Thursday, March 5, 2009

Where Have All the Models Gone?

Happened to be perusing the "women's interest" magazine section at my local Barnes and Noble recently and noticed something strange. None of the covers feature models. Rather, they are graced by highly airbrushed and impeccably coiffed celebrities, hocking everything from makeup to fitness routines to sex tips.

Wherefore art thou Cindy, Naomi, Linda and Kate? Remember the 90s when supermodels dominated the national psyche and the covers of Cosmo, Allure and Glamour? Nowadays, you're far more likely to see Reese Witherspoon, Lindsay Lohan or Katie Holmes.

And in the magazines that toe the edge between women's interest and that widely-shared obsession with politics, Michelle Obama's finely-toned arms have become the stuff of blog speculation and gym ambition.

Even the women of comedy are expected to have cover-worthy bodies and faces. As Tina Fey's star has shot into the stratosphere, her modeling gig has shifted from indie rags like Bust to the ultimate in chic, Vanity Fair. And what is up with this month's cover of Shape, featuring Julia Louis Dreyfus? This is the same woman whose character fought over chocolate babka, debated the merits of H&H Bagels, got kicked out by the Soup Nazi and ate Mr. Peterman's antique wedding cake!

Truly, it would be nicer to see more realistic women gracing the covers of magazines than being force fed images of unattainable ideals. Contrary to what advertisers might think, I am far more motivated to buy a magazine that features a woman whose body I could realistically attain or whose clothing I could afford without selling a kidney. But maybe that's just me.

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