Life

Every woman should be represented in the media, and this is what we’re going to do about it

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published

We won’t be part of a media that fails to represent real women  – this is why. 

One of the founding principles of Stylist, from its inception 10 years ago, was that we would never make women feel bad about the way they looked. This meant no diet talk: no tips on how to lose weight, no shaming, no phrases centred around guilt. 

We also eschewed the usual ‘how to look younger’ headlines for content that focus on careers, books, restaurants and things to do – encouraging women to enjoy their lives and their bodies. 

Over the last decade these corner stones of Stylist have stayed the same, but now we’re pushing harder than ever to make sure that a more inclusive version of this message is heard, louder and stronger than ever before. 

For too long women have been told to be ‘perfect’. To be thin. To stay young. To only look one way. To only act one way. To only love one way. To hide our scars. To hide our wrinkles. To hide the things that make us, us. 

But we have decided, we will not hide anymore.

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Stylist’s Love Women initiative champions showing off our wrinkles, scars and differences. Making sure we see more bodies that look like ours, that represent us. More than that, we want to see hair that represents everyone, love that represents everyone. 

We want to see women, all women. 

The representation of women by both mainstream and social media has failed to reflect who we see in the mirror, and its impact on our mental health is worrying. 

As well as the launch of our Body Politics series, we’ve partnered with Dove, whose latest project (in conjunction with photo library Getty Images) aims to increase the supply of diverse pictures of women – which we will be using going forward in a bid to represent every woman in the pages of our magazine and on our website.

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Further to this, our editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski has also made five pledges to Stylist readers:

  1. We will ensure the women you see on our pages represent all women – inclusive of ethnicity, body shape, sexuality, age and disability. When we create content and ideas, we will ensure that all women are represented at the table. We commit to featuring one fashion or beauty photoshoot a month that uses real, diverse women.
  2. We will ensure that we never sell an impossible dream. We believe in aspiration, but not in selling a lie. We will work with influencers, celebrities and other partners to encourage them to reveal their truths, too.
  3. We will celebrate the so-called flaws of women to prove the normality in all of our bodies. We will run videos, photoshoots and honest accounts of our bodies and how they behave.
  4. We will hold regular huddles with our advertisers and brand partners to challenge the way they portray and reflect women in their branding and advertising. We will call out and challenge brands, media and people who refuse to represent women with respect and truth. We will call on the government to support our goals.
  5. Through insight and anecdote, we will teach everyone about the issues facing women, what needs to be done and how we can all work together to resolve this self-esteem crisis.

Watch the video above to see more about our pledge. 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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