Stacey Loscalzo

Jan 27

This Is Not Beautiful

by Stacey


I recently discovered the blog Elements of Style and have been loving what I’ve seen. Before this weekend, my favorite post was titled Fashion Friday: Olivia Pope. It’s Handled. After all, I would dress like Olivia Pope every day if it wouldn’t get me weird looks at elementary school pick up and the basketball bleachers.

This weekend, though, I discovered Erin’s post titled A New Low about the above ad that runs in February’s Harpers Bazaar. If you haven’t seen Erin’s post, do go read it because she shares many wise words.

I truly don’t know that I have the words to express how this ad makes me feel. As a woman and more importantly as the mother of two girls, I find this ad to be disgusting. I don’t know exactly what has to take place for an ad to be placed in a magazine but I suspect that more than a handful of people are involved in it’s creation and execution. The fact that even one person would think it was appropriate to run this ad is stunning to me.

I know there are people who are naturally very skinny. I was called ‘green bean’ as a child and I have a daughter who could easily be called the same. That said, the woman pictured above does not remind me of a green bean. If I was with her, I would not call her cute pet names. I would drive her to the nearest eating disorder clinic as soon as I could.

And until society stops admiring unobtainable thinness, these eating disorder clinics will be full to capacity. Until magazines stop celebrating a female form that looks sick and starving, I will have to worry about my girls each and every time they look in a mirror. Will they be comparing their beautiful selves to an image like this? And if they decide that ‘thin’ is the goal, will this be their definition of thin?

As one woman and one mother, I feel helpless against the tide of society. For now, all I can do is write about this wrong and hope that others will read these words and remember the pressures that are put on our girls each and every day. And while we remember, let’s remind our girls of what is real and what is beautiful.


  1. Mimi says:

    Suggest sending a copy of this post directly to the Advertising Dept at Harpers….

  2. Shana Norris says:

    Unbelievable.  No, that is not beautiful.  Not beautiful at all 🙁

  3. Kristen says:

    Wow. Guess what? That same ad is in Vanity Fair this month (I subscribe) and I had the same visceral reaction just three days ago. Quite honestly, with a six year old daughter now increasingly interested in what I’m reading, I have to reconsider whether this is something I want lying around the house. I am considering going to an e-subscription just so that she won’t see these, in my opinion, harmful images. I had an eating disorder for the last two years of high school and it wasn’t even as bad back then in the media; now, it’s far worse and I can only imagine what kind of effect it could have on my daughter. Right now, it’s so far off her radar (and she’s long and lean, but with my genes that might change around puberty) but I know the time is coming when she will hear about such things from friends at school. I don’t want to seem like I support this sick version of beauty, even though I am truly subscribing just for the articles and good writing. But I think it’s time to let the paper subscription run out perhaps. Thanks, Stacy, I will have to check out Erin’s post.

  4. Tamara says:

    I’m with you. I’ve been naturally skinny my whole life, and even after 2 kids. That said, there’s a huge difference when it’s healthy and natural, and we can all see it. That ad is very disturbing.

  5. Melissa says:

    I love your closing words–“…let’s remind our girls of what is real and what is beautiful.” Cheers to that. 

  6. Rebecca Kingston says:

    Stacey, I wholeheartedly agree with you and try my best every day to help my 2 girls see their inner beauty, but we are up against a very strong cultural pull. Would Caroline like to do Girls on the Run that we’re starting this Spring at Somerville? I’m one of the coaches and the program is supposedly excellent (it’s my first time coaching, but that’s what I’ve heard)!! And then next year Maya and Katherine can do it!

  7. pamela says:

    Wow. I kind of thought we had evolved a bit. This is terrible. I also suggest sending this post to Saint Laurent.

  8. Allie says:

    I agree, so disturbing. It actually hurts me, physically to look ta the picture. The poor girl looks like she’s literally on her last leg.

  9. Yikes, that looks more like a photo from an abuse/neglect news story than a fashion ad!  That makes me so sad…

  10. Nina says:

    I am so horrified.

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