Its was all of a three inch by three inch photo that appeared in Glamour Magazine in 2009 alongside a tiny story about body confidence and it sparked a deluge of emails and comments on Glamour's website says Cindi Levie, editor of US Glamour.
Lizzie Miller, the 20 year old model (at the time) featured, said that at 5'11" and 175 lbs she agrees that it's astonishing that she's considered a 'plus-sized model. In the fashion industry anything over size six is considered plus-sized and plus sized encompasses size 8-10. Miller is herself a size 12-14. Slightly under the US average.
The small picture generated 700 comments on the website and appeared on US Today. Miller said that, "pretty much every picture in a magazine or ad is airbrushed . . . I don't think the public understands how much smoke and mirrors are involved in making women look like that."
An article by the Guardian states that, "So does the reaction to this picture mean that the tide is turning? Hardly. Even after the deluge of emails, Leive hasn't made a commitment to using average-sized women in fashion shoots, saying only that the magazine wants to celebrate "all kinds of beauty". The outcome for Miller, though, has been more positive. She has received more offers of work since the picture was published. And her model agency, Wilhelmina, has told her that she mustn't lose any weight."
I wonder what "all kinds of beauty" means to the editors of Glamour. At the heart of the magazine is a business that exists to make money-and certainly doesn't exist to exist to teach young impressionable girls that they are valued for so much more than their dress size.
What does this picture even say about us? Our society? Even the title of the article on the Guardian's website "Too Fat to Be a Model?"
provokes such deep seeded prejudices. It is obvious that Miller is in high demand but then there's also the backlash against seeing "normal" women posing naked in front of a camera. And by normal I mean: imperfect. Not airbrushed. The fashion industry along with Hollywood have constantly said that they do not wish to "condone obesity." Yet the bodies achieved by couture models are not the result of a healthy lifestyle. Even Victoria's Secret models stop drinking fluids 24 hours before a fashion show to achieve maximum "definition." And VS models being considered some of the "healthiest" models. Let's silently condone and agree with anorexia and bulimia and yet never sink to the depths of accepting and celebrating women who are deemed "overweight." (Insert voice dripping with sarcasm here)
Lizzie Miller is a beautiful, accomplished woman rallying against the stereotypes of her profession. Is the pose unflattering? Sure. Was it on purpose? Who knows. Don't we all at some time of the day sit like that. Perhaps that's the point.
Recent photo shoot of Lizzie Miller