Karl Lagerfeld To Glamour: Just What Do Women Actually Want?

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on October 14, 2009

Models and weight.

A topic that is no stranger to most of us.

Recently, some headlines have caught my attention…that I knew we could have a great discussion about.

Headline Maker #1:

Glamour Magazine’s feature of a mostly naked plus-sized model in their September 2009 issue:


When I first saw this picture, I thought two things:

1) She is gorgeous

2) She is plus-sized?!

The feature of this model in Glamour magazine caused a huge stir to say the least. In fact, it inspired a huge body image revolution.

Editor-in-chief, Cindi Leive, was thrilled when Glamour magazine was flooded with supportive letters from readers. Her blog post also received over 1,100 comments, most of which were encouraging.

One woman from Pavo, Georgia said it was, ‘The most amazing photograph I’ve ever seen in any women’s magazine.’

While a man exclaimed, ‘I speak on behalf of all men: she is stunningly beautiful!’

Evidently, the people spoke, and they were saying please, please show these models more frequently!

Is this a genuine effort by Glamour magazine to feature women of all sizes or is it simply a publicity stunt as a way to generate more readers and revenues?

Headline Maker #2:

Karl Lagerfeld recently made headlines after making some shocking remarks when referring to Brigitte Magazine’s decision to feature regular women in the magazine and not professional models.

He said, "These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly,” Karl said in an interview with Focus magazine, adding “no one wants to see round women.” [Source]

Needless to say, Karl offended millions of women around the world with his comments.

Headline Maker #3:

Ralph Lauren recently came under a huge amount of criticism for air-brushing 21-year-old Filippa Hamilton in a recent Ralph Lauren Blue Label campaign featured in Japan.

Here is the ad:


I could not believe this picture when Caitlin posted the article on Twitter tonight. It just sickens me!

This is what she normally looks like below: Obviously very THIN!!!!


Note: She was recently fired due to being ‘too heavy’!!!!

It is clear to me that there is still a huge discrepancy between what the Fashion Industry thinks women want and what women ACTUALLY want!

The Glamour magazine comments clearly show that women want to see a wider range of shapes and sizes in magazines, and I would guess that this would extend to music videos, movies, runways, TV shows, and the like.

I think it is important to show a WIDE range of sizes, from thin to thick. One thing that bothers me is when people say, ‘Oh she is a REAL woman’ if she is curvy and thick. I think that is still a way to put down women who are not of a certain size. We need to accept all sizes, whether you are naturally skinny or curvy and voluptuous!

Skinny women are real women.

Large women are real women. 


We need to accept everything in between and stop this madness of thinking that there is one ideal size. There is not.

Are we always doomed to have this discrepancy? Is Karl just a product of his environment and a man stuck in his ways? Will the runway, magazines, and fashion advertisements ever change?


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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 14, 2009 at 8:35 pm

This is so disgusting and ridiculous!


jessica October 14, 2009 at 8:35 pm

I’m really happy about what Glamour is doing lately, I’m even considering a subscription.

In their latest issue (with the BEEAAAUUUTIFUL and NATURAL Scarlett Johansson on the cover) they feature more REAL models. They were featured on the Ellen show about a week ago or so and they were wonderful.. as was Ellen. She spoke out about how this pressure and obsession for Hollywood and women in general to be super thin is disgusting.

Also, apparently RL has apologized for the ad…??


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 14, 2009 at 8:38 pm

The statement is below:

“For over 42 years, we have built a brand based on quality and integrity. After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body.

‘We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the calibre of our artwork represents our brand appropriately,’ the statement concluded.”


Mara @ What's for Dinner? October 14, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Oh this is such a loaded topic for me… while yes, I strive to be thinner and more fit, I am NOT one to subscribe to the idea that a model has to be bone-thin to be beautiful. Or heck, even THIN. Some of the most beautiful women I know are beautiful for reasons beyond their appearance, and some thin women? They are downright hideous due to their attitudes. I think all women want to see REAL women…


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm

I have a problem with the term REAL women. We are all real women. Thin women are real women, so are larger women. You know what I mean? I totally get what you are saying and I agree that beautiful women come in all sizes…but I just have a problem with saying ‘real’ women. I guess it depends on what you mean by the term. If by saying real women you mean ‘women who are happy and secure with themselves’ then yes I would agree to that. :)


Eliza October 15, 2009 at 8:44 am

Most of the women in magazines have been so totally photo-shopped that you could argue the photographs no longer show “real women”

Just a thought :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

Yea I totally agree with that.


