Lately, Europe seems to be eons ahead of us regarding their recognition that the fashion and media having a significantly unhealthy effect on women’s body image. The latest is Germany’s most popular women’s magazine’s announcement of their intention to omit professional models from their pages in an effort to combat unrealistic social beauty standards:
The editor-in-chief of Germany’s bimonthly Brigitte told reporters that, starting next year, the magazine will feature a mix of prominent women and regular readers in photo spreads for everything from beauty to fashion to fitness.
Andreas Lebert said the move is a response to readers increasingly saying that they are tired of seeing “protruding bones” from models who weigh far less than the average woman.
“We will show women who have an identity — the 18-year-old student, the head of the board, the musician, the football player,” Andreas Leberts said in Hamburg, where the magazine, published by Gruner+Jahr, is based.
I like this sentiment; we should humanize models not just as “more realistic” subjects of voyeurism. I just worry these kinds of efforts (cough, Dove, cough) often end up having some contradicting issues to contend with – like if the new magazine’s campaign consists of shaming underweight women, that’s not very productive either.
Either way, it’s interesting to see how fast the efforts to combat body image issues and eating disorders are spreading among the fashion and media industries on one continent, while others (ahem) seem to be at a standstill.