Beautiful Magazine Tries To Make Women Feel Good About Themselves

Fresh off the Facebook fan page of celebrated feminist author Naomi Wolf comes news of a new-ish glossy magazine called Beautiful that’s supposed to make women feel good about themselves. But isn’t the whole point of glossy women’s mags to make us feel bad about ourselves so we will buy the life improving products advertised therein? How will this magazine support itself?

I don’t know, but I hope they figure it out. Launched by U.K. residents Sue Thomason and Sarah Kenny, Beautiful purports to attempt to reverse the damage done to women’s self esteem by traditional media and advertising. Like an antidote, in paper form. Does that mean that for every page of Vogue I read, I can just go read a page of Beautiful and I will feel good inside once again?

Via the press release:

  • Beautiful only publishes images of models size 12 and over.
  • Does not publish diet and weight-loss advice.
  • Celebrates beauty and diversity and does not use image manipulation to make models look thinner.
  • Bans adverts that are harmful to self esteem.
  • Is dedicated to building self worth from cover to cover.
  • Reports on the latest research into the effects of the media on women, including our relationship with ourselves and our bodies.
  • Presents exciting new ideas, cutting edge psychology and news with substance for smart and sassy women
  • Fashion that is both sexy and accessible for all shapes and sizes.


I’m on board with pretty much everything except only using models above a size 12. If they really wanted to celebrate all shapes and sizes, they’d use, well, all shapes and sizes. (For instance, I’m a size 6-8, and I’d love to see some affordable outfits that would be flattering on me.) In her blog, Thomason describes it as a magazine geared towards curvy women, which would make more sense with the size 12 thing. If that’s really the case, though, they should own that and put it in their press release. There’s nothing wrong with having a magazine geared towards a specific subset of people, especially one that’s been traditionally ignored.

I also hope they have deep pockets, because a quality glossy magazine is insanely expensive to produce, and if they have to go low budget with it, there’s no chance it will be able to compete with mainstream magazines. Any type of art made with ethics in mind tends to get ridiculed by people at the top of the field, who think lesser values like “not making women hate themselves” should always be subordinate to their Platonic ideals of Art and Beauty, which they pretend are neutral and essential but are actually incredibly loaded in and of themselves. Think about how much shit vegan restaurants get, no matter how tasty the food is. You have to make your mag that much better, or your food that much tastier, to even get a seat at the proverbial table.

If you’re curious, you can order the latest issue from their website. It has insanely talented singer-songwriter Adele on the cover, which can only be a good thing.

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    • G

      uhm they say they don’t publish advice about diet and weight loss…but that cover says “think yourself fit, your route to effortless exercise” so unless that is a metaphorical article title…am i missing something?

      • Sue Thomason

        Hi, I’m editor of this magazine and I just wanted to say thanks for highlighting Beautiful in your blog. Your support is very much appreciated.

        I also wanted to answer a couple of questions asked within the article and also in the comments posted so far.

        We use only models of a UK size 12 and over to redress the balance. A size 6 to 8 (UK size) can find fashion and pictures of models wearing that fashion in every other magazine on the shelf. When other magazines start to include models of all sizes we will then begin to include thinner models (but only naturally thin models, not starved, artificially thin models).

        All women of all sizes (skinny or fat) need to see pictures of bigger women. See here

        Beautiful is not just geared towards curvy women. My blog posts saying that are old and about previous manifestations and our test issue. The Beautiful Summer issue is our launch and it is geared towards women of all sizes. We just don’t show images of models below size 12.

        The Think Yourself Fit article within the magazine is about mental rehearsal – it’s all about enjoying movement for movement’s sake and it is not at all about losing weight. In fact, the article talks about how weight loss as a motivation to exercise doesn’t work.

        I understand how you’ve come to assume that the article will be about weight loss because this seems to be the way other women’s media and the mainstream media as a whole deal with the subject. This is not only ineffective but it discourages people from exercise. In Beautiful all fitness and health information is geared towards pleasure for the reader and not any type of means to an end or a way to get people to approve of you.

        Also, we don’t have deep pockets I’m afraid, but we like a challenge and we’re very, VERY determined.

        I hope this answers all of your questions. If anyone would like to write to us for our letters page or just if you’d like to know more, please visit our site and use our contact form.

        Good luck and best wishes,

        Sue x

    • Jamie Peck

      I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they mean “fitness” as in “your body needs exercise in order to work right and be healthy and not get sick,” not as in “LOSE SOME WEIGHT, FATTY!”

    • mmmjazz

      It’s a UK Magazine, so sizing will be different. I’m a 6-8 in American sizes, but a 12 in the UK.