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We Are Golden

November 5, 2009

Lisa SarasohnThere’s been a big to-do regarding “the woman on page 194” in Glamour magazine’s September issue.

The photo shows a woman who, dressed, would be wearing a size 12 or 14. But here she’s nearly-naked, sitting on a bench and leaning forward, letting her belly roll over the top of her string bikini.

Thousands of readers have been cheering for this image of a plus-size woman — “a woman who looks like me” — in the trend-setting fashion magazine.

Some comments focus on one of the woman’s features. Which one?Lizzi Miller; Walter Chin for Glamour

  • This beautiful woman has a real stomach…. This is how my belly looks…. This photo made me want to shout from the rooftops.
  • Because of my own belly, I always thought I was some deformed woman, but not now. Holy hell, I am normal!
  • My belly looks like this but I never thought I was really “ok” about it.…
  • What draws us to this photo is the fact that she is glowing [with] inner peace and happiness — pouch belly and all!
  • I can’t stop looking at this picture. Her body looks almost exactly like mine…. I love her belly SO MUCH. It is actually allowing me to feel better about myself, looking at this beautiful woman.

The photo on page 194, and the passionate response to it, have become international news, breaking into Newsweek, CNN, msnbc, and blogs — such as around the world.

The woman on page 194, model Lizzi Miller, appeared along with Cindi Leive, Glamour‘s editor-in-chief, on the Today Show with Matt Lauer.

Lauer pointed out that the issue is about more than dress size:

It really is all about the tummy. Let’s be honest. It is about the fact that there is a little tummy in a position we don’t normally see tummies in magazines.

Leive responded:

But you see it all the time when you look in the mirror…. Women are seeing something that looks the way so many of us really do.

Glamour follows up on its readers’ demand for fitting reflections in its November issue. And Leive promises her magazine will be “featuring a greater range of body types” in its pages.

I’m glad the fashion magazine intends to provide photos of models that enhance, rather than undermine, women’s body image. Still, there’s that pesky problem with “image” itself — the dissatisfaction inherent in basing self-esteem on the mirror’s reflection, the visual critique.

The alternative?

  • Shifting from “how do I look?” to “how am I feeling?”
  • Rather than living on the periphery of our lives, living through the center of our bodies.
  • Drawing self-esteem from the awareness and experience of who we are in the core of our being.

National Public Radio recently featured Mika, a Lebanese-American singer/songwriter whose specialty is the bubblegum pop music harking back to the ’60s and ’70s.

Okay: his music might not be to your taste or mine. But the young man is wise. He said the words that, I hope, will become the trend-setting fashion for women, if not in our magazines, then in our lives:

We are golden.
We have a value that goes beyond
how we judge ourselves in the mirror.

Inspired to let Cindi Lieve and Glamour know how you value your body, your belly, and yourself beyond the mirror’s reflection?

Write her here or at

Wishing you well,

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2009 11:52 am

    What is really interesting about this, is model IS NOT a plus size. She is not shopping on the plus size racks believe me, she is a size 12 at the most. And her belly, I WISH my belly were that little, an empty fanny pack instead of well, I won’t go into it. Thanks so much Lisa; I wouldn’t have seen this without you as my subscription to Glamour expired, hahahaha Peace, Denise


  2. March 11, 2010 5:03 pm

    It’s nice to see somebody celebrating a real womens body.

    When can we stop being ashamed of becoming older and developing a womanly figure?

    Society needs to stop worshiping youth and teeny booper bodies.

    She makes me proud.


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