Whitney @ Lettuce Love October 14, 2009 at 8:46 pm

All women all beautiful and the fashion world needs to realize that. Tall, short, curvy, skinny, all beautiful!


Heather October 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm

I agree with Mara’s comment. Personally, I think the Glamour thing is a publicity stunt. How can they celebrate bodies of ALL sizes and then continue to have advertisements which make women feel bad about their bodies? A lot of people are celebrating it as revolutionary and while I think it’s still a step in the right direction, it has to be genuine. If we really want to boost body image, we have to stop telling women they NEED to diet or eat this, not that or look like the models on a page. There are plenty of magazines who use only advertisers/advertisements with integrity, so until Glamour starts to practice what they preach, I think it’s it’s all a rouse.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 14, 2009 at 8:54 pm

I know what you mean. It is hard to believe the magazine is genuine when their ads do not show women of all sizes. It’s an article on accepting yourself and then an advertisement for diet pills!


Heather October 14, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Oh, and I think there’s a lot of negative implications with using the word “real” in response to women’s bodies and that photograph specifically. Lizzie Miller is a real woman the same way Kate Moss is a real woman, though their body types differ vastly. My body, which is larger than most women’s, does not make me any more or less “real” than the next.


Runnerbelle October 14, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Loved the Galmour photo, also saw the article today about the Ralph Lauren model… after modeling for the company for many years they fired her as she no longer fits in their “sample” sizes. She is obviously a thin model type…. what is the world coming to when even that body type is not good enough? We come in all shapes and sizes…. we need to celebrate health not some ideal of perfection.


Jil October 14, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Plus, I read the article…didn’t it say she was 5’10” and 120lbs? Isn’t that technically underweight for someone her height (I’m 5’10” , too). It’s not underweight by a lot but I’m pretty sure it is underweight. The image of women in the media needs to change — healthy role models need to exist..not the celebrities so say ‘oh i eat what i want” — but they don’t actually eat ANYTHING. I don’t know…as a tall woman who will NEVER be a size 2…it is a touchy subject. It amazes me that they refer to women who are 8s and 10s and plus size.


Morgan @ Life After Bagels October 14, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Hmmmmm a very controversial subject indeed. I tend go to the side that says don’t blame anyone but you if you have a poor body image. Maybe not the popular opinion, I realize. It’s like if you are sluggish and depleted because you eat junk food everyday, is it the fault of the packaged food companies, or is it that you chose that over fresh and whole foods. After that, you can decide to put your money wherever you want, like subscribing to Glamour, and not buying Ralph Lauren, but you do so feeling good about yourself not needing the magazine to confirm it.


Micco October 14, 2009 at 11:51 pm

There are many factors that influence body image, but it’s absolutely erroneous to say that cultural standards and media messages aren’t/can’t be apart of that. Even if someone actively avoids these things, is even intellectually above them, the mere fact that they exist within a certain culture means they’re subject to that culture’s messages. We may be able to pick the foods we eat, but by and large, we can’t pick the cultures we live in nor regulate exactly how much we’re influenced by them. For that reason, your argument is what’s known as a “false analogy.”

Now, the popular opinion of scientists right now is that EDs are switches in our DNA waiting to get flipped by external factors. For some, it can be traumatic events. For others, something caused the person to be undernourished (dieting, busy lifestyle, whatever), which essentially caused the ED to “click.” The fact of the matter is, when a certain body type is framed in a positive context, that’s one more pressure against the ED switch. Couple that with our culture’s relentless fat phobia and this obsession that everyone is getting obese (and that “fat” people must be “fat” because they make poor lifestyle choices, which also means that they must be unhealthy!) – there are a lot of messages floating around that demand we get/stay thin. This kind of pressure doesn’t always result in an eating disorder (mostly because not everyone has that genetic predisposition), but body image woes afflict way more than those getting hospitalized for them.

And consider this: in this consumer culture, companies make money off making us feel bad. We’re offered archetypes of what we’re supposed to be, then all the products and processes to get there (for a small fee, of course). It takes Herculean amounts of strength to be completely immune to that, even if we don’t give into it with our money. I applaud those that are immune – envy them, in fact – but for most of us, we’re varying degrees of not there. In fact, I’m someone who consciously refuses to give into certain beauty standards (e.g. I don’t shave or wear deodorant) and makes choices to avoid those extra pressures (e.g. I don’t own a TV or buy magazines); I run anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five miles a week, and I eat a whole-foods vegan diet. Yet still, I struggle immensely with my body image. I have a really hard time keeping a consistent weight (actually, I have health problems because of it), and while those issues would probably still exist in a world without Ralph Lauren, every little message that reinforces my insecurities about my stomach, my hips, my thighs – every message makes my issues that much harder to get over. It’s incredibly short-sighted and ignorant to reduce this issue to “poor choices” and weakness because there’s a hell of a lot that goes into why we feel the way we do about our bodies. And, yes, the media can be a factor in that!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 15, 2009 at 9:33 am

Great thoughts, thanks for sharing.

