Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/big/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/themes/StandardTheme_20/admin/functions.php on line 229
The Big Question: Black and White and Read All Over Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: Black and White and Read All Over Edition

Hey gang! We’ll have the next installment of 12 Months of Cocktails coming up later, but Francesca’s post about Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe on the cover of Ebony got me thinking:

Would we ever see a full body shot of a big girl –not a “big girl” like Crystal Renn– on a non race-specific aspirational glossy like W or Vanity Fair without it being fetishized or turned into a bit of tokenism?

Because I think no.

Sure we’ve seen Beth Ditto on the cover of a few alternative mags like Love and NME, and when she’d get a feature in a regular glossy it would always, ALWAYS be about how she’s not afraid to shock the world with her size blah blah blah. She’s an enfant terrible, and her size and willingness to get her kit off at any given chance is part of her gimmick.

And of course There’s this photoshopped into oblivion cover of Queen Latifah from Glamour

queen latifah glamour

Lovely photo BUT: not on this planet nor any other has Queen Latifah had that slender a neck or arms, and she might just be corseted from here to eternity (speaking of: have you ever tried to roll around on a beach in a corset? WAY ill-advised) but methinks Dr Shoppe has done a fair bit of virtual nipping and tucking. Glamour has ALWAYS had the worst, most blatant retouchers on the planet.

But even if she wasn’t retouched to high heaven, it’s still about SIZE.

Lest we forget that the #1 attribute of Queen Latifah is her size and not, say, the fact that she’s won an Oscar, has had a successful music, acting and producing career and is a hell of a good model and role model.

I’ve noticed the magazines aimed at black readers are far more willing to embrace the idea of beauty at every size without making a big honking deal of it.

essence queen

Granted, the photo editing isn’t great on this mag either, but do you see anything talking about Queen Latifah’s size? No. It’s the same check-out fodder (maybe a little better) as any other women’s interest lifestyle mag.

I would love to see Gabourey Sidibe win an Oscar –and Mo’nique too, whom I love and always have– and I would love to see her looking pretty on the cover of a mainstream glossy magazine without a reference to her size. It would be great. I’d buy a dozen copies and probably not even make fun of what she was wearing. I’m just not sure it’s going to happen.

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

What say you? Are mainstream glossies ever going to be as willing as niche publications to put a big girl in all her glory on the cover without mentioning she’s big?

12 Responses to “The Big Question: Black and White and Read All Over Edition”

  1. graciela February 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    At the risk of not being PC, I think that there is “white beauty” and then there’s everyone else. What we see as a standard in mags like Glamour is that of the ideal “white beauty”, which culturally looks to thinness as a characteristic of beauty. I think that’s why you’ll see America Ferrera and Queen Latifah photoshopped to proportions that are obviously not them and are an almost exotic fetish to put on a magazine both because of their races and their sizes.

    I know that in my own culture, the Latino community does not consider rail thin girls to be the only measure of beauty. And I find that there are many more shapes, sizes, looks, and skin tones that are considered attractive. It’s not uncommon to have a mom, an aunt, a sister, a grandma with a thicker shape and they still work it and men go crazy for it. I see some of that in African American communities too.

    Plus, how many people from non-European cultures are calling the shots in the fashion world and adding a different POV? If they’re out there, they are the minority.

    So will mainstream magazines stop mentioning weight? Probably not, because for as long as the current caucasian European beauty is the hallmark of what passes for attractive at these magazines and in fashion, anyone from a size 10 and up will get a mention at their “unique” size. I’m not even saying that they should adopt another culture’s standards but they should look within themselves and see that yeah, there are curvier white women who are gorgeous and can offer something else to the status quo.

  2. Lisa February 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Nope.

  3. Margo February 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    I think (hope, pray) that the Lady Mags are in their death throes. Smaller readerships, splintering audiences, the (otherwise sad) ‘death’ of print, and the stronger and more public feminist dialogue that I have seen springing up in the mainstream more and more, as issues like health care, child care, abortion, and the contemporary problem of ‘the body’ are front and centre.

    Which is to also say, no.

  4. theDiva February 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    No. And what’s especially hilarious about the Glamour cover is the tag accompanying the photo of The Queen – “ENOUGH WITH THE UNREAL COVER GIRLS”.

    “It’s not uncommon to have a mom, an aunt, a sister, a grandma with a thicker shape and they still work it and men go crazy for it. I see some of that in African American communities too.”

    Yes, exactly. Well groomed, well dressed, and owning one’s inherent fabulousness.

  5. Debs February 2, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    I think Graciela pegged it. (I’m vampirically white). But I like to believe that people want to see a variety of looks and shapes in fashion magazines, like the latest V. And if that trend persists, and it is a matter of aeshetics and inclusiveness, we’ll be offered a wider range of choices. Maybe then, we can move on from “alternative shape” comments on magazine covers.

  6. Sarah February 3, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    I think we have a LONG way to go before we see that happening! Let’s face it, magazine are out there for a variety of reasons, but reason #1 is without a doubt to make money. With the world obsession of getting thin, looking skinny and dieting, it’s obvious that mags jump on this bandgawon, cause that will make their mag sell! No matter what they say or how they try to twist their size acceptance cover tag lines, this is the way it is. So until scoety’s perception in general changes, mainstream mags will just use what sells most. So there is still a LONG way to go I think!

  7. Sarah February 3, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    I think we have a LONG way to go before we see that happening!

    Let’s face it, magazines are out there for a variety of reasons, but reason #1 is without a doubt to make money. With the world obsession of getting thin, looking skinny and dieting, it’s obvious that mags jump on this bandgawon, because that will make their mag sell! No matter what they say or how they try to twist their size acceptance cover tag lines, this is the way it is.

    So until scoety’s perception in general changes, mainstream mags will just use what sells most. So there is still a LONG way to go I think!

  8. marjorie February 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    so not happening.

    i’m curious whether you think a “big girl” will ever get a mainstream cover, let alone a Big Girl! even crystal still hasn’t managed it. (she had a german vogue cover, but it only showed her face, in supertight close-up.)

  9. brooklynshoebabe February 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    I would say “nope,” but I also thought I’d never see an African-American president in my lifetime either.

  10. Sarah February 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    I’m with marjorie – in a magazine world where a size 12 is “plus size,” how can we ever expect to see someone who is ACTUALLY Honest To God Plus Size on a cover, in all her “curvy,” “beautiful at any size,” (insert other token words here) glory?

  11. All Women Stalker February 4, 2010 at 4:26 am #

    Sad to say, I think we’re a long way from that Plumcake.

  12. Sarah February 4, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    Ooops sorry for the double comment above! I though my first one didn’t go throgh :(