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  • Petitioned Anna Wintour, Editor of Vogue Magazine

This petition was delivered to:

Anna Wintour, Editor of Vogue Magazine

Include two pages of regular women modeling in each magazine.

    1. Petition by

      Lizzy Horve

      Redwood City, CA

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There is no question that consumerism drives the world we live in. Everywhere we turn, marketers are telling us what we need for our lives to be complete; consequently, materialism has become a substitute for happiness.  Drenched in this world of consumerism, where we believe fulfillment comes with how much you can spend, are advertisements that utilize digitally altered, over sexualized women to sell products.  On the surface, using images of “perfect” women as marketing tactics may seem harmless; however, seeing as 10 million women struggle with anorexia and bulimia in this country alone, it is impossible to deny the correlation between what marketers are projecting as the idealized women and the health extremes women are willing to take to fit this stereotype. 

         It is time that we recognize that magazines, movies, and billboards set forth cultural norms and define what our society sees as beauty. In my Social Psychology class at Foothill College, we discuss the power of cultural norms, which can be defined as the standards for accepted and expected behavior. Thus, when an average woman standing 5’4” and 140 pounds flips through her Vogue Magazine seeing images of models who are 5’11” and 110 pounds wearing barely any clothing and marketing make up, it is inevitable that they begin to feel that this model is the ideal form of beauty and that they are not normal because they do not look like the photograph.

         Magazines, television advertisements, billboards and the like are setting forth cultural norms regarding beauty and causing normal, beautiful, women to feel self conscious about themselves and take extreme measures to feel beautiful and socially accepted. Given that 13 million men and women binge eat and 10 million women struggle with anorexia or bulimia, the medias influence on society is indisputable. Women are literally killing themselves trying to conform to what our society defines as beautiful. It is extremely unfortunate that what our culture interprets as beautiful are women that have been digitally altered twenty to thirty times or even taken apart and reassembled with features of other women. This is not beauty, this reflects a strong mastery of Photoshop. 


         What I am petitioning is that Vogue Magazine, one of the most respected and top selling fashion magazines in the world incorporates a two-page spread in each magazine that utilizes regular women, not models. I believe that by using regular, every day, women, Vogue Magazine will start to redefine our cultural norm of beauty. By giving women an opportunity to see other women that look like them in a highly respected magazine, it may decrease the likelihood of women developing eating disorders that can lead to health issues and even death.

         It is our human right as women to feel safe in society; that includes feeling safe, secure and confident, without feeling pressure to conform to an unobtainable form of beauty. Thus, when women are objectified and over sexualized in popular culture, not only do they begin to feel insecure, but violence against women rises and they develop a low sense of self-worth. It is my hope that by changing our media’s definition of what is ‘beautiful’ and ‘sexy,’ we will be able to decrease the number of eating disorders and boost women’s self-esteem across the country and hopefully the world.

To:
Anna Wintour, Editor of Vogue Magazine
Please include a two page spread of regular women in every issue of Vogue Magazine published. Help bring an end to the deadly eating disorders that are plaguing women across the globe.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 6 months ago

      Do images of superthin supermodels play a role in eating disorders?

      Eating disorders are responsible for the highest number of deaths from psychiatric illness. The Eating Disorders Association estimates that about 165,000 people in the UK have eating disorders with 10% dying as a result, but experts believe it could be higher. Most sufferers are women, but one in 10 are now men.

      The most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and compulsive over-eating. But other disorders exist. For example, some people severely restrict the range of food they eat or several children have a psychological fear of food.

      Anorexia, which involves depriving the body of food, is more common in young people. Children as young as three have been treated for it.

      Bulimia, characterised by a cycle of starving and bingeing, is more likely in adults.

      The emphasis on super-thin models has been blamed for the increase in eating disorders.

      Experts say that these can have an effect on how people perceive themselves, but the causes of eating disorders are usually more complex and are linked to general feelings of self-worth.

      Anorexia nervosa

      Around 5% of young girls in the UK are estimated to have anorexia nervosa. Boys and children from ethnic minorities are much less likely to be affected.

      The condition results in death in 20% of cases after 20 years of onset of the illness.

      Only around 60% of anorexics recover. The illness is also one of the most controversial areas in mental health.

      Psychiatrists have singled out several characteristics which they say are typical of anorexics.

      These include: a dominant, over-protective and critical mother and a passive or withdrawn father and a tendency to perfectionism, a strong desire for social approval and a need for order and control.

      However, many of these characteristics have been the subject of dispute.

      The media and its emphasis on super-thin models is also blamed by some for influencing the way people, particularly girls, see themselves and making them believe looks are all-important.

      Feminists argue that it is not the images in themselves which are harmful, but the fact that women still derive much of their sense of self-worth from whether they please men.

      Anorexia nervosa is a form of intentional self-starvation. What may begin as a normal diet is carried to extremes, with many reducing their intake to an absolute minimum. It is also characterised by obsessive behaviour. The majority of anorexics deny they have a problem.

