Woman and Unreachable Standards: Airbrushing as Business Imperative

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Pic: Sarah Murdoch on the latest Womens Weekly cover.

The Australian Women's Weekly has run its latest issue with a non-airbrushed cover shot of Sarah Murdoch, model and daughter-in-law of His Antichristness, Rupert (how on earth did such a man come out of a dudey gal like Iris, but I digress).

Hooray for some sense and guts to come from someone appearing on a magazine cover. Sarah asked for her shot to not be airbrushed. As she said in this interview from the ABC site:
I think when I'm retouched in photographs it's worse, because when people see me in real life they go, 'Oh God, isn't she old?' ... It makes me mad that we can't embrace the beauty of ageing, because we're all going to do it.
Yeah. Like, duh. Good stuff, Sarah. Awesomeness.

The Weekly's editor, Helen McCabe, when asked if they will do it again said:

There are real business imperatives why magazines have gone this way. It's a very competitive industry and I'm - at this stage - just taking a little baby step and seeing how this goes for now.

I am planning on buying a copy of the Weekly. I'm hoping it becomes a business imperative to NOT airbrush women. It's disgusting and pretty much immoral, and also dehumanising for women to constantly have portrayed at them unattainable beauty that doesn't even exist.

Nothing is done if profit cannot be achieved in the small, small business world we now live in. But oh, how cool if this was to become a standard.


  1. thanks for the heads up on this
    might have to get myself a copy too

  2. Hurrah for Sarah. Do you think some women dont want to see the reality of aging though? will they not like this warts and all pic of Sarah?
    I'll be buying a copy now!

  3. Great cover and good for the woman on the front cover.
    There is a political party over here (Lib Dem) that say all airbrushed images (esp in teenage magazines) should have every edit listed along side it. Sadly said political party stands a very slim chance of getting into power but it's a great mandate huh?

  4. Kel - no problems. It's delightful to see some wrinkles on the front of a magazine cover :)

    Cloudbusting - Yeah, I absolutely agree some women don't want to see it. But that's cos they're so caught up in this crazy thing that doesn't even exist. How nice when you're young to begin preparing yourself for getting old. It just seems like wisdom to me. I reckon yeah lots of women will not want to see a pic like that. But I have a feeling that plenty more will. Maybe.

    A Thrifty Mrs - hello there :) That political party sounds like interesting - Liberal Democrats. So are they more Liberal than the Democrats? Which would be - oh, geez, well, according to plenty of people the Democrats are pure socialists so these guys would be right off the chart. Hah :) It IS a great mandate.

  5. Yes, the bar for beauty set by society is set so high, that it is unreachable... Hurrah for Sarah, A Brave Thing to Do!

    1. Hi Diana. And surprise surprise the space between that bar and where our fingers can reach is filled with beauty products and a relentless fear of failure so that we don't go out and act in our best interests.

      It was a very brave thing to do. It's a shame that more hasn't changed in the five years since she did it.


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