By now you’ve likely seen this photo.
It’s the model Lizzie Miller, published in the September issue of Glamour Magazine. According to press sources, it’s causing a “stir” because of one thing: Lizzie’s tummy.
I saw this first on The Sartorialist, where 500+ readers commented. Up to now, I’ve never seen more than about 175 comments, tops, on any Sart post.
Several thoughts came to my mind after reading the press.
Number one. Twenty-year-old Lizzie works as a “plus-size” model. At five-foot-eleven (1.80m), she wears a size US 12 or 14 (British 16 or 18, or European 46 or 48).
Lizzie states that
“It’s sad. In the industry anything over size six is considered a plus-size. Pretty much every picture in a magazine or ad is airbrushed... I don’t think the public understands how much smoke and mirrors are involved in making women look like that…I’m not trying to promote obesity, and I’m not obese, but I’m also not stick thin.”
So why are women her size called “plus-sized?”
Number two. Public comments about Lizzie’s photo have been overwhelmingly positive—people shouting, “Finally, someone who looks like a real woman in major fashion magazine.”
But other folks complain that such imagery encourages obesity.
So on the one hand we have photos everywhere of women who appear anorexic. Now we have Lizzie, who appears real but is labelled, basically, a fatty.
I acknowledge that Americans, including myself, are wont to overindulge, and our average weight has crept up dangerously in the past thirty or forty years.
Still, is there gray area in the media between “thin” and “obese?”
Number three. For the title of this post, I paraphrased an ancient poem by Kabir, a 15th-century Indian poet. The original reads:
“Listen, friend. This body is his dulcimer. He draws the strings tight, and out of it comes the music of the inner universe.”
Can a body’s strings be drawn tight, even if one’s tummy is not?
Look at Lizzie’s smile. Do you detect her inner universe?