Monday, October 5, 2009

Plus Size Beauty in Glamour Magazine

The November issue of Glamour has a pretty cool article about recognizing the beauty of bigger bodies. It opens with an amazing photo of several plus sized models wearing nothing but strategically placed body parts. Their bodies are undeniably beautiful despite the fact that they don't measure up to current standards of beauty.

Apparently, there was an overwhelmingly positive response to a photo of a plus sized model bearing some belly rollage in their September issue. I remember this photo (I've been reading these damn magazines lately- I get them for free at work- it's a phase I hope). The picture was not part of a plus-size feature, it was simply used in an article without any mention of body types as I recall. Lots of people wrote in praising this inclusion.

As someone who is slender yet still has trouble being totally comfortable with her curvy areas, I was truly grateful for this article. After seeing this photo and being struck by how lovely these ladies looked to me, I instantly felt more accepting of my own shape.

The article also mentions that they received many negative comments about the September photo. Several people reprimanded Glamour for promoting an "unhealthy" body type and felt it supported poor choices in an already obese country.

Yes, the US has an obesity epidemic, it's true. But as one of the models points out in the article, seeing photos of very thin models and airbrushed celebrities never motivated her to make healthier choices long term. In fact, this tends to result in worsened self image and therefore more destructive choices like drastic dieting, emotional eating, and unsustainable exercise habits. According to the model, it wasn't until she came to embrace her figure that she began to reach a healthy and stable weight.

I don't think Glamour is trying to promote the fastfood approach to beauty, but rather they seem to be taking steps to be more inclusive in their definition of beauty in the first place.

Our healthiest and most beautiful shape is whatever shape we achieve when we exercise regularly and feed our bodies a diet of healthy, fresh foods on a daily basis. For some people that will look like a breastless, buttless, rail thin bean pole. For others it will look like a super curvy plus sized figure. If I can remind myself of this everyday, I'll be set.

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