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Jackie Frank hits back at critics over unretouched Hawkins cover

MC02_COVER_JENNIFER_FINAL.inddMarie Claire editor, Jackie Frank, has hit back at Bianca Dye and Mia Freedman over their criticism of the magazine’s unretouched front cover featuring  model Jennifer Hawkins.

Radio host Dye earlier today slammed Marie Claire for its claims that it wanted to show Hawkins with all her ‘flaws’ and without Photoshop retouching to promote a positive body image for women.  

Dye told the Today show:

How is she a role model for body image if the average woman looks nothing like her?

No wonder there are so many eating disorders out there.”

She told the Daily Telegraph:

Jackie Frank is one of the most respected editors in the country and I am in shock that they would say Jennifer Hawkins is a natural role model. It’s like we’ve taken 20 steps back.”

Former Cosmopolitan editor, Mia Freedman, also weighed in on the debate with a posting on her website, criticising the comments Frank had made in the Sunday Telegraph that the Government needed to do more to help tackle the problem of eating disorders.

Freedman is also the chair of the National Advisory Group on Body Image which last year submitted to the Government the Proposed National Strategy on Body Image, which includes a voluntary Industry Code of Conduct. It is aimed at encouraging media owners, advertisers and the fashion industry to promote more positive body image messages.

Freedman said:

Last time I checked, neither the government nor the opposition were choosing models for magazine fashion stories nor were they authorising the extreme re-touching that turns real women into plastic aliens on editorial pages every single month.

That would be the editor’s job.

Any editor who claims to have no control over the images she ‘has’ to publish is being utterly disingenuous.

I know this because I have been an editor. I have made a million decisions about re-touching images and choosing the models for fashion stories. Many of those decisions I now regret. Others, I am proud of.”

She added that the only exception to the rule was posed international celebrity shots which are already retouched and controlled by the celebrities themselves and their publicists. But she claimed that such pictures only made up around 5 per cent of the images seen in glossy women’s magazines.

But Frank has responded to her critics, saying she is “disappointed” by Freedman and Dye’s comments.

Mia’s getting the wrong end of the stick. Of course I control the images in my magazine. I need to sell magazines, so I will continue to use those A List celebrities to sell my magazines and I have no control over the way they are already airbrushed. But when an opportunity like this arises to use a local girl then we’ll do what we’ve done. For me we’re really achieved what we set out to do and that is stimulate debate.”

What has surprised me about all this is that women are criticising each other – it’s women versus women. Where’s our solidarity?”

Frank said Marie Claire has frequently published stories tackling the issue of body image and shot women in the nude and unretouched over the 15 years she has been with the magazine.

She said the real issue is not about airbrushing images.

We’re not saying Jennifer is what all women should aspire to. If it’s making people feel worse about themselves then that’s a self esteem issue. Bianca Dye’s comments disappointed me. She did a fabulous thing posing nude in Madison.

But it also emphasised my point. You need a major celebrity to make big news and put it [the issue of negative body images] on the agenda. Jennifer got cut through where Bianca didn’t. Instead of criticising Jennifer, she should be saying congratulations.”

The Government is due to formally review the Proposed National Strategy on Body Image in the coming months.

Frank said the Government needs to address the issue with a two pronged approach. Firstly, by putting funding behind early education programs in schools to promote positive self esteem among young people; and secondly, providing more funding and resources to a public healthcare system which currently is ill equipped to deal with the number of people suffering and dying from eating disorders.

But on the issue of the eradication of retouching in local shoots altogether, Frank said:

I can sit here and be pious but it’s never going to happen so let’s look at what we can achieve. I need to sell magazines and I also want to make a difference.”

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