Glamour Mag Puts Female Photographers & Stylists In Charge For Its Photoshop-Free Feb Issue

It is already known as a media destination for all things female, but Glamour magazine has just taken things up a notch for its February 2017 issue. Every single photo that appears in the magazine and online (apart from third party advertising, of course) was shot and styled by a woman, and was completely free of the regular photoshop treatment we’re so used to seeing in glossies.

The cover featured the cast of HBO’s ‘Girls’, and (horror of horrors!) you can clearly see Lena Dunham has cellulite. Now, we of course all know cellulite is a normal part of being a human being, especially a woman, but it’s about darn time major women’s magazines caught up to the real world and stopped pretending like every woman should aspire to look like an execessively-photoshopped mannequin.

In a short op-ed about the Feb issue, editor-in-chief Cindi Leive explained how the lack of female representation in other areas of society inspired the team to put women front and center in the best way they know how.

Here at Glamour we like to cheer women on. Female CEOs, female athletes, female firefighters; women who stick their neck out for things they care about—we’re for them. It’s in our job description! And when institutions don’t recognize the value of women, we cry foul. Sorry, Congress, but four men to every woman? Super outdated. Fortune 500 list, 19 male CEOs to every lady? NOT OK,” she began, before connecting the dots to her publication.

“It was with some concern that earlier this fall I read the following statistics: Only 37% of the photographers we were using in our own print pages were female, and 32% of the hairstylists. (49% of makeup artists were female, but dismayingly the ratio got lower as the story got bigger.) While we employed female writers almost exclusively, the visual content of the magazine—the stuff you look at—was more likely to be made by men. To be fair, we are not alone here: A review of comparable magazines indicates that in fact we are pretty average. But it’s 2017,” she said.

While gender equality is certainly on everyone’s minds at the moment, especially in the US in the wake of the recent Presidential election, Cindi believes gender equality starts at home, so they wanted to shake things up in their own “house”.

Except for Michelle Obama’s makeup artist Carl Ray, every other makeup and hair artist, clothing stylist, photographer and overall creators on each of the shoots commissioned by the magazine were led by women. Of course, this decision to give women an important creative platform shouldn’t just be a tokenistic gesture, and Cindi emphasized they will keep the momentum of female-driven artistry going as much as possible.

Although fashion and beauty seems like it would be a female-run industry, in fact it is not.

“As writer Shaun Dreisbach superbly dissects in our Powered By Women package, it’s part of the larger historical tendency to label men’s creative endeavors—from novels to paintings to fashion photographs—as “artistic” or “important,” while women’s are considered “everyday” or “relatable.”…In fashion, creative women began being edged out after World War II, when female-led couture houses were largely replaced by male-led ones, and the prevailing idea about fashion, says historian Valerie Steele, became that “women are too close to it; they can only dress themselves. Men are the artists.” Let’s collectively call bull***t on that,” she said.

Because the very last season of ‘Girl’ is about to air on TV screens soon, the magazine wanted to pay homage to a show that skewered the mainstream visual and storytelling definition of what it means to be young women in New York City (since its debut we have seen a number of other female-driven shows such as ‘Broad City’ and ‘Insecure’ exclusively share women’s stories from an authentic, female gaze). It was a show that shocked many audiences mainly because of its unapologetic display of empowered female sexuality, nudity and not choosing to only cast thin, white women who have bodies that look like they belong on a high fashion billboard.

The show’s cast, Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet (who has been writing a regular column for Glamour) and Lena Dunham were interviewed by Jenni Konner, the co-executive producer. After images from the shoot were released, Lena uploaded one of them to her Instagram account and explained to her fans why being on the cover of a magazine and not being told to cover up her cellulite was a breakthrough moment for her personally.

“Throughout my teens I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was f***ing funny looking. Potbelly, rabbit teeth, knock knees- I could never seem to get it right and it haunted my every move. I posed as the sassy confident one, secretly horrified and hurt by careless comments and hostility. Let’s get something straight: I didn’t hate what I looked like- I hated the culture that was telling me to hate it,” she began.

“When my career started, some people celebrated my look but always through the lens of “isn’t she brave? Isn’t it such a bold move to show THAT body on TV?” Then there were the legions of trolls who made high school teasing look like a damned joke with the violent threats they heaped on, the sickening insults that made me ache for teen girls like me who might be reading my comments. Well, today this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without photoshop, my thigh on full imperfect display,” she proudly states.

Okay, here goes: throughout my teens I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was fucking funny looking. Potbelly, rabbit teeth, knock knees- I could never seem to get it right and it haunted my every move. I posed as the sassy confident one, secretly horrified and hurt by careless comments and hostility. Let’s get something straight: I didn’t hate what I looked like- I hated the culture that was telling me to hate it. When my career started, some people celebrated my look but always through the lens of “isn’t she brave? Isn’t it such a bold move to show THAT body on TV?” Then there were the legions of trolls who made high school teasing look like a damned joke with the violent threats they heaped on, the sickening insults that made me ache for teen girls like me who might be reading my comments. Well, today this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without photoshop, my thigh on full imperfect display. Whether you agree with my politics, like my show or connect to what I do, it doesn’t matter- my body isn’t fair game. No one’s is, no matter their size, color, gender identity, and there’s a place for us all in popular culture to be recognized as beautiful. Haters are gonna have to get more intellectual and creative with their disses in 2017 because none of us are going to be scared into muumuus by faceless basement dwellers, or cruel blogs, or even our partners and friends. Thank you to the women in Hollywood (and on Instagram!) leading the way, inspiring and normalizing the female form in EVERY form, and thank you to @glamourmag for letting my cellulite do the damn thing on news stands everywhere today ❤️ Love you all.

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on


Lena went on to write that it doesn’t matter whether you agree with her politics or even like her show, her body isn’t public property, and that is a message we need to hear more of from mainstream fashion and beauty magazines.

“My body isn’t fair game. No one’s is, no matter their size, color, gender identity, and there’s a place for us all in popular culture to be recognized as beautiful. Haters are gonna have to get more intellectual and creative with their disses in 2017 because none of us are going to be scared into muumuus by faceless basement dwellers, or cruel blogs, or even our partners and friends. Thank you to the women in Hollywood (and on Instagram!) leading the way, inspiring and normalizing the female form in EVERY form, and thank you to @glamourmag for letting my cellulite do the damn thing on news stands everywhere today,” she concluded.

We hope this won’t be the last of magazines deciding to break with tradition and start including women as part of the creative process as well as artistic visuals in a way that doesn’t make their bodies simply another consumable commodity. We have reached a moment in our collective consciousness that it is time for women to have complete autonomy over their lives and bodies, and we need to see that in the media, especially media directed at women.

Our personal wishlist: we’d love to see magazines get more intersectional and feature LGBTQ women, women of color, women of all ages, differently-abled women, and bodies of all shape and size being included in the mainstream definition of “beauty” without apology or caveat. Bravo Cindi Leive and the Glamour team for creating what we hope will be an ongoing norm.

 

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