NOT THE NAKED TRUTH
When I saw a naked Deborah Hutton beaming out at me from the newsstands on the cover of The Australian Women’s Weekly, I gasped.
Is this where we’re up to?
Are slumping magazine sales now forcing our female editors to use naked 50-year-old women to get some attention? (Clarification: In this instance, a naked, retouched 50-year-old woman who is actually dressed in a robe from The Photoshop.)
I love Deb Hutton, always have. But I question her motivation for doing the “naked” cover.
Since the issue came out, both Deb and the magazine have been roundly criticised for the airbrushing of her image and she has come out and defended her position, both on the magazine’s website and in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
In the article that accompanies the nude photos she says: “I fear there is too much emphasis on how thin women ought to be and not enough on health and acceptance of who we are, with all our imperfections. So I sit here baring it all for public comment.”
So here’s my comment.
The problem is that all of Deborah’s imperfections have been removed from every shot – sun spot by sun spot. I challenge any living human, man or woman, to point out one. And what troubles me is that the whole story is about how Deb is finally happy with her body at 50, however clearly she, the photographer and editor were not actually happy.
Has everyone already forgotten the L’Oreal ads of Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts that were withdrawn by the British Advertising Standards Authority which sent a powerful message to advertisers?
(In June last year, the BASA banned two ads for being misleading by using excessive airbrushing.)
Women who read magazines are requesting some transparency. If a shot is retouched, they want to know. Even better, put the non-retouched one on the website. That shot could contain credits for the make-up artist; hairdresser AND the photo-shop artist.
I make these observations as a professional in the arena of women’s marketing.
I have worked closely with magazine editors for many years and as the former Marketing Manager of The Australian Women’s Weekly (when the circulation was nearly double what it is today), I appreciate more than most how hard it is for editors to crack that magical cover that draws you in.
Most buyers allocate about 2.2 seconds to make that decision between putting the magazine into the palm of their hand and then releasing it for scanning before popping it into the bag or basket.
It’s a very difficult job. Those that seem to be consistently good at it – the greatest I’ve seen – have one thing in common: they live and breathe the same air as their audience.
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