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August 27, 2009

Your Turn: Glamour’s “Astonishing” “Average Size” Woman

Glamour Lizzie photo.jpg

click for full size

I’m interested in your take on what started out as a 3 x 3 inch photo on page 94 and has turned into enormous buzz.

The image, accompanying the article “What Everyone But You Sees About Your Body” in the latest Glamour features model Lizzi Miller, who her mother writes: “started her modeling career [with the goal] to redefine what was normal and beautiful.”

Daryl Lang’s write-up at PDN mostly summarizes the outpouring of praise from the magazine’s readership, but concludes with a link to a cautious post at Jezebel questioning Glamour’s true commitment to and inherent “conflict-of-interest” when it comes to “body acceptance.”

(image: Walter Chin)

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    She may well be average weight, but she is not average height. So she is still taller and less curvy than the “average” woman.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01053714e4e4970b Karen H.

    Hah. Funny that she’s trying to hold in her gut. Even a model picked to symbolize “normal” can’t escape from vanity….

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5271c64970b likeawoman.livejournal.com

    yeah, she’s big for a model, but I’d be shocked if she’s actually the “average,” in any mathematical sense, for the American woman or even for the Glamour reader. not to mention being yet another gorgeous, blonde, white lady who fulfills 99% of the standards for beauty with ease. I think it’s kind of like vanity sizing. a half-assed attempt on the part of the people who set the standards to make people feel better about themselves by making them feel included, even if they’re blatantly tokenized. it’s just enough to keep actual “average” women interested. the funny thing is, I, and a lot of my “average” female friends (most of whom don’t have that 99% head start), are generally turned off by this kind of pandering. it’s so blatant, they might as well splash some advertising copy for Dove firming body wash or More to Love (aka low self esteem theatre) on Fox across the bottom. they’re playing on the insecurities they create, same as always, but this really kind of doubles back on itself with the whole faux empowerment/acceptance thing. I’ve had more than enough of this nonsense.

  • Tena

    The funny thing to me is that models being thin started out as merely the best way to display the clothes and the models were supposed to be background, and anonymous – mannequins.
    But of course, our society celebrates some things and now clothes models are seen as real life models for real girls to admire and aspire to be like. And the clothes are in the background. And like everything else, the body type has run to extremes. On the other hand, a lot of Americans seem to have conflicted themselves on this right into being obese. I’d love to hit a happy medium some day. But when have humans ever settled for that?
    Lizzie Miller is lovely, by the way -

  • thomas

    I think they’re confusing the terms “beautiful” with “sexually attractive.” Mother Theresa was beautiful but her being frail and elderly and holy and now dead kind of short-circuits the hotness. But what a truly beautiful person.
    In the eternal contest of sexual appeal and the raw power it entails it’s pretty clear that attractiveness isn’t something that can really be prescripted or democratized. I mean, not all fat people are funny either.

  • Tena

    “n the eternal contest of sexual appeal and the raw power it entails it’s pretty clear that attractiveness isn’t something that can really be prescripted or democratized.”
    Word.
    But that has never stopped humans from aspiring to a democratized attractiveness. I’ll point you to all the body-modification that humans have engaged in since time immemorial.

  • [email protected]

    Ok. Why is this beautiful young woman considered “fat”? I’d love to have such a lovely body and gorgeous smile. Thoughts?

  • http://blogs.salon.com/0003935/theRanticore Julia Grey

    Notice, no cellulite. Smooth, perfect skin, all over…for real or airbrushed?

  • [email protected]

    Jules-
    look closer.
    stretch marks and dots present, not bombarding, but present.

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    yeah, she looks slim and gorgeous (although the odd pose makes it hard to actually see much of her figure), but that is definitely the wrinkly little pooch belly of childbearing. I know it well…

  • Molly

    I know it well, too!
    She is really very pretty and I think the contrast between beautiful and hot noted above is right on the nose.
    As is the comment about blatant pandering. Sheesh.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a52be529970b Kirk Franklin

    Well, she’s 20.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p00e5523476cc8834 DennisQ

    If you divide the picture in half, there are two different people. The top half is slender; the bottom half is obese.
    How is this person representative? People are usually fat or skinny but not both at the same time.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/dancinfool dancinfool

    Dennis, I can say from personal experience that your last declaration, “People are usually fat or skinny but not both at the same time,” is in error. Many times I’ve had to buy two pantsuits because to fit my top, I couldn’t cram my way into the pants. And if the pants fit, the jacket hung on me like a badly stuffed scarecrow’s. And the same can be said for a lot of the women I’ve known. If I couldn’t find someone with a big top and small bottom I’d give them separately to whomever fit in them.

  • desertwind

    I’m guessing Dennis never had to shop for a two-piece bathing suit back in the days before tops & bottoms began to be sold as separates.

  • yg

    a baby before 20? she never heard of contraceptives? abstinence only sex ed strikes again.

  • We Are The 801

    “started her modeling career [with the goal] to redefine what was normal…” in the United States perhaps. The American lifestyle naturally lends itself to obesity– something which magazines like this never question. Its no surprise there is this strange American trend to lower the bar and make obesity “normal.” Just don’t travel outside the US.

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