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Models are off the agenda for Essentials magazine
In a bold move, backed by readers who suggested they preferred to see “real women”, the UK monthly magazine Essentials will no longer feature models or celebrities on its front cover.
Published by IPC Media, the October issue runs with the theme “Celebrating women like you” and contains no models or celebrities at all. Stories include:
Real Fashion – wear all the new trends your way
Real Beauty – easy make up and beauty modeled by you
Real You – it’s never too late to get what you want
The magazine also celebrates women in an article about real women; Amazing at every age, size and shape. Essentials main feature is a social media campaign to find 10 real women to put on its front cover. Essentials said it was a “UK media first for women’s glossies”.
Essentials’ editor, Jules Barton-Breck, said: “So many of these women look, and are, amazing that we wanted to celebrate them. In our recent reader survey 70% told us that they would rather see a real woman on the cover of a magazine than a celebrity, so we’re excited to be the first magazine in the UK to do this every month.”
This comes at a time when many experts are worried about the effect magazines containing very thin models and the glamorous lifestyles of the rich and famous are having on adolescents and young women.
Selena Ewing from Women’s Forum Australia said “one very clear finding is that there are harmful effects of being exposed to pictures of thing and glamourous women. Poor body image, lower self-esteem, anger, anxiety, shame, self-surveillance are documented responses.”
She added “Women may not realise this is happening to them; they may not make any connection between the glossy, breautiful, popular magazines and the negative, often hidden aspects of their own lives.”
Women’s Forum Australia has researched the issue of how women are portrayed in the media and as part of their findings they produced a satirical magazine-style publication as their research paper. Faking It: the female image in young women’s magazines reflects the body of academic research on magazines, mass media, premature sexualisation of girls, and the sexual objectification of women.
According to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures in the UK, Essentials was once again the biggest climber of mainstream magazines. It now has a circulation of 115,432, up by nearly 13% year on year.
Interestingly Cosmopolitan and Company reported the biggest falls in the women’s lifestyle and fashion sector, with a 9% drop by Cosmopolitan. Despite the fact that they feature high end fashion and have models and celebrities crammed into each issue.
Ilka Schmitt, the magazine’s publisher, said: “Celebrating our readers by putting them on the cover is a brave move, but it just feels right for Essentials. Essentials is a woman’s magazine that offers something different and more and more women are discovering that. Seven consecutive year-on-year ABC increases do not lie.”