Women’s magazine drops celebs and models in favour of “real women”

The Guardian reports:

IPC Media’s Essentials will no longer feature models or celebrities on its front cover after a survey of readers suggested they preferred to see “real women”.

The October edition of the monthly is entirely model- and celebrity-free and is the climax of a social media campaign to find 10 real women to put on its front cover. The magazine claimed it was a “UK media first for women’s glossies”.

Essentials’ editor, Jules Barton-Breck, said: “So many of these women look, and are, amazing that we wanted to celebrate them. In our recent reader survey 70% told us that they would rather see a real woman on the cover of a magazine than a celebrity, so we’re excited to be the first magazine in the UK to do this every month.”

You can read the full story here. The move echoes the campaigns run by the Liberal Democrats and others over representation (and misrepresentation) of women in the media and advertising, which you can read more about in our previous posts on the subject.

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  • “Real women” is a terribly patronising phrase, and the Guardian’s article is not really up to scratch either.
    Still, there’s not much wrong with having a wide array of role models to choose from. Looking forward to the day that Boris Johnson is the cover model for Men’s Health.

  • Stuart Mitchell 5th Sep '10 - 7:01pm

    “Real women” as a phrase is worse than patronising – I think it’s offensive to all those women who by implication are somehow not “real”, whatever on earth that’s supposed to mean.

    My wife is a perfectly healthy (and frankly wonderful in my eyes) size 6, but looking at most of the anti-thin articles one sees in the papers day after day, she’s not actually a “real woman” at all, though she seems plenty real enough to me!!

  • Stuart Mitchell 9th Sep '10 - 9:11pm

    Alex F: I don’t see how a little subtle photoshopping makes a woman any less “real” than make-up, hair dye, push-up bras, shapewear, or (at the harmful extreme) plastic surgery. So why are people getting so worked up about the photoshopping? No woman ever died because a photoshop procedure went wrong.

    Fact is, many of the same newspapers which publish articles extolling the virtues of “real women” are also happy to print revealing photos of surgery-enhanced “babes”. Go figure.

    I don’t doubt that the folks behind the “real women” campaign have good intentions. I just wish that they would come up with something a bit more inclusive (e.g. “all women”), rather than use a label which in my opinion is exclusive and divisive. We have all seen articles with “real women” in the title which are, quite frankly, just an excuse for rather nasty abuse of thin women; and that’s why I have a problem with the whole “real women” concept.

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