A minor uproar has arisen over the latest cover of T, The New York Times‘ style magazine. Apparently, it has offended the delicate sensibilities of NYT readers from Westport to Park Slope because it features a thin, young-looking model wearing vaguely bondage-inspired things. That’s right: they are mad at a fashion magazine for printing photos of a fashion model. Who is wearing fashion.

Writes one disgruntled reader (from Westport, CT, natch):

My reaction to the cover of the Sunday New York Times Style Magazine, which I sent to the editor Deborah Needleman, is: “Where did you get this child for your cover? The photo represents kiddy porn and I object.”

Even if the model is over 18 (and I’m sure she is, to be legal) the makeup, stance, clothing and her very youthful appearance make the image one of a child in provocative dress with an adult message. Where is her mother? I’m a long time print subscriber to The New York Times and I don’t want to read a newspaper that’s moving into sleaze for dirty old men.

The New York Times: the pornographer of record!

Writes another person, this time from France:

As a woman, I was infuriated to see the current cover of T Magazine, which featured an anorexic-looking model. The additional photos in the shoot featured in the magazine were of similar super-thin models — and this on Mother’s Day weekend, when we should be celebrating some more realistic picture of womanhood. Haven’t we moved beyond this? Hasn’t the debate in fashion over the promotion of these wretchedly thin models been thoroughly discussed? Do we really have to fight this issue within The New York Times in 2013?

I’m embarrassed that I have to say this again, but calling a thin model “anorexic” is not going to help promote body positivity. The fact is, you cannot, and should not, judge someone’s health just by looking at them, whether they are fat or thin. It’s one thing to call for more body diversity in fashion; it’s another to do it by bodysnarking on, or infantilizing, thin women.

Plus, I find it hilarious that a shoot that is basically “rock and roll bikinis” would inspire such a prudish response, but then again, I am not a New York Times subscriber.

Curiously enough, EIC Deborah Needleman decides to agree with the bodysnarking in her response. She also feels the need to defend the model’s intelligence and grown up-ness:

I’ve gotten a lot of comments from people loving the images!

Julia Nobis, the model, is a 20-year-old undergraduate studying medicine. We chose her because of her strong looks and the personality she is able to project. She is rather thin for my taste, as most models are, and I considered adding some fat to her with Photoshop, but decided that as it is her body, I’d let it be. Fashion photography involves a bit of fantasy, and often some edge, and while the bathing suits are strappy and have buckles, that is a far cry from bondage — either showing it or advocating it. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is racier and more explicit than these images.

Maybe I’ve just looked at too many fashion photos, but these seem totally unremarkable to me. (And actually, I really like them, as I am always looking for ways to carry my dark look into the summer time without looking like something out of Goths In Hot Weather.) I mean, have these people ever seen a fashion spread before? I’m not saying that narrow standards of beauty are not a problem, but to single out T Magazine simply for refusing to go against the norm seems ridiculous.

Then again, sometimes it’s good to have an outside reminder that the fashion industry is still pretty fucked up, and that everyone who doesn’t go against the norm is equally complicit in constantly reproducing a damaging status quo. From the mouths of babes, etc. But I still find the pearl-clutching over black bathing suits pretty ridic.

(Via The New York Observer)