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Should We Admire Vogue's Attempt to Educate Schoolgirls?

Posted: 06/09/2013 12:28

Vogue has announced it will be sending educational videos to 1,000 schools across the UK, in an attempt to show young, influential schoolgirls models don't come pre-polished.

The footage, which Vogue told me would not be released outside schools (shame), contains behind-the-scenes material revealing the transformation from "normal, nice-looking woman" to polished model.

It's an interesting - and admittedly admirable - concept. Let's remember Alexandra Shulman et al don't actually have to dispel the shimmer of perfection which surrounds their models. As Shulman says: "Our job is to construct this beautiful world, not to deal with everyday life."

And it's true. These glossies (and they're called that for a reason) are there to showcase high-end fashion. For those who want it, they provide escapism into a world of stick-thin, impossibly beautiful women. But it's not real - hence why it's escapism.

Unfortunately, this a concept which a lot of young girls, and women, don't realise or can't fully grasp. I remember being shocked when I found out about the concept of photoshopping. But it also made me feel a hell of a lot better about myself. I'm still fascinated by the "before and after" comparisons of models and actresses - and disgusted at examples of photoshopping gone too far.

Every time I see a particularly flawless, beautiful model, I ask myself: "Could I look that good with an army of make-up artists, a battalion of photo-shoppers and a plethora of designer clothes?" And the answer is usually: "Probably, yeah." Not because I think I'm pretty or have great cheekbones or whatever, but because they have the tools to make you into someone else. They have the skill to transform you into whatever, or whoever, you want to be.

Understanding models in magazines and catwalks are not reflections or examples of real life is crucial to establishing self-esteem in young people.

It is incredibly important to educate both girls and boys about photoshopping, and body image, and being healthy. But at the end of the day, although I think magazines have a moral duty to do so, it's not actually their job - which is why I admire Vogue's attempt.

Ok, so it's not perfect, and there's still a long way to go, but it's better than nothing.

And to all those of you who want to see "real women": just put down the glossy and take a look in the nearest mirror.

 

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