Friday, November 14, 2014

Stop Applauding Vogue

This week Kim Kardashian's arse may have broke the internet, but there was another story making the rounds and it revolved around butts as well. The hero? Vogue. The act of awesomeness? A popular high-fashion magazine participating in a plus-size photo shoot. While people are applauding and calling it revolutionary, I'm over here perfecting my eye-roll and snort of derision. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing curvaceous women in the fashion industry and praise magazines that hire unique models to sell their clothes and brand.

But commending Vogue for hiring models for a 'plus-sized' photo shoot? I think not. 

In 2012, Vogue signed a six point agreement to promote a 'healthy body image' with their magazine. To do this, they vowed to 'not knowingly work with models under 16 who appear to have an eating disorder and to encourage designers to consider consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes'. And the world patted them on the back, except they took the accolades but refused to change. Not only is it appalling the magazine needed outside influence to reach the decision not to hire sixteen year olds with unrealistic bodies (unrealistic because these pubescent girls are tiny tobstart with thrn undergo mass photo-shopping), they didn't actually agree to anything. The vernacular used tiptoed around any real commitment. With terms like 'not knowingly' and 'encourage designers' they are basically saying, if we don't flat out ask, then we can claim ignorance. 

And ignorant, they are not. They know exactly what they are doing. The fashion industry loves perpetuating unhealthy body images. They want women to see the models in their magazines and feel supremely disappointed in themselves. Why? Because it sells. 

In 2013 a former Vogue Australia editor, Kristie Clements, came forward and shed light on the horrific truth many models live with. She talked about how models eat tissue to curb hunger and use hospital drips to get nutrients instead of eating. The blatant truth, the majority of the fashion industry, Vogue included, ignore the signs of anorexia, even more, they celebrate unhealthy desires. Kind of makes it clear Vogue didn't change, not even after the editors signed a pact to 'encourage healthier body image within the industry'.

Does it sound like I'm calling Vogue a liar? Is it coming across as though I suspect this most recent photo-shoot is simply a publicity ploy? That they are merely out for some praise? To sell a few more magazines? Shut up the pitchfork people who are screaming for equality in all sizes and shapes? And that they will just go back to their ways of immortalizing unrealistic expectations? 

If so, I'm articulating myself perfectly. This is exactly what I think. And it pisses me off. 

The women in this 'plus size' spread are not even plus size. They are average, some of them even thin, especially when you consider the average size of an American woman is a 14. Vogue doesn't deserve a pat on the back for showcasing these women, they deserve a punch in the face for not doing it sooner. They aren't doing anything revolutionary. This isn't their standard. It's just a social media stunt to gain attention. 

To be honest, I'm not going to be happy until every single magazine has women of all sizes, from zeros to 16 and up to 56 (I don't even know if there is a size 56, actually). I am tried of us all being divided into groups. Skinny girls can be in this magazine, but fat girls have to be in another - God forbid if they are together. It doesn't end there either, the separation runs deep. Blondes on the left, brunettes on the right, and redheads straight to the back. Lesbians stand up and straight people sit down. Asians can go in the Fall edition and we will showcase Spanish women in August. 

I want plus sized models to simply be called models. Is that too much to ask? 

The bright side is there are wonderful magazines out there that actually promote healthy body image and showcase women of all shapes, races, and religions. Pick up the latest edition of Bust, Curvy, and Love  if you are interested in seeing a bit more variety, or check out the website Style has NO size. But as for Vogue, just stop applauding them, they don't deserve it. 

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