      Lack of food deprives the body of protein and prevents the normal metabolism of fat. The effects of this can include:

      an irregular heart beat caused by a change in the heart muscle. This can lead to heart failure and death.

      ceasing of menstruation

      dehydration, kidney stones and kidney failure

      the growth of fine downy body hair, called lanugo, on the face and arms

      wasting away of muscles, leading to weakness

      constipation or bowel irritation

      osteoporosis caused by lack of calcium.

      Symptoms of anorexia

      Symptoms of anorexia range from extreme weight loss for no discernable medical reason; ritualistic food habits, such as excessive chewing; denying hunger and exercising excessively to choosing low calorie food and hiding feelings. A person with anorexia may be excessively thin but still see themselves as overweight.

      The average age for onset of the illness is thought to be 16, although the age range of anorexia is between 10 and 40. Around 90% of cases are female. Most have no history of being overweight.

      Treatment for anorexia

      Over 25% of anorexics are so weak that they require hospitalisation. This may involve force feeding as well as advice on healthy eating and counselling.

      Many doctors believe that once a person's bodyweight has fallen below a certain level, they are no longer capable of making rational decisions.

      There has been wide-ranging debate over whether anorexics should be force-fed or whether they have the right to literally starve themselves to death.

      In 1997, guidance was offered to doctors, telling them that they can force feed anorexics over the age of 18 under the Mental Health Act 1983. The anorexic must be shown to be incapable of making rational decisions about their condition.

      Other forms of treatment range from group therapy, family counselling and psychotherapy to antidepressants.

      Around one third of patients recover fully; another third improve significantly and the last third do not recover.

      Bulimia nervosa

      Bulimia is thought to be two to three times more common than anorexia, but is not generally as physically dangerous.

      However, excessive use of laxatives and self-induced vomiting can cause rupture of the oesophagus, mineral deficiency and dehydration, which can have serious effects on health.

      Bulimia was only officially recognised in the 1970s and is characterised by a cycle of bingeing and starving.

      Many bulimics seem fine, but experts say that, under the surface, they often feel worthless.

      Bulimics may have irregular periods or stop having periods at all because of excessive use of laxatives and vomiting.

      Using laxatives can also cause kidney and bowel problems and stomach disorders.

      Laxatives do not cause people to lose weight, but remove water and essential minerals, such as potassium, from the body, giving the appearance of weight loss.

      Excessive vomiting can cause tooth decay, bad breath, mouth ulcers, sore throats and stomach disorders and may have serious long-term health implications.

      Some experts believe bulimia is the result of an imbalance of chemicals to the brain, but others think the illness is more likely to be linked to a lack of self-worth.

      It is thought that up to half of anorexics also suffer from bulimia and some 40% of bulimics are reported to have a history of anorexia.

      Sufferers tend to be older than anorexics, take a longer time to recover and are more likely ot commit suicide.

      Treatment for bulimia includes the use of drugs such as antidepressants, counselling which examines the cause of bulimic behaviour and behavioural modification, including education about healthy eating.

      Power Control and obedience

      In her book Unbearable Weight, Susan Bordo (1993) makes the argument that the fear of women's fat is actually a fear of women's power. Thus, as women gain power in society, their bodies dwindle and suffer. She states that "female hunger--for public power, for independence, for sexual gratification-- [must] be contained, and the public space that women be allowed to take up be circumscribed, limited... On the body of the anorexic woman such rules are grimly and deeply etched" (Bordo, 171).

      Naomi Wolf (1991) has a similar explanation of the origin of eating disorders in her bestseller The Beauty Myth. She states: "a cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession.

      Topless feminists from the feminist group Femen protested against use of the anorexic models outside the Versace fashion show in Milan in 2012. Topless feminists tried to enter into Versace Fall-winter 2012-2013 show during the Milan Womenswear Fashion Week having a handwritten slogan such as ‘Fashion = Fascism’ and ‘Anorexia’ illegible

      across their bare bodies. But Italian police prevented them from entering the Versace fashion show.

      Allegra, the daughter of Donatella Versace and successor to the fashion throne battling anorexia for years.Femen group battling against sex tourists, international marriage agencies, sexism and other social, national and international ills.

      Feminists have claimed that 150,000 women DIE each year because of anorexia.

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    • Torri Singer STATE COLLEGE, PA
      • about 1 year ago

      Lizzy, I really admire what you're doing with this petition! I created a related petition recently, regarding "thinspiration" on twitter, http://www.change.org/petitions/twitter-restrict-use-of-thinspiration-language-and-hashtags I would greatly appreciate if you could sign it and encourage your friends/following to as well! Good luck!

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    • Deonca Williams JERSEY CITY, NJ
      • over 1 year ago

      I agree. These magazines represent negative stereotypes. All of us cannot look the same. It is also necessary to show the beauty in a variety of hair textures as well. The majority of the hair models have straight hair never tightly curled african hair. True beauty comes in ALL sizes, shapes, colors and hair textures.

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