Elle Magazine Defends Airbrushing!

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So we’ve seen how some women’s magazine editors are responding to the anti-airbrush movement taking hold across the country. Seventeen first balked a bit, then decided to go with it by offering their Body Peace Treaty and reminding readers they would never alter a girl’s appearance.

Teen Vogue, on the other hand, told the young women who asked them to stop airbrushing images that they didn’t know what they were talking about and pulled out back issues that showcased how diverse the images they publish are.

Well, in Augusts’ Elle mag, Editor-in-chief Robbie Meyers takes it further. She wants to defend the airbrush.

Ms. Meyers mentions the recent anti-airbrush movement in her letter from the editor as though it’s the most misguided notion she’s encountered in the entire publishing world.

She tells readers the National Academy of Sciences is trying to define what “impossibly beautiful” means in response to legislation in the UK that requires airbrushed images to be labeled as such. She also mentions the Dartmouth researchers who recently have devised a metric tool to rate how far a picture has strayed from reality. And she points out their claim that viewing these unrealistic images leads to eating disorders like anorexia.

The best part though, is that Ms. Meyers has found a doctor, yup, a real MD, albeit a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, Dr. Scott Rosen,  who actually reminds us that eating disorders are as old as the Bible. Oh yes, that’s right. The mention of eating disorders apparently popped up in literature some 200 years ago. So of course they are not attributed to unrealistic images of too thin, too perfect, flawless images of women splashed on every page then, right?

Ms. Meyers is not a fan of any proposed regulation putting disclaimers on images that note they are retouched. In fact, she says that her chocolate bar never looks as creamy and delicious as the picture shows it is, and cars aren’t really that sexy either. Worse, the milk in her cereal isn’t really that white. Hmmm. She wants to know if we should put disclaimers on those photos.

Are you still following?

In other words, apparently nothing in advertisements in magazines or on TV really looks as good as they claim it does, so why bother worrying if women in magazines look too thin or too perfect or too airbrushed either? After all, eating disorders have been around for 200 years, girls have had low self-esteem for decades; women have had issues with their bodies going back to Eve in the Garden of Eden, right? So who cares if women and young girls measure themselves against the perfected, false, digitized images of flawless skin and nipped in waists, perky breasts and limbs like reeds?

Well I do. What about you?

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3 responses »

  1. You know what was one of the things I liked best about the Olympics opening ceremony? The parade of nations, b/c it was such a visual reminder that beauty comes in many different forms, shapes and colors.

    Granted, those athletes are all in peak physical condition, but it was still a much more diverse example of “women” and “men” than the magazines show us.

    • Very True Jenny! The beauty of each nation’s people is something we don’t often get to see all at once like that! Plus, we’re so accustomed to thinking what the media tells us to think is beautiful. What about what we think is?! Like um, some un-airbrushed images.

  2. Pingback: Women Against Women: How the Media Denigrates Moms

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