In a move labelled daring and revolutionary, this month’s edition of Marie Claire features nude photos of Australian model Jennifer Hawkins air-brush free. The shoot reveals “brave” Jen with all her flaws.
And what exactly are these impediments?
A tiny crease in Hawkins's waist, a slightly dimpled thigh and “uneven skin tones”.
As if this isn’t enough, Hawkins notes an additional flaw: her hips.
She has them.
Miss Universe 2004 is really the Elephant Woman.
According to Marie Claire editor Jackie Frank, the Hawkins images were inspired by a survey of 5,500 readers that found only 12 per cent of women were happy with their bodies.
That’s right, nude pics of a woman considered one of the world’s rarest beauties are supposed to cheer the rest of us up.
The pictures will be auctioned this month with proceeds going to eating disorders support group the Butterfly Foundation.
That Hawkins - lined up against contenders in a global competition judging women purely on their looks and chosen as “hottest” of all - has been enlisted in the cause of girls who hate their bodies and are, in many ways, victims of the dominant ideal of female beauty kind of messes with my head.
How can these pictures possibly help women feel good about themselves?
Melinda Tankard Reist is a Canberra author, speaker, commentator and advocate with a special interest in issues affecting women and girls. Melinda is author of Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief after Abortion (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2000), Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics (Spinifex Press, 2006) and editor of Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009). Melinda is a founder of Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation (www.collectiveshout.org). Melinda blogs at www.melindatankardreist.com.