This reminds me of a concept in psychology called the Ecological Systems Theory by Urie Bronfenbrenner.

Basically it looks at development within the context of the system of relationships that form the environment. http://pt3.nl.edu/paquetteryanwebquest.pdf

I have always agreed with this model and I truly believe that EVERYTHING is related and EVERYTHING is connected. We are not rocks and we are not islands.


leatitia October 14, 2009 at 8:52 pm

I’m going to be really honest with you here. At first I saw plus-sized model’s face and thought “Wow she’s gorgeous!”. Then I saw her belly and as much as I don’t want to think this way, I had a negative thought and was feeling sorry for her. Poor her, she has a belly.

I KNOW that my initial reaction is my real genuine feeling about her, because I mean, look at her, she’s gorgeous. Then came the distortions from magazines and tv shows. The believe that being thin is the only ideal is now so deep within my mind that it PUSHED away the positive thought and replaced it with a negative view about this obviously gorgeous woman.

After thinking that thought, I had to repeat to myself: “No! She’s Perfect! Stop!” It is very hard to step away from all the misconceptions about beauty that is shown to us since we’re little girls. Even going out on the streets, sometimes I look at women adbomens and feel sorry for them. It is a line of thoughts that I’m ashamed of and that try my best to stay away from. Your waist line does NOT define you. It is not an easy process but I try everyday.

I think medias should broadcast women of all sizes. This picture made me realize how deeply their beauty representation affects me and how it needs to change. Now.


Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers) October 14, 2009 at 8:53 pm

That whole “real women have curves” business pisses me off. In fact, I’ve got like my 10th blog post on the subject scheduled to publish within the next 5 days :P


Erin October 14, 2009 at 8:54 pm

1. Glamour loves featuring “regular women” and patting themselves on the back for encourage us to love our bodies. Flip the page and they’re telling you to lose weight by eating 1200 calories a day, exercising for an hour, and using a stick thin model to illustrate the story. I hate Glamour for this b.s. and womens’ magazines in general – their sole purpose is to make you feel bad about yourself.

2. Karl Lagerfeld is an amazing man. Seriously. Have you seen “Lagerfeld Confidential”? He does not live in a normal world populated by regular looking people – he lives in a world of pure glamour that exists only in his mind! He is batshit crazy and hasn’t eaten anything more in the past 5 years than diet coke. The starvation means the occasional insane comment is bound to eventually escape his lips.

3. That ad really makes me sad. She looks so scary!


Heather October 14, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Oh, and one more comment: if you have the time, you should definitely read this –> http://www.aef.com/industry/news/data/hot_issues/1361


Marilyn October 14, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Amen to all of what you said, Angela! Women come in all shapes and sizes, and a size 2 is NOT what all women are meant to be. That Ralph Lauren ad is just ridiculous, and I get so tired of seeing airbrushed women in magazines. Those women don’t look like that, even in real life.

This video was tweeted by Stacy London of What Not to Wear, and I LOVE IT.

(the Evolution video, in case the link doesn’t work right).


Susan October 14, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I’m more disturbed by the amount of retouching that goes into magazine photos. Do we even know what’s real anymore? Most movie stars are unrecognizable on magazine covers because their image has been distorted so much to look “better.” When will they realize that eye-catching beauty is NATURAL beauty??


leslie October 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm

this whole issue just makes my blood boil. i’m trying not to go on a tirade in your comments section lol – but i agree with everything you’ve said. i especially agree that there is no “real” woman. we are all real. we need to stop trying to be something or someone else, and just be who we are.

i actually posted about the glamour photo a few weeks ago: http://www.thewholeplate.com/2009/09/01/high-fashion-forward-thinking/

lagerfeld’s comment drove me nuts – it’s statements like that that make people think you can’t be thin if you eat a normal amount of food, and that if you aren’t the lowest weight possible, you must be lazy and eat horribly.

i truly love fashion as an art form, but i hate so many, many aspects of the industry. it’s a constant struggle for me. i’m glad you posted about this.


