Themes: representation; gender; media technology
The September 2009 USA edition of the magazine ‘Glamour’ featured an image that generated some considerable attention. It wasn’t the widely published photograph of Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard, injured in action in Afghanistan, tended by his comrades and later to die of his wounds (see here), although that attracted some controversy. It was in fact a small image of a nude model, tucked away on page 194 to illustrate an article on body image.
As the editor of ‘Glamour’ commented on the attention attracted by the image:
Here’s the deal: The picture wasn’t of a celebrity. It wasn’t of a supermodel. It was of a woman sitting in her underwear with a smile on her face and a belly that looks…wait for it…normal.
The remarkable thing about this image was simply that the image appeared to be untouched, the model – Lizzie Miller – was allowed to appear seated, and nude, with a small roll of stomach fat.
Here is a sample of some of the comments from readers available on the magazine’s online version. These give some indication of the nature of reader responses and the debate engendered by this image of an ordinary woman, who nonetheless, appears in the rarefied world of women’s magazines to be extra-ordinary: