 152 pounds – about a size 14. I’m not commenting about the obesity epidemic in the United States, just the idea that a woman who is 5’10 and 120 lbs could be considered too heavy to model.
So, why aren’t “real women” in our magazines? Next in my pile happened to be the November issue of Glamour where I discovered a “plus-size” model, Lizzie Miller, had been making headlines all over the news because of an almost nude picture in the September issue of Glamour where you see her not so flat belly. A real women’s belly! After getting all kinds of positive attention, Glamour did a photo shoot for their November issue with 7 “plus-size” models. To Glamour’s credit, apparently they had used 6 of these 7 women in the past (and plan to continue the trend). Almost all had stories of starving themselves to fit into the size 0 world of modeling.
After devouring this article, I read the editor’s column. On that page they showed models through the years that included Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor – true beauties and women who were on the cover of many magazines in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. Today, Ms. Monroe and Ms. Taylor would be “plus-sized”…How wonderful it would be to transition the American mindset back to this sort of beauty.
What are your thoughts on how we persuade more magazines to follow Glamour’s lead?