Runway models vs. real women: A reader's lament

Runway models vs. real women: A reader's lament
Image section, Sept. 30, 2012 (Los Angeles Times)

Looking through Sunday's Image section, reader Katherine Wertheim of Ventura felt something was missing.

"In all the pictures the models have no breasts," she wrote to The Times. "Are breasts out this season? What shall I do with mine?"


Wertheim said the problem she saw was not just with the Paris runway coverage, though the model featured on the section's cover is quintessentially long and lean.

She listed the examples: "In the article 'Biker Chic for All' the woman in the 10 Crosby Derek Lam coat has no breasts either. In the 'Show Your Stripes' article, except for the picture of Jenna Ushkowitz at a 'Glee' premiere, none of the women appears to be more than an A cup. Even the Valentino ad on Page 2 is problematic: The woman in the jumpsuit seems to have no breasts at all."

Wertheim felt that the section was "writing off" the majority of women by featuring fashions they wouldn't wear.

"On Page 6, I look at that blue leather top and think, 'I could never wear that.' The whole article on horizontal stripes will never ever apply to me," she said.

"I would love it if someone would consider writing articles for those of us with both money and breasts."

Image section editor Susan Denley said she sympathized with Wertheim’s concerns. She replied, "In Image, we do include fuller-figured women – I happen to be one myself. For instance, we've featured Solange Knowles, Adele and Viola Davis in our style coverage."

But,  Denley acknowledged, "On a week-to-week basis, like any fashion publication, we do tend to skew toward the models and actresses who most often are photographed wearing designer clothes."

She said Image usually had to rely on photographs available from wire services or designers. It's more rare that the section is able to hire models and set up its own photo shoots.

In Sunday's section, only one fashion photo was by a Times photographer – a small image of male models from the spring L.A. fashion week.

Still, Wertheim found Denley's response encouraging, saying she was glad "it's not all models running articles for other models."

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