Michelle Gay October 14, 2009 at 9:05 pm

I just showed the RL picture to a co-worker of mine..a male..and he goes ‘why didn’t they just keep her the way that she was, she’s smokin’. I think that it is about being healthy, it’s about having a healthy lifestyle and it’s about loving yourself. That’s why I put up my post called “exposed”. I may or may not fit into the size that is protrayed in Glamour…but that most important thing is that women are healthy. Size/Body image is such a fine line to thread because it objectives a standard of beauty that takes into NO consideration diet, mental well-being, personality.


Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries October 14, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Great post! I think Glamours efforts were likely a mix of publicity & genuine care for promoting positive, REAL body images.

that RL ad SICKENED me. i don’t know anyone who would look at that and admire the fashion OR the model. she is so stunning without being altered. i’d be so curious to know what logic was behind the airbrushing decision


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 14, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Do you think the ad was air brushed to this extreme because it ran in Japan and women there are under such extreme pressure to be under weight?


Lynna October 15, 2009 at 12:05 am

I think that’s a good hypothesis. I traveled China last summer (as well as Japan) to do a study abroad program. I remember speaking with my Chinese language partner, who was a perfectly normal thin weight, about how she felt like she was chubby. She would also tell me about how many girls she knew in school took diet pills or skipped dinner in favor of the gym.

It’s a difficult situation because since most Asian women are naturally petite, small boned and thin, the ‘thin ideal’ in many Asian countries seems to be even more radical than what exists in the United States.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

It seems as if these companies tailor the degree of air-brushing to suit the norms of that particular country! Its sad.


Hannah October 14, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Ange I’m so glad you are bringing this up! Also,
did you know that they fired the model who was airbrushed from Ralph Lauren? And also, even if the picture was only for Japan-NO country should have that ideal!! Don’t you think?


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 14, 2009 at 9:32 pm

totally agree…and yes I read that she got fired.


Lizzie October 14, 2009 at 9:25 pm

I read in a British paper today that the RL model was fired (or let go) for not being thin enough!!! She was sad about it since she had a contract with them since she was 15, BUT she also said how much pressure she was under and how upset she was when she found out the Japanese ad.
Another controversy was the SELF magazine Kelly Clarkson cover, where she was so blatantly airbrushed, even though the magazine promoted her as being happy ‘at her best self’. I know the editor got a lot of flak in the press and on her blog and suspect they lost a significant number of readers because of the cover, but also because of the editor’s PR lines defending their actions.
There needs to be some change from the ridiculously skinny models we see now, but Angela is right in saying that every type should be respected. Unfortunately there is a lot of money riding on the fashion and advertising industries, but as the Glamour mag cover showed, grassroots can have an impact.


gina (fitnessista) October 14, 2009 at 9:26 pm

i think women in general are beautiful and the fact that they alter the pictures so much is what irks me


Michelle October 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I just want to say that I am so impressed with how much time and effort you obviously put into your posts, Angela! I look forward to reading each and every one.

This is a loaded topic for me as well. I was the chubby teenager who longed to be as thin as those models. I watched America’s Next Top Model just wishing I looked like them. I tried to stop eating, just to be thin. I am in a much healthier frame of mind today, but that longing is still there. When I picture my ultimate goal weight, I want it to be tiny. Part of me still wants to be model thin. I realize it’ll never happen, but man, if I could have one wish granted, it’d be that. I’m just so easliy affected by images I see in the media.

I’m still working on accepting and loving my body, as it is. It’s a slow process. I feel like I’ve been brainwashed, and I’m trying to get back to “normal.” To loving “normal.”



Tracey @ TropicalHappiness October 14, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Definitely a hot topic! I applaud Glamour for the picture they used in their magazine, and I applaud the model even more. However, I do think it is a bit of a publicity stunt. For two reasons. One, I think they positioned her to make her look like she has a bit more of a gut than she does. Most people, leaning forward like that over a band of underwear, will probably have a bit of a gut, even if it is just skin. If she had been standing up or in a different pose, I think she would have looked even more thin & people wouldn’t have thought “wow, look at her stomach.” I mean, I’m glad they did it, and I think it got people talking. And if they reached only a few woman by making them think “Wow, she has a gut, just like me, and she is beautiful” then I think they did well.
But I also think it’s a bit problematic when a magazine posts a story like that to tell women that they should love themselves just the way they are, yet also runs articles on getting skinny and losing weight in the same issue. I understand that getting skinny and losing weight aren’t bad things, but they don’t really focus on articles about feeling your best or being as healthy as possible. Instead, they usually focus on image.


maria October 14, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Love the first picture. I thought she was gorgeous, too, when I first saw the photo. We all have different bodies, but until the world/people come to terms with that nothing can change.


Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) October 14, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I am in shock by that retouched picture – insane … absolutely insane.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 14, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I thought it was a joke!


Nikki T October 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

I would have to agree that I thought it was a joke- it doesn’t even look real in the least…
I never watch those “Insider” gossip type shows, but I happened to be cooking and it came on. They had a blurb about this RL thing and I was just absolutely disgusted. No wonder young girls, teens, women feel so inadequate these days…so sad.


Katie October 14, 2009 at 9:42 pm

I have a copy of that Glamour issue and the first thing I did was tear out the picture of the two plus-size models so I could put it up on my wall. This specific article was so inspiring and really helped me stay on the right track. We are ALL beautiful, no matter what size. Those woman have BEAUTIFUL curves, BEAUTIFUL faces, and BEAUTIFUL hearts. Their smiles show it all. Screw Ralph Lauren for that absurd depiction of that model. Blasphemy.


Rebekah October 14, 2009 at 9:57 pm

I totally agree with Tracey @ TropicalHappiness regarding the Glamour article being a publicity stunt. The first thing I thought was that she was beautiful, then that if she was standing up, she likely would not have a stomach roll! I will never be a size 2 (it’s just not in my body frame) but have learned to love my curves, mainly because I know I am healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. It irks me when people talk about heavier or “thick” women being real. That’s a bunch of B.S.! We are ALL real women!


Sarah R October 14, 2009 at 9:58 pm

That touched up photo makes me sick. I showed it to my husband and he was appalled. Who thinks this is the way a woman should look? Ugh!


Dori October 14, 2009 at 10:13 pm

It is all ridiculous and it certainly affects how I see myself, as much as I know better and know it shouldn’t. Many of us can’t help but compare ourselves to waif thin models and I think we all want to see someone who represents our own body type in a magazine. And since we ALL have different body types, magazines should have models with all different types as well — in the same issue and every issue.

What I’d want to see most is a thin model with some tummy and side fat. That is what I look like and I sometimes just want so much to see someone like me represented.


Lauren October 14, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Something else I get really tired of in the fashion industry is that so much is catered for women over 5′ 4.” As someone who is barely 5 feet 3 in. I think it’s pretty annoying to only see tall models and to search so hard for clothes that fit my petite frame.


Steph @ My Life In Motion October 14, 2009 at 11:10 pm

@Lauren….I’m 5’10 and nothing fits me at all. I’m way too tall for most of the industry. I have no idea why companies want tall models when their clothes are meant for someone who is 5’6″.


Nikki T October 15, 2009 at 10:04 am

Totally agree here! I’m 5’1″…not many stores carry pants that come in “short”, so unless you want to hem (and who wants to do that!) it’s pretty limited!
Of course, I could just live in Lulu pants…where the hemming is free ;)

Every so often, mostly in my high school years, people would give me grief and make comments about how short I was/am. Luckily, I’ve never been one to mind being short…but I know some girls and women feel like they’d rather be taller.

Short is BEAUTIFUL too!


Steph @ My Life In Motion October 14, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I completely agree with the whole “real” women thing. It irritates me to no end that people imply that only plus-sized women are “real.” I’ve never been plus-sized in my life, yet I’ve never been model stick-thin. We’re all real, regardless of size.

The other word I hate? Curvy. As soon as a woman describes herself as “curvy”, she means she is plus-sized. Why is that? I have plenty of curves at my height (5’10”) and weight (148lbs).


Micco October 14, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Do you ever look at the The F Word? (http://the-f-word.org/blog/) They’ve been having incredibly awesome discussions on all these topics and more lately. And the author (who’s from my hometown!) always has poignant things to say, even if I don’t always agree. Definitely check that blog out.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 15, 2009 at 9:27 am

No I havent but I will check it out- thanks!


Kailey (SnackFace) October 15, 2009 at 2:21 am

Angela!!! Thank you for this post. The term “real women” is so frustrating. Like you said, we’re all “real.”

It’s rather disgusting that either way, thin or not, women are bombarded with messages, most of which are directed by other women. For example, those who look down on thin women say “real women have curves” and those on the thin side look down on heavier women as “lazy” or what have you. It’s B.S. both ways. We are just people, living, breathing, eating, loving. And as someone who is on the tall, thinner side, it can be rough to get accusing questions as to whether/how much/ what I eat, and I would never ask that of someone heavier. This happened to me tonight, actually. I point them to my blog. Yes, I eat. I eat a lot more than pictured, too. It’s such a touchy subject that really gets me going- sorry for the odd rant! Haha.

