Monday, January 4, 2010

Marie Claire's Cover Isn't Perfect

Seriously, we are a big ol' bunch of whingers aren't we? One thing I've learnt in running my own business is that you can't please all the people all the time, though of course you can give it a darned good try. It seems Marie Claire editor Jackie Frank is copping both high praise and a heck of alot of flak for publishing an 'untouched' nude pic of Jennifer Hawkins on the front cover of the Feb issue, out Jan 6th.  

It's simultaneously a "PR stunt", "positive step forward", "unfair example"....and everybody has an opinion. Do you look at the picture of Ms Hawkins and feel a little thrill at noticing some thigh dimples? Or do you think it's an unfair example because she was Miss Universe and therefore, genetically blessed and completely unrelatable?

According to the article, Jennifer works hard to look as great as she does, photoshop or not, by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. Surely we can all realise that we're not ever really going to look like her, but we can at least try to follow her example of healthy living?

Body image is, of course, an important social issue that needs to be highlighted. Marie Claire have at least brought the issue back into the spotlight once again. We shouldn't be demeaning the article and images because "of course she looks good untouched, she's naturally stunning"; nor should we assume it's a radical development in the way magazines will continue to portray women - publicists and A-List celebs will see to that.

Frank states that the Government needs to "get more serious" about addressing the body image issue, saying it's Proposed National Strategy on Body Image had no impact on the images, and better public health funding for the treatment of eating disorders and obesity is what's really needed. True - but magazines and the media do have an awful lot of power when it comes to the images women see everyday. We are so used to seeing blemish- and wrinkle-free, impossibly thin, toned and tanned bodies that our collective consciousness assumes that is what we are meant to look like. If we begin to see more 'real' women (and heck, they don't even have to be nude) on the pages of our magazines, slowly but surely the tide will begin to turn. It's not up to just the media or just the Government to address the issue - imagine if the government could adequately provide help, advice and treatment for those with eating and body image disorders, which was reinforced by a media who didn't bombard us with ridiculously unnattainable images.

Marie Claire's cover isn't a giant leap forward, but it is a small step. One small step for women...

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