According to the editor-in-chief of Elle Magazine, Robbie Myers, on the Today Show yesterday, “Average women are not actually inspired to look at women who look like them. In fact, they respond more to women who are a little bit above average.” What!?
She explained this as meaning the following: seeing someone who looks like her, doesn’t make her want to go out and go shopping. The “her” being the average women. So while according to the editor, curves are back, she clearly doesn’t mean OUR curves. She means curvy model curves. She says it is noteworthy that a top fashion designer used a Victoria’s Secret model in his show. Oh come on! Since when does that count as average curves?
Myers went on to say that the average American woman is 5′ 3″ tall, weighs 164.7 pounds, has a 36 inch waist, and a 29.2 BMI. (The graphic on this credited the Center for Disease Control.) She said that we don’t want to see that body when we look at fashion and movies; we want an “idealization.” ” There is something always aspirational when you look at television, when you look at movies.”
When asked about this supposed trend towards curviness being in, Myers explains that “We’re fatter as a nation. We’re heavier than we used to be even 15 years ago. The average woman has put on 20 pounds.” She does say that this is not great news but goes on to explain that women are more comfortable in our own skin. Hmm, I say. Are we? And if we are so comfortable in our own skins, why don’t we want to see ourselves in the media, instead choosing to see the bodies we can only aspire to?
Coincidentally, another segment on the same show was about Glamour magazine using “real” women in their pages. One of the cover models was on the show; a plus-size model at size 12. (In pink at left.) The average American woman is a size 14. The shots shown from the magazine were, in my opinion, not average women. I think we would all love to look so average! Meredith Viera suggested women want to see clothes on models their own size to see what the items really look like. The magazine editor, Cindi Leive, responded that they had gotten comments asking if they were promoting obesity and went on to say (first clarifying that obviously the models in the issue were not obese), “If you do have a weight problem, seeing someone who’s not just a size zero, seeing someone who slightly more closely resembles you, helps you gain a sense of respect for your body and that’s where good health starts.” And while I agree in principal, I have to wonder if her models are really that closely resembling the average woman. Me thinks not.
So I pose the question to you… Do women want to see themselves reflected in magazines? Or some ideal?