Comment Box: A Magazine Cover Double Standard?
In last week's Celebritology Live chat, we got a bit verklempt in discussing Tyson Beckford's statement that actors and musicians should leave magazine covers to models, saying it takes "a lot of tweaking and airbrushing to get the same from a celebrity that you would get from a model."
I won't excerpt the entire back-and-forth here, but to summarize: One reader wrote in to agree with Beckford, recounting his (or her) disgust upon finding a plump Jack Black on a GQ cover. I countered that I'd prefer Black over Beckford; he's got character. Then, another reader took exception to my logic saying that, "No women with the appearance quirks of Jack Black is ever allowed on a magazine cover (or really onscreen) -- no Janeane Garofalo, Kathy Najimy, Nia Vardolos, or Katey Segal allowed."
Okay, fair enough. For the most part, you're right. The preponderance of fashion mags are splashed with images of waif-like minors -- fashion mags are in the business of selling a fantasy and, as evinced by their continued survival, we generally buy into it.
But, here's where I think the logic is flawed:
First -- although men's fashion is a big part of GQ, it isn't exclusively a fashion mag in the same sense as Vogue or Elle. A more even comparison would be Men's Vogue -- which this month, by the way, features a fetching image of non-model Robert Downey Jr. And, in the past, has put Barack Obama, Daniel Day Lewis and Tony Blair on its covers. But does recent news that the mag will be cut back to a twice-a-year special publication mean that men aren't buying the above-average Joes on the cover or that character doesn't sell? I doubt it. It's more likely a function of men's fashion mags being a notoriously hard sell. The same tactic (as we'll see below) actually works for female-targeted mags.
Second -- Jack Black, like it or not, is a huge star. He's got big-time box office cred. Not only for his own quirky films ("School of Rock," "Nacho Libre"), but for starring opposite some of the biggest names in the business (Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet). And as much as I admire and respect Janeane Garofalo, Kathy Najimy, Nia Vardolos and Katey Segal, they are not now and never have been A-listers. So, putting myself in the place of Anna Wintour or any other fashion mag editrix, I probably wouldn't choose any of them for my cover either.
But I might choose these non-models:
First lady Michelle Obama, who in 2009 has already graced the cover of both Vogue and People.
Beyonce Knowles, whose dangerous curves would disqualify her from runway work, is featured on April's issue of Vogue.
Oprah Winfrey, who is a stalwart on her own mag cover, but has also been featured on Vogue, among others.
Jennifer Hudson, again a woman who could never be accused of conforming to supermodel standards, who made the March 2007 cover of Vogue.
Kate Winslet, famously protective of her shapely figure, was featured on British Vogue's January 2003 cover. (Though she does admit to being airbrushed for the cover of a 2003 British GQ and was outraged last fall when it was claimed that Vanity Fair doctored her cover shots.)
Tyra Banks, a former supermodel who (thankfully) started eating as she transitioned into her new life as a talk-show host, and has famously defended her more realistic weight.
Salma Hayek, the 5'2", curvy actress who made British Vogue's June 2003 cover.
Are these women as, ahem, hefty as Jack Black? No. Are they standout examples of the diversity of human beauty? Yes. Were they air-brushed? Yep. So are the supermodels. Was Jack Black's GQ cover airbrushed, too? I'd count on it.
| March 23, 2009; 10:43 AM ET
Categories: Comment Box
Save & Share: Previous: Natasha Richardson Laid to Rest; Bruce Willis Marries
Next: David Letterman Marries; Octo-Mom Fires Nannies
Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 23, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | March 23, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | March 23, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: buffysummers | March 23, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: reddragon1 | March 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: spg2 | March 23, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eet7e | March 23, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mdreader01 | March 23, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tru-indy | March 23, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ishkabibbleA | March 23, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ideallydc | March 23, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jaybbub | March 23, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: reddragon1 | March 23, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: reddragon1 | March 23, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: VTDuffman | March 23, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mdreader01 | March 23, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jelo | March 23, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: schafer-family | March 23, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.