Glossy Talk: Girlfriend magazine's friendlier new image

Glossy Talk: Girlfriend gets a new, girl-friendlier image in light of Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image

Girlfriend magazine editor Sarah Cornish is walking the talk on body image with a relaunch of her teen title to coincide with the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct launched by Minister for Youth Kate Ellis in June.

Cornish was a part of the National Advisory Group on Body Image and also front and centre at the press call for the launch of the resulting initiatives which "encourage media, fashion and advertising industries to promote more positive body image messages" through support for the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct.

In addition to a refreshed masthead, the re-design of sections, layouts and fonts and a new cover-mount strategy, Girlfriend aims to comply with the Code of Conduct with a strict new body image policy covering everything from the selection of models published within the magazine to retouching guidelines. These include:

- The removal of images of models modelling catwalk (runway) from the pages of
- Banning the Photo-shopping of body shape, size, hair colour or permanent marks
(moles, freckles, scars, lines, tattoos);
- An ongoing commitment to using more real girls as models;
- And the promotion of positive role models and banning of celebrities who readers
identify as having poor body image.

Additionally, the new-look August issue out on Wednesday will give purchasers the option of an "I am beautiful" or "I am strong" necklace, which signifies the first of a series of girl-positive gifts to be cover-mounted over successive issues to tie in with the magazine's "I Am Beautiful" body image campaign.

In a press release, Cornish states, "The youth market has always valued innovation, and we’re excited to deliver Girlfriend readers a fresh, creative product which, more than ever, offers greater editorial substance and real understanding of the teen issues of today."

I'm in two minds about the "banning of celebrities with poor body image": by all means, present teens with healthy role models, and subtly omit celebs who might influence girls negatively, but what constitutes/measures poor body image exactly and what does it say to girls about accepting each other, and themselves, if these celebrities are singled out and shunned?

Still, all credit to Girlfriend for getting a jump start on the Voluntary Industry Code, which comes into play later this year and will allocate the body-image friendly symbol to compliant media through an awards scheme overseen by Mia Freedman. Big tick!

See also:
ACP's Australian Beauty Awards + Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image
Kate Ellis' launch speech

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


Megan said...

Good on Girlfriend for getting on board.

Even though its an optional thing to do, I think all mags should do it.

However, I can see why they wouldn't.

Bunny said...

The celebrities that readers identify as having poor body image part jumped out at me as problematic too.

It makes it very easy for readers to target another group (very thin celebrities) for exclusion on the basis of having 'poor body image, when - a) very thin is a natural body shape for some people, and b) like you said, who is to say that these people don't have really healthy positive body image?

But otherwise, it is a really good move. Go Girlfriend!

Anonymous said...

It's a shame Girlfriends "refresh' appears to be more of a 'lets copy' Dolly, same look and using exactly the same font.

Julie said...

Big tick indeed! Well done Girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

Looks great! Very fresh.

Anonymous said...

I find it quite amusing that their 'refresh' required a skinner logo.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we shouldn't automatically assume 'poor body image' translates into "skinny girls"...

also, judge a book by its cover much? I'm going to wait to see the whole mag before making an opinion on it's new look.

Scarlett Harris said...

I agree with you, Erica, when you ask why celebrities with "bad body image" should be singled out. What even constitutes bad body image? Someone like Heidi Montag, who is obviously a sad and tragic little girl trapped inside a made-for-Hollywood body. Maybe Montag should be held up as a role model to caution girls that changing the way you look on the outside won't change who you are/how you feel on the inside. What about Lily Allen, who has made many a cover appearance on the mag, and it's ACP counterpart, Dolly. She has openly admitted to hating her body and obviously has an unhealthy relationship with food, but she sings cool songs, so it's okay, right?
Maybe someone like Ricki-Lee is someone Girlfriend thinks has positive body image, which is evidently not the case according to last week's Who cover.
I would encourage Girlfriend to start a dialogue regarding who their readers think are positive celeb role models and why, because it's not all black and white for everyone.
And yes, the "singling out" of said bad role models just facilitates the whole conundrum.