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.