Thursday, December 3, 2009

Plus Size Glamour Models, But Who’s Missing?

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According to Media Freak:

The Glamour plus-sized-model phenomenon continues to pay dividends for the magazine. The Condé Nast title caused a sensation when it featured two photos of plus-sized models in recent issues. Now, editor Cindi Leive has used one of those photos (above) in the magazine's first calendar. The "Inspiration" calendar is being bundled with a subscription offer on Glamour.com.

This is challenging images of women that have been normalized?  Really?  Okay I will give them the point that none of these women are a size two but are they really plus size women? I am quite certain that not a single one of these women is above a size 20 and therefore; it once again sends a sizest message.  If we are truly going to celebrate that women come in all sizes how about running images that really reflect that?

You will also note, that they didn’t really push themselves to be more inclusive.  They have one Black woman in this photo spread, sporting straightened hair and she represents their attempt at inclusivity.  Putting one Black woman in amongst a crowd of White women, only serves to other and create her as exotic.   News Flash:  There is more to WOC than Black women.  I suppose all of the first nations and Asian women were in hiding and steadfastly refused to pose the day this image was taken.   Diversity means adding various WOC instead of promoting the White women as the representative of beauty. 

In what seems to be the most acceptable exclusion, there are no women with visible disabilities.  Does a cane, walker, or wheelchair mean that you are somehow not beautiful or sexy?  It seems that the modern discourse is content to portray people with disabilities as asexual beings, with no human desires whatsoever; after all, who would want to sleep with the differently abled right?  

This photo is not in the least bit transgressive; it only reifies images we have already normalized.  Only in a world that is determined to ensure that certain bodies remain invisible, could this photo spread be celebrated as avant guard