Magazine Airbrushes Karlie Kloss To Make Her Look Less Thin; This Is Not Body Positive

karlie kloss numerp

Karlie Kloss, before and after. Modesty bar added by yours truly to protect your delicate eyes

Fashion magazines are really having a hard time with this whole “accurate representation of the female body” thing that we crazy ladies are clamoring for. I mean, they’re trying, kind of. But man, they just can’t seem to get it right. Like, for example, when Numéro magazine recently airbrushed model Karlie Kloss…to make her look less thin. Sorry, Numéro. Close, but no body positive cigar.

Karlie Kloss, who is very thin, has frequently been the subject of critique. Her nude photos in Vogue Italia caused a whirlwind of epic proportions when they–unsurprisingly–landed on every pro-ana and thinspo blog from here to the moon.** Which maybe explains why Numéro went this route; they were probably trying to avoid ending up in the center of a PR problem. Or maybe they just did it for aesthetic reasons and really don’t care even a tiny bit about how women feel about themselves. Either way, here they are, because airbrushing the ribs off a thin model is every bit as disturbing as whittling away thighs and tummies.

Naturally, the Daily Mail, who broke the story and got the photos, has some weird and negative and generally icky things to say about this whole situation, but that’s a conversation for never. What I really want to address is why this is yet another swing-and-miss by yet another fashion magazine.

As we’ve discussed before, airbrushing models to make them look thinner is obviously not what women are looking for when they ask magazines to keep it real. No more removed limbs, so more shaving down of waists. Just no more of that. But that doesn’t mean that airbrushing thin models to make them look fatter (which is a thing) is what we want, either. Because it isn’t.

So, magazines, I want to tell you, explicitly, exactly what women want from you to make us feel better about ourselves and the world we live in:

We want you to cast models of all shapes and sizes, without calling them out or making a big deal of it, and we want you to use little to no airbrushing of said models. 

That’s it. That’s how you get it right. Ok, class is dismissed.

Images via the Daily Mail/ Numéro/Greg Kadel

**Of course, the editor of the magazine later came out swinging against the pro-ana community and those who make thinspo-esque photos, and said she’d put her foot down about that particular spread…but then the magazine kept right on doing the same thing, so it appears that no lesson was learned. Shocking!

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    • scallywag

      Why then the continual use, promotion and glorification of a body type that is obtainable by a small percentage of individuals? Why are we subjecting anyone to this herd behavior that one has to approximate to certain standards? It is clear that Numero magazine as well as Vogue Italia were and are aware of the fallacy behind these body types (the reason why Numero chose to airbrush Karlies image, and Vogue chose to remove their images of Karlie after they appeared on a pro-anorexic site.)

    • Yuk.

      I’m sorry but they did the right thing however a more right thing would have been not to hire her at all. That is the scariest set of ribs on a non-starving third world country body I’ve ever seen. She is now a supermodel and she is super thin to the point of sickness. Get her out of here this is nothing but a reflection on a sick society. Take her to a feeding and tie her to the chair til she eats.

    • callmequirky

      plastic boobs on a cadaver

    • shel

      I don’t think it’s that terrible, the airbrushing they did here. I agree, it would be better if magazines just use models of all shapes, sizes and races without airbrushing it. But sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen for a while and right now, most of the models pictured are incredibly unhealthily thin. So I think that as long as this is the case, it’s not a bad thing to make the model look fatter – in my opinion it does makes her look more healthy. I am naturally very thin myself but I think that this is a bit much. Karlie does not look healthy and I don’t want other women thinking that this is the perfect figure for a woman.

      Until the majority of magazines decide to start using more diverse models, I actually think this is a step forward.

    • Jen

      What I find most dangerous about the final image is that it says, “People are this skinny without being emaciated.” The un-doctored image is clearly unhealthy, and, as someone who has dealt with severe body-image issues, I find it to be far more productive. It’s like a warning. (Although I understand the issue of it being used by the pro-ana community as well.)

      This presents a literally unrealistic expectation of body shape, far more than your typically trim-a-couple-pounds photoshopping.

      That said, this calls to attention the fact that we really need to tone down the photoshopping in general. Fashion should be about celebrating the body – no matter its shape – not trying to hide or radically alter it.