"I should be thrilled that Vogue is featuring 'real' women in its latest issue. But I'm not."

I should have been thrilled to learn British Vogue features “real” women in its November issue.

I’ve been looking at magazines like Vogue for years and saying, “Ugh, more models! I just wish they would feature some REAL women”.

But that’s the thing: women have been saying this for years. Decades, even.

For too long, calls for more diversity in the ages, looks, sizes and ethnicity of the women in magazines have been seemingly falling on deaf ears — not to mention the requests to stop airbrushing women to the point of creating unnatural, unattainable images.

And now, finally — FINALLY — British Vogue has responded with ‘The Real Issue’, which has been referred to as “a model-free zone”. (Because models aren’t real women. Everybody knows that.)

It hit stands in the UK on Thursday. While I am happy women with job titles other than actress, model or lifestyle blogger – including Times Magazine columnist Melanie Reid and architectural historian Shumi Bose – will feature in the magazine, I still don’t think this is enough.

None of these everyday women make it to the front cover, firstly. That’s left to actress Emily Blunt:


The academics and businesswomen will feature in the advertorial pages and photoshoots of the magazine.

When society has come so far in terms of challenging beauty standardsVogue is a bit late to the party with their use of “real” models.

Yet their efforts are celebrated and glorified, because consumers of traditional women’s media are so starved of diversity in the images we see that we will take anything.

What I really want to ask magazine editors is this: Why relegate “real” women to a single issue of the magazine?

Ita Buttrose talks about her time in women’s magazines on No Filter. 

It should be the norm by now to have “real women” in every issue of every magazine.

Not just as a token publicity stunt, or as the editor Alexandra Shulman refers to it, “a real filter”.

So while everybody else is celebrating, I won’t be popping the champagne bottle just yet — not until this type of initiative is no longer praised, but just another magazine issue to hit the stands.