Comment of the Week: On Women’s Magazines and Body Image

“About perfect, model-looking women vs actual women: I believe you women are at fault about society’s direction in respect to looks. You women keep buying all the glamour/fashion/designs mags that show all this fabrication when it comes to female looks. If women would stop buying all those mags, money would talk, and mags would start dropping those models in favour of real actual women. You have the last word, but I am afraid one thing is what women say about this issue, another one what women collectively are willing to do about it. Something like gasoline prices, financial downturn and the American driving habits: The larger the SUV, the more gasoline it is burnt and spent, hence, the more expensive it becomes to drive and also the less money there is for other expenses, vital expenses like mortgage and food; but drivers will adamantly keep and purchase new SUV’s and incur more expenses, in the face of catastrophe, rather than change course. Actual women will keep buying those magazines with thin, slender and near perfect bodies exhibited by late teen and early 20’s women.  These models  are not representative of average women. While opening the mag’s pages and reading/viewing the images, these women complain about the society that supports said publications, only after having contributed financially to the wealth of these same mags they complain about through the purchase of the last copy. This is what women want, otherwise, women would not buy these publications.”

James, commenting on “Glamour Publishes Picture of Average-Sized Woman, Hell Freezes Over

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19 Comments on "Comment of the Week: On Women’s Magazines and Body Image"

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I would say I don’t buy magazines (I’m poor and they don’t appeal to me to begin with) but I think the bigger problem is in billboards not magazines. How do you boycott a billboard?

Women are too varied and too many for it to matter what a segment decides to not buy. Even if only 10% of women are buying a magazine, that’s a lot. And it’s enough for advertisers to want their ads in the mag.

Madamoiselle L
The thing is “boycotting” although maybe making one feel powerful, usually does NO damage to the industry you have an issue with. Years ago, when industries made their money by the actual selling of the product they made, it did. (I remember boycotting lettuce, grapes and even meat as a child, and I haven’t bought Nestle in decades. The grape, lettuce and meat boycotts worked, the Nestle did for a while, but they recovered.) NOW most big businesses make their money from their SHAREHOLDERS, and their wealth has little to do with making a good product or even selling much… Read more »
My first thought when I see arguments like this is ‘yes, it’s terrible the pressure women are put under to conform to the ‘ideal’ to be big busted, yet skinny, practically hairless beach body etc etc..’ and that’s true, but then I think about history.. the way’s we torture ourselves may be very 21st century, but the fact we do it definitely isn’t.. until the early 20th century it was expected that every grown woman would spend her waking hours in a restrictive corset that affected her movement, her breathing (contributing to the idea that women were fragile creatures, prone… Read more »
I see that many people don’t agree with this comment of the week, but I would argue that it makes a very valid point: 1) Studies have shown that women are significantly harsher in judging the attractiveness of other women than men are when judging those same women. Overall, men tend to prefer “average” women. 2) In a way, female body image often isn’t even about sex, or about looking appealing to men– because women have throughout history been judged by their appearance more than men have, this tendency has, in its own twisted way, reincarnated itself under a “feminist”… Read more »

You look longingly at the clothes, why not at the body, too? I think the industry has gone to an extreme with photoshop, making the skinniest of models skinnier, but I personally like seeing the clothes on skinny girls.

I agree that women need to stop buying these ridiculous magazines, HOWEVER, can’t it even be a part of the conversation that men do have a huge effect on our collective body image? Why can’t anyone admit that? I don’t read those magazines. I don’t pay much attention to models. I am thin, in fact, so I don’t obsess over the weight issue anyway. But I’m not hot. I don’t know this because magazines tell me, I know this because men tell me. Obviously they’re not saying, “Alex, you’re not hot” but all women know what I mean when I… Read more »
Hi. I can see that some panelists did not like my words. I can say that I strongly believe there is responsability on part of women that purchase these publications. I understand the concept of catalogs and the need to see items of clothing in said catalogs, but the industry is not limited to catalogs. All female publications , of all kinds, perpetuate the kind of woman women complain about. Magz that are not into clothing, but into lifestyles and other issues still portray women as late teen early 20s in looks, although these publications are geared to adult women,… Read more »