Anyway, thanks for bringing this up!


Emmanuelle October 15, 2009 at 4:28 am

Hi Angela,

Totally agree with you on this.
I do think the Glamour feature was a publicity stunt, however if it helped even only one woman coming to terms with her body image, then ok fine, there is still something positive out of it.

Regarding Karl, well… unfortunately that’s the way he is. He is a real genius in terms of designing clothes, but it is a well-known fact that he designs clothes to be worn by coat hangers basically :-D I believe he meant every word he said, and also that he knew perfectly well the kind of reaction it would get, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he finds this controversy extremely funny.

And the RL ad well, what more can I say that the other commenters haven’t said yet? It’s just plain sad, both the ad and that she was fired because she was “too heavy” (???).

Thanks for this post!


Meghan October 15, 2009 at 4:59 am

I too was disgusted by the retouching, but sadly not surprised. I am so glad you wrote this post, I am naturally a fairly thin girl and it REALLY bothers me when people think that you’re only REAL or NORMAL if you’re curvy or thick. That just makes people who are thinner feel abnormal and like there is something wrong with them. I was always called skinny while I was growing up, which I feel has a negative connotation to it and even as a little girl I would get soo so upset. I think it’s important to accept everyone for who they are and stop judging people or making comments about their size and shape. We are ALL beautiful, and that comes from the inside first! When you feel good about yourself, you look good..and we should ALL feel good about ourselves!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 15, 2009 at 9:26 am

I agree.
It really hit home for me when readers started emailing me telling me that they had been made fun of their whole lives or received negative comments from coworkers because they were ‘too thin’ when in reality that is how they always were and how their body was meant to be.


Aoife October 15, 2009 at 5:04 am

I agree with so many things said here! Great post as always Angela.

One thing that I hope doesn’t happen is that Glamour do a ‘real women’ issue and then go back to their usual ways. On Jezebel.com they showed the picture of the ‘plus size’ (who aren’t ‘fat’ or ‘big’ at all!!) models – but it was basically a naked shoot. That really disappointed me. We don’t just want to see them all naked! We want them to show us how clothes look on them too.

I feel like there’s a revolution happening in the minds of the readers of magazines, but the editors and writers have yet to properly acknowledge that.

And I agree that the term ‘real women’ is just silly. We’re ALL real women, and we don’t all have to subscribe to the same version of beauty. Beauty does NOT come in one form.

PS. Angela, I don’t know if you’ve read The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolff but I think you’d really find it fascinating!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 15, 2009 at 9:24 am

No I havent but I would love to pick it up sometime!


crgilvr October 15, 2009 at 5:53 am

The RL ad reminds me of an obviously anorexic girl who I see running every morning on the college campus where I work. I want to gently take her arm and lead her across the street to our hospital’s eating disorders program, which is literally 100 yards from the parking garage where she’s running up and down the ramps like a hamster on a wheel.


Neela Marijana October 15, 2009 at 7:08 am

i live in singapore which is also an asian city and i can just say that the pressure to be thin is much much greater than in europe or the states. the thing is that asians are bulid much smaller than us westerners. so a western model has to be extremlly thin to make it big in the aisan market. sadly here its not about being thin its about being skinny. and that includes bmi under 17.5 which technically is anorexic weight!


happyherbivore October 15, 2009 at 8:54 am

the first model is stunning. she’s perfect, as we all are. Filippa is also gorgeous. If she’s “too fat” at 5’10” and 120 lbs, I’d hate to see what they would call me at 5’8″ and 145. I cannot imagine losing 20+ lbs on my frame, let alone adding on 2 more inches.

I love fashion but am sick of the industry — but the only way it will change is if we VOTE THAT WAY WITH OUR DOLLARS. If magazines with fuller women sell well, they will continue to use them, but if those mags dont sell as well as the ones with the stick figures, the industry – the models will never change. We can praise and leave comments all we want, but its up to us to buy the magazines which support what we say we want.

I for one hope we start seeing models like cindy crawford and mariyln monroe and not kate moss-types.


Hayley October 15, 2009 at 9:20 am

Amen sister! You are an inspiration- thank you for taking the stance that you do. We all need a little reminder every once in awhile that we are perfect just the way that we are!


