What W Really Thinks About Women's Bodies
This is model Lara Stone on the cover of the August issue of W.
These are some of the terms used to describe Lara Stone in the editor's letter and the article “Fashion’s It Girl”:
- “a little meat on her bones” (W’s deputy editor, Julie L. Belcove)
- “voluptuous frame” (the article’s author, Sarah Haight)
- “a mix of a warrior and Brigitte Bardot” (designer Isabel Marant)
- “her body…a refreshing aesthetic shift away from the prepubescent boy figure that has lately dominated fashion” (Haight)
- “big, bad and beautiful” (photographer Bruce Weber)
And this is how Lara Stone describes her own body:
“Not that bad”? A woman who makes money posing in her underwear is “not that bad”?
The fashion industry—and, in turn, the fashion media—have such a warped concept of slimness that a model like Lara Stone is so much larger than her contemporaries that they feel the need to explain her presence. If Stone’s body is such an outlier, what does that say about the rest of us?
Worse, the magazine saw fit to issue the disclaimer that Stone “is, it should be noted, a very lithe five foot ten.” Why, yes, do note that! As if there’s the slightest chance someone is going to look at these photos and think Stone needs to, like, slow down on the Cheetos.
The article mentions multiple times that her look is a modeling-world anomaly. And that gives editors, photographers, and designers the chance to explain why they hired her—which is really just a whole lot of self-congratulatory masturbation about how open-minded they are, like they have to somehow justify (to us!) casting a woman whose ribs don't poke out above her cleavage. Yeah, they’re real body-image mavericks. What a revolution. If they truly believed that Stone’s shape is so enviable, why the need for justification? If the “meat on her bones” is so praiseworthy, why don’t we see more models with “meat”?
Her figure may be in vogue, but the rest of us have to live with our bodies no matter what magazines deem the ideal shape of the moment. Perhaps the industry could stop treating Stone like a freakshow long enough to realize how very hypocritical it is to praise her curves and how insulting it is to us when they’re compelled to rationalize featuring a woman with hips and a bustline. We have those. We get it.
Clearly, the fashion industry doesn’t.