October 21, 2012

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Taylor Swift Photoshop Fail Face for Glamour Magazine, November 2012

I was riding the subway last week and noticed a 20-something-year-old girl across the car, reading an issue of Glamour magazine. "What the [heck] is on that cover?" I wondered, as I peered a little closer. At first glance, I couldn't tell if the image on the cover was A. an actual photograph or a digitally produced image, and B. of a Homo Sapien. I hopped off the subway and forgot all about it, until I saw the issue on stands today, and I took another look.

Well, it turns out it's Taylor Swift! I was sure it was a curly-haired alien, or maybe Taylor Swift cartooned into a Disney princess, but nope! Glamour, you tricked me -- and this is about the only way you succeeded with this cover. So I'm going to zip up my oxblood riding boots and hop on a horse as high as Ann Romney's Rafalca, and tell you why.

Firstly, you went too far. So you didn't Ralph Lauren her waist line, or Victoria's Secret her arm, but you airbrushed her to the point where her species comes into question. I understand that you wanted the image to be glamorous -- your name is Glamour after all, and I'm smart enough to pick up on that, as are your readers. But did this really not set off any red flags or alarm bells?

Women's magazines, and particularly fashion publications, have received a lot of heat for presenting unrealistic ideals of beauty, especially in recent history, as women of all ages have petitioned for the use of real and untouched images. As a result of these petitions, Seventeen magazine even vowed to put an end to overtouched photos.

But you know what? I'm more realistic. I understand that photos need editing. And I know that as readers, there's an element of fantasy we indulge in when reading your magazine. Fame, glamour, wealth, and beauty as transformed on your pages is an exciting part of the experience.

Yet I still ask, why can't real women be beautiful too? How does the work of a magnificent photographer and beauty team who spent hours, maybe days on this shoot, earn the respect it deserves when Photoshop left its unruly mark all over the image? Why is Taylor Swift not allowed to have pores? Or human skin? Look at it again. Really, Glamour? Really?

But the problems with this cover go beyond Taylor Swift. Yes, her face looks insane, but also, do 33.5 year old women -- the median age of your readership -- care about Taylor Swift at all? At least she's sharing "stuff she only tells her girlfriends." Was she horrified by her last Pap test? What type of birth control doesn't turn her into a raging bitch? Did she hook up with someone and is now suffering the hilariously awkward consequences? How does she secretly go numero dos at her boyfriends place, and does she fart in front of him? (Fine, maybe that last one is just me and my girlfriends.) I'm guessing that interview is about another break up, writing a song about it, winning a Grammy, and repeating the process. Stars: they're just like us!

The laundry list continues. "101 New Ways to Do Your Hair," received an even bigger headline than your beloved cover star, and prime real estate on the cover. 101 NEW ways? I'm feeling overwhelmed just thinking about flipping through that many pages of DIY hair dos. I can do ten. Ten new ways to do my hair would suffice. So please, knock me over the head with a round brush and wake me up when the list hits number 90.

"And, Oh Yeah, That Little Thing Called the Election." Wait. What? The PRESIDENT answers readers' questions, and granted you an interview and it's placed under Hair, Skin, Taylor, and Guys, like an afterthought? I'm starting to sound like Seth Meyers as again I say, really, Glamour? Really?

This is wrong on so many levels. It's insulting to your readership. And you know what? It's insulting to the President too.

Sure, it's an election year and his PR machine is working in overdrive and so maybe it isn't that crazy to see him indulging a magazine like yours, but here's the thing: it's an election year. The man is busy! Just like millions of other Americans, he too wants job security for the next four years! HE'S just like us. Except he is also running an entire country, deflecting the shit thrown at him in his own country and from others, campaigning, conventioning, and debating, and probably doing nightly situps with Michelle! So a little respect is in order, that's all.

The old adage that you can't judge a book by it's cover doesn't apply to magazines -- you tell us what you think we'll think will be the most important articles inside. Thus, I needn't look any further to decide that I won't be buying this issue. It's the digital era and print publications are suffering -- Newsweek announced last week that it will stop print production in January 2013 -- and you need us. Your jobs depend on us buying your work. Where's the effort and the fresh content? Publishing the same articles we've read a million times before is an already existing injury that much of the insult noted above was added to.