Gillian October 15, 2009 at 10:11 am

I am hoping to see more of a movement towards a new idea of beauty. I think a lot of people are getting tired of seeing fake boobs, botox faces and tummy tucks. We all went nuts over Susan Boyle, and I think we want to see more of that. And I like that you say “Real women” should mean women of all sizes. We are all critical of ourselves no matter what we are, and need to find value beyond an image of what we think we’re supposed to look like.


Claire October 15, 2009 at 10:13 am

Now I remember why I had all those eating disorders most of my life.Hmmmm…I think I’ll go get a bagel sandwich now:-) cc


Tina October 15, 2009 at 10:32 am

I agree with you–that model does NOT look plus-sized!! Our view of what is right and wrong is so skewed. And the Ralph Lauren ad. What the heck. That looks so wrong it’s embarrassing for them. It looks totally fake on the one hand, but they shouldn’t even TRY to make the model that skinny. Ughhhh these industries are terrible.


Tammy (Defining Wellness) October 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

You know, the weird thing about that airbrushed picture is that it looks so fake, it’s laughable. She looks like a barbie doll with an oversized head. Very weird. And in real life, she is beautiful! I would have been infinitely more likely to want to buy the clothes in the ad if Ralph Lauren just used the real girl!


Krista October 15, 2009 at 10:48 am

That Ralph Lauren photo sickened me. Good Lord.

The first thing I thought when I saw the Glamour photo a few weeks ago was “Hey! My tummy looks like that!” I couldn’t stop staring at the picture because I thought she looked great….and not particularily “plus size” either….


christie @ honoring health October 15, 2009 at 11:21 am

Awesome post, Angela. As a plus sized person, I am glad to see that the media is starting to even acknowledge that was we have been taught as beautiful isn’t real. Everything we see on magazines is airbrushed and young girls don’t know that and then grow up to believe they are not good enough. I’ve done a lot of work to heal my ED and my relationship with my body and I wish I could say that I never struggle anymore but I do. But I am going to keep working on it and in the meantime, I will continue to spread the message that no matter our size, we are perfect just the way we are.


Jenn (Eating Bender) October 15, 2009 at 11:29 am

Great post, Angela. I can’t get over that picture – it really does make me sick to my stomach to see them do that to someone! The fact that she got fired makes me even more upset. I’m glad there are amazing women like you that are making a difference in society’s perceptions :)


Jordan October 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

Have you seen the new RL ad? Apparently they haven’t received enough negative feedback (or maybe it had already gone to print) to reevaluate their standards.

I’m so surprised that this comes from a company like Ralph Lauren. Juicy, Victorias Secret, Ed Hardy, etc maybe, but Ralph Lauren, Gap, JCrew, etc always just had this classic look to their models. Really sad state we’re in. And I can’t even get started on Karl Lagerfeld, pssh!


Becky October 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm

This is a great topic! It is something women have struggled with for so long. There are the ones killing themselves and starving themselves because society says they are not skinny enough and then there are the ones having surgery because society says they are not curvy enough! Yes, I am trying to loose weight because I’d like to look better on my wedding day, but I am also striving for health so I can be here as long as I can for my children. Every woman is different and we should embrace what we were born with and make the best of it. I have looked at a thin healthy not so curvacious women and thought “She is beautiful. No wonder people fall all over her”. I’ve also looked at a healthy-looking curvacious woman and thought the same thing. The portrayal of women in the fashion world is what I consider to be unhealthy.

As for what KL said, it is not the thin model that people consider “ugly”. It is the airbrushed unrealistic version or the ones that just look like a shell of a person because of all the pressure they go through to be in that industry. I may not be at my ideal weight but I am certainly not a fat zombie eating crisps watching tv either. Furthermore, when I reach my ideal weight, it will be the weight I feel is ideal, not that society has deemed as ideal.

As for


Kat - Curves for Life October 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm

This makes me want to cry. I wish we could stop even mentioning sizes and weights. Rather than talking about weight loss and weight gain we should just assess how our daily lives are working out for us and how we feel.

In my closet I have at least 4 different sizes that all fit the same. I hop on one scale and it says I am 10 pounds heavier than another scale. Why do I care?


Cynthia (It All Changes) October 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

The last two just horrified me. I hope that the glamour photo is just a start to showing real women of all sizes in magazines. It’s unfair that some models starve themselves just so they can model. Being a regular person is just as beautiful.


