Well, that was quick. I was skeptical when Vogue proudly proclaimed that they would become the ambassadors for positive self-esteem, but I tried to remain at least a little optimistic. That was silly of me, and I realize that now, as the various international June editions–which were supposed to be about health–have already failed to deliver. Like this “unadulterated” black-and-white spread in Germany which features a bunch of very thin women, including one who’s smoking. Nice work, Vogue. Very body-positive.
Yes, using models like a very-airbrushed Kate Moss to celebrate the Olympics (well done, both American and British Vogue) is pretty disappointing–apparently Hope Solo was good enough for the cover, but not as good as Karlie Kloss at actually being in the magazine–but at least it’s vaguely about sports and health. But Germany’s “The Naked Truth,” a spread by Peter Lindbergh, is the worst kind of fake body-positivity.
The tagline for it sounds great: “11 women and 1 photographer. He wants nothing but the naked truth – unvarnished, unadulterated, pure.” And, to be fair, the women do vary in age, and a couple of them are actual non-modeling women, including editor-in-chief Christiane Arp and photographer Donata Wenders.
However, they all have one thing in common: they’re thin and white. There is no diversity in body shape or ethnicity whatsoever–every “pure” woman is leggy and slender. And Nina Hoss, an actress-turned-trade unionist in Germany, is pictured with a cigarette in her hand.
Yes, the images are striking and beautiful, and the lighting is perfect, and the nudity is bold. But…it’s not body-positive. Or healthy.
Bravo, Vogue. You’ve done exactly what everyone thought you would do. Way to be an inspiration to us all.
Warning: some of these photos contain nudity, and thus, may not be suitable for work.
All images by Peter Lindbergh via Vogue