When it comes to size, you have to be a pretty strong person not to feel some pressure to conform to “the norm” purveyed by certain corners of the media these days. It seems the quest for perfection is never-ending, and one stroll through the papers this week brought at least three anorexia stories to my attention – confirming that, for some, the pressure is indeed still very much on (although this is obviously a much wider and more controversial issue, which needs careful exploration).
However, one woman has recognised that for a cross-section of society, nothing out there currently exists which really seems to cater for the bigger woman’s lifestyle as a whole. Enter Just As Beautiful, a new bi-monthly magazine launching this month which is aimed specifically at women between a size 14 and 20. Offering tips on fashion, cooking and lifestyle, Just As Beautiful promises never to include diet plans, and crucially, it’ll also present models without the airbrushing we’re so readily subjected to elsewhere in the media.
Just As Beautiful is the brainchild of its editor, Sue Thompson, who is herself a proud size 18. Her mission statement is simply to “help end the current harsh visual obsession” of which she feels curvier women are the victims.
While some have argued it just serves to further exacerbate size issues and perpetuates the debate on perceptions of perfection, I genuinely hope Just As Beautiful is well-received by a readership that appreciates its ethos; beauty comes in all shapes and sizes after all, and it’s refreshing to see more realistic attitudes to this not only creeping into the mainstream now, but being openly acknowledged too.
But let it be said that by praising the attitudes expressed in Just As Beautiful am I in no way condemning existing fashion and lifestyle magazines which choose to use petite models, nor pointing the finger of blame for anorexia, eating disorders or size issues in anyone’s direction – in a market as diverse as todays, there’s room for everyone to express their views, and this magazine has simply found its own niche.
Generally, concerted efforts to change attitudes to size really are evolving across the board – but for too long many women have felt that ‘big’ was the unspoken taboo in beauty. Now let’s hope it’s finally the last.