E.S. October 15, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Wow. That is rather sad. I have always been rather been offended by the unrealistic “skinnY” models in skimpy dresses. The models lives are so empty. I don’t really think they’re very happy and I feel so sorry for their vain lives. That isn’t right to put a woman into a mold of a certain weight, height, and required measurement. That makes me kind of upset but I just hope that the whole “fashion model” fad goes away. I really do not appreciate it and cringe at all the magazines lining the racks at grocery stores. Wow Angela. I’d much rather be fit and happy then thin and unhappy… But, that’s not to say that there aren’t girls who are naturally thin. And they’re are girls who are naturally just average. Just don’t press them into a mold that they are not. :-) Right?


AGS October 15, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Without a doubt, the fashion world shapes how I view myself. I have a great body — I know it, my husband tells me so, and so do countless others. But I’m not “skinny”. Thin, yes. Fit, yes. Great definition, you bet. But “skinny”. . . no. And I *still* find myself thinking that I’m not “thin” — model thin, that is. I’ve spent some time trying to figure it out, and I’ve been left with the simple conclusion that “seeing is believing”. Why I see tends to inform what I believe about the world, just like what I smell tends to inform what my appetite is.

But there is something interesting in this. Namely, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the fashion world. You think most of the people in fashion give a d-mn about you and me? They live in their own world. And, that is a real world — a world where women (and men) are paid based upon how they look. Just because that will never be my world doesn’t mean they have to modify their photos. If that’s what they want to do, who am I to say they can’t? The fashion world, like the artistic world, will always tend toward extremes. I think the “full model” is just another avenue of expression and experimentation for the fashion world.


kb October 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I think the Glamour picture was a stunt, but I also think if good comes from it, then it doesn’t matter that they “only” did it to raise sales. Adding self-esteem to the world doesn’t always have to come at a sacrifice. My problem is, they had that one small picture that took up, what? A fourth of a page? In one issue. In the page numbers >100. I’d be much more impressed if they had a regular feature, and made it a full page photo. It seems like that would help the magazine sales, as well as being good for the world.


Lisa-Marie October 19, 2009 at 10:14 am

Karl Lagerfeld doesn’t like round women and he THINKS he speaks for everyone, but he obviously does NOT.
The Ralph Lauren model looks completely deformed to me. It’s a pity the model’s photo was airbrushed and I can’t believe she was fired for being too heavy!
The only way to get magazines to do what WE want is to write to editors and tell them and then stop buying the magazine until they change.
Why do we need them anyway?? I look at fashion as art. I’m an artist when I create an outfit to wear, whether I bought the clothing at a regular store or a thrift shop, or I’ve kept something from another decade and brought it out again because I like it. Not because someone told me that I ought to like it.
Sheesh! Let’s stop being a bunch of sheep and start being the bunch of unique individuals that we always SAY we are!


Jen October 20, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Have you seen the most recent RL ad? http://photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com/2009/10/ralph-lauren-hits-keep-on-coming.html


Beverly October 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Hi Angela! Obviously I am very behind in my Google Reader, hence the super late response!

I don’t comment often, but when I saw this ad in Glamour I was floored by how beautiful this woman is. I immediately showed my husband, who said she was the most real and beautiful woman he’d ever seen in a magazine. Inparticular, he said it appears as though she has been pregnant at some point, which makes her that much more beautiful (he thinks pregnant women are amazingly beautiful).. his comments really struck me and I was so encouraged by them!

Not sure if this show is on in Canaba, but “One Tree Hill” is one of my favorites! Right now they are dealing with this very issue of female body image. One of the characteers is a clothing designer and was holding a fashion show. One of her models was unavailable, so she had her assistant stand in. She walked the runway in a trench coat, and at the end of the runway, ripped it open to reveal her in shorts and a tank top, that said “zero is not a size.” In the show, the designer wants to start a whole line based on the slogan, and I love it!!

I’ve also been meaning to let you know about a song that came out a few months ago… I think of your blog everytime I hear it!! “Fight Like A Girl” by Bomshel. Makes me cry everytime… great message! :-)

Keep glowing!!


Christian November 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I love a woman with curves. Nothing like snuggling with a curvaceous woman!


kristy November 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Glamour has too thin models. All the magazines have too thin models. STOP SUPPORTING THE MAGS. Take some action instead of yammering about it. We got to vote in N.Amer because women took action, not because they complained about men voting.

I am tired of hearing the constant whining about its the magazines fault. It’s your fault you subscribe to this tripe. Yes we are bombarded by messages, however we can remove a lot of them from our lives and shelves. ACTION people.
Rubenesque, Twiggy, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it changes all the time. Mags and clothing designers are in the business to make money. Hit there where it hurts. I will not die(t) to be a size 0 so I can buy that gorgeous little number.


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