In this month’s tenth anniversary edition of W magazine, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner appear on the cover with cat style noses created by prosthetic makeup. The front cover image has also been photo-shopped to the point of unreality: Gigi’s knee has almost disappeared and so too has the gap between Kendall’s front teeth. The result is to render these celebrities into creatures from a fairy tale – almost as if the magazine’s editors intended their cover pic as one in the eye for all of us who are concerned about airbrushed super models and the damaging effects of such imagery on impressionable young women.
Yes, I can see that these celebrities have been made to look almost extra-terrestrial. Maybe for the cognoscenti this is a bit of a game: fashion magazines are vehicles of fantasy, right? So let’s play with the idea of models as fantasy figures. But what if you are not mature enough to understand all this? What if you are not old enough to be in the in-the-know crowd? In short, what if you are one of the hundreds of thousands of teenage girls who are now struggling to become this kind of fantasy figure – for real?
This is not how it should be. Magazines are supposed to encourage young girls to accept and flaunt their natural bodies, become confident, proud of their flaws, to lift their self esteem and showcase real women. All this would help teenagers to distinguish between myth and reality, instead of making them feel confused and distressed for failing to live up to an impossible dream.
This issue of W magazine can be found in any East London magazine shop. If you happen to pick up a copy, think to yourself, do you really want to look as perfect as these fairy tale figures or are you going to embrace your natural beauty?