Women’s magazines have a complex relationship with body image and I’m a bit torn about this post. I am the first to applaud any attempts by anyone to raise awareness about issues of body image, digital lies and the way women are represented in the media. Our relationship with our looks is a complicated one, possibly the most complicated relationship in our lives.
So while I get frustrated by the tokenism inherent in glossy mags whose every image has been stretched, carved into and digitally altered to the point where it bears little resemblance to the real-life person portrayed, well, a token is better than nothing.
South African Marie Claire has done a ‘Body Issue’. Stay with me and try to get beyond the fact that Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel is on the cover in an image that’s heavily altered. Are we beyond that fact? I’m not but I’m trying. There’s a point to all this.
Here’s what the magazine had to say in a media release about their November body issue:
“What will it take for you to love your body? That’s the question we are asking readers this month,” says Aspasia Karras, editor of Marie Claire South Africa. “According to statistics, two out of every three women are unhappy with their bodies and weight. Most women wish they were skinnier. So often the media is accused of perpetuating the body-beautiful image, and this month we have decided to address this issue.”
…..we also asked six advertising agencies to conceptualize a poster campaign to communicate the concept of ‘Love Your Body’. The work speaks for itself and the message is clear: we don’t all have the same body type but, regardless of this, we are all perfect. So, what is it going to take for you to love your body?” concludes Karras.
Sigh. And also
I hate it when mags wring their hands about how many women are unhappy with their bodies without addressing or even acknowledging the role they play in creating and nurturing that unhappiness.
Perhaps we’d all be a lot happier with our bodies if magazines like Marie Claire didn’t use photoshop to alter the faces and bodies of women who are recognised as being the most beautiful in the world.
And didn’t run stories like “Freeze your fat off!” and “Life after lipo!” and “21 Days To Get Bikini Ready”
Deep breath. Moving forward.
Have a look at these campaign images created by advertising agencies. See what you think. Do they speak to you?
Which ad do you think is the most effective?