In recent weeks, female magazine readers were stunned by something so shocking, so rare and completely intoxicating in the pages of the usually standard Glamour magazine: A belly.
A gorgeous woman had the sheer audacity, among the couture-clad and airbrushed models, to sit, even when she was not the magazine standard Size 0.
Tucked safely into Page 194 of the publication was Lizzi Miller, a 20-year-old plus-sized model who Glamour says was chosen for the photo because of how confident and happy she looked in her own skin. While it doesn’t sound like very many people are talking about the accompanying story, it’s “What Everyone But You Sees About Your Body,” no one could stop talking about Miller, whose tummy was right there for the world to see — and she was smiling about it.
Call me a skeptic, but when everyone was singing the praises of Glamour for including one woman who was not a Size 0 or a Size 2, I found it hard to swallow — until my mother called me: “Holy s–t, Jen. Did you see that woman in Glamour? She’s gorgeous! They actually put a real person in there. Did you see?”
Her excitement shocked me, and then it hit me: here is someone, like myself, who has been reading magazines for years and has never related to the women displayed among their pages. Sure, I wrote off most mainstream fashion mags years ago, but my mom hadn’t, and, goshdarnnitt, this Lizzi Miller made her feel better about herself.
Apparently, the letters and calls of praise came pouring in to Glamour and the editorial staff hopped right on the bandwagon. Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive wrote in her blog:
Here’s the deal: The picture wasn’t of a celebrity. It wasn’t of a supermodel. It was of a woman sitting in her underwear with a smile on her face and a belly that looks…wait for it…normal.”
The woman who started this hoopla, Miller, has been getting a ton of attention as well. Last week, she appeared on the Today Show and explained that, like the rest of us, she has never related to models in the pages of magazines.
“I’m not saying that size 2 isn’t normal, but my normal is this,” Miller said. “I’m healthy, I work out and I live a healthy lifestyle.”
Today Show host Matt Lauer wondered if “the tide’s turning” when it comes to super thin models in fashion magazines. He mentioned the backlash Self magazine faced after the Kelly Clarkson airbrush fiasco and the Dove “real women” campaign. He also called out the magazines themselves for claiming they try to represent all women — and continually forgetting about most body types.
“The editors come in and say ‘it’s great, it’s great,’ [when a photograph like Miller’s gets media attention] and then go back to skin and bones, “ Lauer said.
I couldn’t have put it better myself, Mr. Lauer.
Whether or not Miller, who is between a Size 12 and 14, will change the face of fashion magazines is yet to be seen. But it sure is nice to hear my mom get that excited about a photo, and it seems like more women are speaking out against magazines that refuse to acknowledge women who are larger than a Size 5.
It’s about time.