Brigitte Cover

As models continue to shrink down to inconceivable sizes, fashion magazines deny perpetuating unhealthy standards of beauty. They claim to be reflections, rather than arbiters, of public taste. But the top women’s magazine in Germany has finally put its foot down: Brigitte announced this week that it is banning professional models from its pages.

"For years we've had to use Photoshop to fatten the girls up,” says editor-in-chief Andreas Lebert. “Especially their thighs and décolletage. But this is disturbing and perverse and what has it got to do with our real reader?"

Brigitte, which sells 700,000 copies an issue, will now use real women in its fashion spreads. The magazine plans to feature both prominent and unknown women, paying them the same rate as their emaciated counterparts.

For too long, the fashion industry has packaged and sold an unattainable ideal to generations of vulnerable young women, breeding eating disorders, anxiety and endemic low self-esteem. Finally, Brigitte has taken a bold first step in a long-overdue paradigm shift. Help us demand that the other major culprits follow suit.

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    A couple of years ago, the Spanish fashion industry took a step as well. They excluded run way models if they had less than 18% of BMI, which is the standard of health according to the WHO.

    This is definitely a good progress in terms of mass media aesthetics. At the same time I believe there is a greater problem, which relates to our capacity to self-analyze, and embrace values beyond those provided by the media:Why do we need to follow mass media imagery? no matter how fat or skinny these women are?

    First of all: I am a german and I know the magazine although I don't read it. The idea is good and not new. The only problem is that the companys who are placing their ads there are still using models looking like fishbones. And even the topics of the mag won't change. They are still telling the women how to loose twenty pounds a week without abdicating only by drinking some stuff that some guru foodcoach just invented. But it's a start and why shouldn't it grow. We'll see if the turnover stays the same but I think it will decrease and then Brigitte will go back to the start. Maybe I should keep you in touch about that...

    Photography+design+artistic vision=art, which always reflects the truth back at us. When we see a giant blown up picture of a really shiny fake looking cheeseburger floating on the side of the highway, are we really that confused about the message being sent? Why wouldn't our animal instincts say: "that doesn't look like food." or "wow that is freakish and gross". ?

    I think the truth exists in every fashion photograph. Here is a common contrived fashion photo-op: A freakishly distorted vaguely androgynous woman writhing, glass-eyed and discontent or just completely vacant, her eyes are wreathed in black coal, she is in an empty room, wall paper peeling, or she is a dark and empty space. Does this woman look happy, or in love? I think nature works the truth out in the bleak symbolism of fashion photography, and the messages are clear.

    "this starving woman wears fur in a devasted landscape. she is alone, her gaze is empty."

    When models are arrayed in a group shot like alot of the Dolce&Gab ads, the all look like genderless clones, they are never engaged with each other, they all just happen to be existing in the same two page spread side by side. "Buy our thousand dollar blouses and you can exist in this social vacuum too."

    So until people can truly examine everything placed before their eyes with the curiousity and absorption and true creative thought every brain is equipped with, I think they will always find the identity-denying black-hole to tumble into, whether we change every picture in the world to a grinning size ten with freckles and frizz.

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