Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Unpublished Letter to the Editor, Vogue Magazine

To the Editor:

Reading the beauty, health & fitness features in Vogue for the past 25 years has filled me variously with yearning (for those mid-90s workouts with Radu); imitation (I still won’t drink any beverage with bubbles after reading Dodie Kazanjian’s decade-old piece on body sculpting); anger (Helen Bransford gets a face lift so she’ll feel less insecure around her younger husband [who later divorces her anyway]); and anthropological curiosity (how does it really feel and look to have plastic surgery?).

But until the April 2007 body issue, never have I felt like cheering. As I began to read “Seven Women Obsess over their Bodies,” I fully expected to share the drama of their surgeries, their painful but encouraging recovery, and their happiness with their revised, taut look. That Ayelet Waldman and Rebecca Johnson choose instead not to alter their bodies (belly and chin, respectively) seems to me a watershed in Vogue. Rather, each article ended with the author’s appreciation of her natural self, stretched or baggy though it may be. And that attitude is a real feature of beauty.


Miss Cavendish

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