By Hilary Caton
The world of fashion is exploding with trends, but one trend that fashion seems to be playing around with recently is the idea of projecting the message that women should love the body God gave them. But is their choice of spokeswomen the right ones?
Aussie model and former Miss Universe 2004, Jennifer Hawkins, recently posed nude for the Australian cover of Marie-Claire for their February issue. No big deal right? Wrong! This cover has stirred up all kinds of controversy because Hawkins appears unairbrushed on the cover. Not to mention many women are bashing the idea that a former Miss Universe and model could possibly represent real women.
Editor of Marie-Claire, Jackie Frank, was inspired to do the photo shoot, sans airbrushing, after reading the results of a survey in Australia about the feelings women had towards their bodies. Frank discovered that only 12 per cent of women were happy with their body.
Way go to Marie-Claire, with this cover you just made the other 88 per cent feel even worse about their bodies
What’s even more shocking is that Marie-Claire believes they’re doing the world some good by splashing a thin woman, like Hawkins, with her almost unnoticeable imperfections on their cover. If a dimpled thigh here, a crease in her waist there and some skin tone changes, is supposed to instantly boost the way women feel about their bodies, Marie-Claire doesn’t have a clue about the turbulent relationship almost every woman has with her body.
Showing a practically flawless Hawkins, even without the airbrushing, isn’t exactly telling women everywhere to “love the you that you are” it’s more like “if you can’t obtain a body like Heidi Klum, why not shoot for a former Miss Universe?” type of message.
According to the Huffington Post, Marie-Claire chose Hawkins for the cover because “she represents a positive body image.”
Sure, their intentions are in the right place, but let’s be serious. By publishing this cover, Marie-Claire isn’t doing anything groundbreaking. Show us a woman with some cellulite, a few scars and birthmarks, then come back and say you chose a woman that was representative of real women.
In the magazine, Hawkins tells readers that” I’m not a stick figure–I thought it would be great to tell women to just be themselves and be confident.”
Yeah, that would work, if they looked anything remotely like you.
The photos of Hawkins plan to be auctioned off later this month, and donate the money to The Butterfly Foundation, a support group for women with eating disorders.
The general manager of The Butterfly Foundation, Julie Parker, told The Age, magazine that photographing an average Australian woman wouldn’t have worked, because it “doesn’t make the same point.” And by putting an average woman on the cover “would not have created the same awareness”
Call me crazy, but if a magazine like Marie-Claire did put this “average woman” on their cover It would have turned as many heads and gotten as much buzz as this cover has and for all the right reasons.
Perhaps the Australian zine should take a hint from German magazine Brigitte, who no longer hires professional models to appear in the magazine but real women of all shapes sizes and ages. Simple because, according to the editor, Brigitte Huber, “Fashion has changed. Nearly everybody today is a trendsetter.”
Now that would be a boost in positive body image, for any woman.