It was the bounty heard ‘round the world last week when Jezebel offered $10,000 for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham in Vogue. Jessica Coen, editor of the Gawker-run women’s site, wrote that they were offering cash for the before pics from Dunham’s cover shoot because the after images are, “all in all, quite nice. She's well-styled and looks fantastic. As if Vogue would have it any other way.”
Feminist forums have been abuzz recently about the editor of Esquire UK's comments regarding the objectification of women in magazines. More than the content of these discussions, however, what is most notable to me is how mainstream conversation about sexuality uses a black-and-white framework: women's bodies can only be a sex object or a not a sex object. Thanks to the term "objectification," bodies are seen as either objects or non-objects—it feels like there's no wiggle room. As someone who works as a model, I think we should instead focus rather than the conversation around women possessing their own sexuality.
In 1998, editor-in-chief Anna Wintour made the "gentle suggestion" to Oprah Winfrey that she lose 20 pounds in order to be on the cover of Vogue. According to Wintour, Oprah agreed and went on a "stringent diet", resulting in one of Vogue's "most successful covers ever". Oprah was the first black celebrity to be featured on the cover. Read more gentleness from Anna Wintour after the jump.