In conclusion, I'm just asking you to show women a little more respect. You're supposed to be on our team! We do care about having good hair and having clean skin, but this doesn't make us stupid. Expecting us to not notice things like Taylor Swift's face and the hierarchy of your content makes you seem stupid. And you're not either.

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  1. You deserve a glorious "slow clap" that goes on for days

  2. Rachel is right... Slow.Clap.Happening.Now.

    Thank you for saying what we all think.

  3. Thank you so much for saying this!!! I actually said just the other day while with my husband.....why would I buy anything with Taylor Swift on the cover!!! I live overseas and getting an issue of Glamour is hard enough but then to have to opt out of my connection back home because of this cover was tough...but I DID NOT BUY IT!!!! Really Glamour? Really? is RIGHT:)

    A slow clap is continuing in Bahrain:)

  4. Thank you so much for saying this!!! I actually said just the other day while with my husband.....why would I buy anything with Taylor Swift on the cover!!! I live overseas and getting an issue of Glamour is hard enough but then to have to opt out of my connection back home because of this cover was tough...but I DID NOT BUY IT!!!! Really Glamour? Really? is RIGHT:)

    A slow clap is continuing in Bahrain:)

  5. Thats sooo not cool :/

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    Have a wonderful Day! xx

  6. Please, Please, Please, send this to them! Maybe you already have? I hope everything is going well in NYC. Now that I'm over the back to University/ MA jitters, life in London so far is #@$%ing Brilliant! xx

  7. I really hope you mailed this, or are going to! Well said. Hopefully you are still loving your new life in NYC. Life in London is #$@%ing Brilliant now that I'm over the back to University / MA jitters!! xo

  8. this is hilarious!! you're so right though. i did a similar post to this a few months ago about the amount of diets i'm suppose to uptake according to every fashion magazine! it's annoying no wonder women turn to bulimia, i blame the media a lot. taylor swift is so young and naturally pretty and they've turned her into a stepford wife!! oh weill they ever earn.. :)


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  10. Haha I've never heard of "Victoria Secret arms" before but I can imagine what it means, although her arms look extremely tiny compared to the rest of her body!

  11. Someone's in journalism school... but seriously, that was awesome. Plus, Glamour, thanks for playing in to the two party system just like everyone else... wait, there could be another choice? Sigh. I feel SO empowered. Thanks for saying it!

  12. Enjoyable writing. I rarely come across anyone who can write an entire sentence that makes sense, much less make it entertaining. I have to say, I dont read magazines for fashion anymore, but I do use this new fashion app called "fashion" by codeblue009 to keep track of the new trends in haute couture and street styles. Bonus- I can pull things out of my closet from 10 yrs ago that I know are back in style because of the app. :)

  13. Such a great post Niki! Magazines are getting more out of control these days. There are so many celebs being put in ads and on covers and I have no idea it's them until I see their name under the photo. Even then I'm confused. If the magazines are looking for something new and a "fresh approach" then dare to use a real looking woman. And yes, a WOMAN, not a little girl playing dress up. They would be shocked to know that there is a whole world of untouched people walking around and they're gorgeous and not at all creepy looking.
    Thanks for the awesome post!
    Jen xo

  14. Niki, your writing is hilarious and refreshing, as always! I can't even remember the last time I bought a fashion magazine, mostly because there is hardly any fashion in them anymore and they all start to sound like some terrible repeat of a Cosmo mag I used to by when I was 16 and thought I was cool. And I can't understand why magazines aren't changing their attitudes towards reaching a more multi-age, multicultural, and multi-fashionable audience. Don't they know that they are up against thousands of fashion bloggers that A. represent a socio-diversified world and B. consistently strive to be individual and creative from everyone else? AND, fashion bloggers, because of their existance everywhere you could possibly imagine, are in a way educating their viewers through customs and travel in such detailed and precise ways that no fashion magazine could ever cover in just one single monthly issue. Here's the teacher in me saying, fashion mags better smarten up, or else they're going to ruin their captivation model and not have anyone left to speak to about engaging stories they have the potential to tell.
    That's all! Hope you're surviving the East Coast! It's pouring here in Van, pretttty typical. :)

  15. Hi Niki!

    Can't believe I just came across your blog until now...you are so talented! This post is amazing, and should be shared with the world. You go, girl. I'm now a follower.

    XO Jenna

  16. People don't read Glamour Magazine for their articles on Politics.