Birgitte, one of Germany's most popular glossy women's magazines, announced yesterday that it will no longer use models in photo spreads in response to changing ideas about beauty.
Instead, the Hamburg-based title plans to choose from readers who register online and staff members based on their meaningful qualities rather than their dress size.
“Attractiveness has many faces,” editor Brigitte Huber said in a statement. “Whether they are actresses, musicians, first ladies or women on the streets of big cities – they all affect fashion and beauty styles.”
The new concept will start next year and is a response to two different trends, co-editor Andreas Lebert said in the statement. “Behind the career of a model lies the idea of not showing women themselves, but instead a place holder – a model of a certain size. Now many women find this outdated, especially the beauty ideals, also moulded by the fashion industry, that are highly controversial,” he said.
Dr. Lisa Pecho, a Munich-based psychotherapist and spokesperson for the BFE national professional association for eating disorder treatment experts, said “I think it’s fantastic what they’re doing. It will serve as a big example. This magazine has a huge influence in Germany. There are many factors that create eating disorders, but the media is certainly a big one.”
This follows reports a few weeks ago that French politicians wish to stamp a 'health warning' on photographs of models that are altered as part of a campaign against eating disorders. The proposed law is designed to fight what they see as a warped image of women's bodies in the media.
And in March this year in Australia, a code of conduct for the fashion industry was set in motion through a Federal Government initiative which saw the creation of a new body image advisory group. Headed up by fashion, health and media experts, including Sarah Murdoch, Mia Freedman and teen magazine editor Sarah Cornish, the aim is to develop national strategies that promote healthy body image.
It appears the rest of the world is starting to follow suit, which is a much needed step forward in the fight against eating disorders. Promoting a realistic body image to our younger generations will empower confidence and self-esteem, which in turn, will serve to eliminate damaging trends.
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