Opinion | Sexuality

A Campaign for (Kind of) Real Beauty

"Real" fashion models may present as many problems as their hyper-stylized counterparts.

Over the past week, I have mentioned the April issue of French Elle - whose cover features European celebrities without makeup or Photoshop retouching - to nearly every woman I know. Each of them has echoed the sentiments ringing from every corner of the fem-blogosphere: "What a refreshing response," they say, "to the airbrush culture that has become synonymous with American fashion magazines." "How great it is," they gush, "that we can celebrate natural beauty and provide a healthier standard for women."

But Matthew Yglesias of The Atlanticquestions the assumption that the "Stars Sans Fards" (translation: "without rouge") on Elle's cover are somehow more "real" or even more "empowering" than the typical fare. He even considers this a step back:

A lot of people have done a lot of work over the years to get people to understand that images you see on magazine covers are not images of actual human beings. They're complicated collaborations between photographers, hairstylists, makeup people, ...
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