Does a Naked, Unretouched Supermodel Promote Positive Body Image?

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The campaign against photo retouching continues in Australia this decade, where Marie Claire has put supermodel Jennifer Hawkins naked and unretouched (groundbreaking!) on the cover of the February issue. The issue supports the Butterfly Foundation, an organization that provides support to Australians struggling with eating disorders and body-image issues. You may be thinking, Since when do eating-disorder groups use essentially fatless 26-year-old supermodels to help average women feel better about their own bodies? But the foundation's general manager, Julie Parker, notes that the photo shows Hawkins's flaws, such as a crease in her waist and dimples on her thighs. (Squint if you can't see them.)


When asked why the foundation did not put forward a more average Australian woman, Ms Parker said magazines had tried that tactic in the past, to no avail.

"The thing is unfortunately it doesn't make the same point, because Jennifer sells magazines and she creates awareness. If Marie Claire had chosen to put on their cover an ordinary women, say myself or a friend of yours, it would not have created the awareness it does."


Parker added that the cover is intended to bring awareness to the issue of photo retouching, "one small part of the much wider spectrum of body image, self esteem and eating disorder issues." So the magazine intentionally sidesteps those other factors contributing to the pandemic of body-image issues in young women around the world, such as the obsession with super-skinny supermodel figures. We appreciate the efforts here, but when we look at this cover we don't think, Hey! She MIGHT have cellulite! I feel so much better about myself! We think, Damn, she's got a flat stomach. Why did I drink so much over the holidays?

Body image foundation defends nude Jennifer Hawkins cover [The Age]