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British Vogue educates teenage school girls about “natural” beauty standards

Continuing on Dove’s attempts to reassure women about their natural beauty, the fashion Bible of our times, British Vogue, in its latest social campaign brings the most vulnerable victims of fashion—12- to-16-year-old girls—into focus. Spearheaded by the editor Alexandra Shulman, the educational initiative aims to prove that the imposed beauty standards that we see from the glamourous pages are not real, that it is just the result of many hours of the team work of make-up specialists, photographers, light assistants and graphic designers.

Photo: Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue, from The Guardian, by Gemma Kappala-Ramsamy

Photo: Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue, from The Guardian, by Gemma Kappala-Ramsamy

The magazine has made a short movie describing the process of creating a perfect fashion photography with the models who look not so perfectly in everyday life. The film has been distributed in British schools starting September—the month of international catwalk shows—to educate teenagers about what a real beauty is and how to raise self-esteem.

While it is fashion media, who influence 13-year old girls’ decision to diet or skip evening meals, the British Vogue editor insists that the fashion pictures are created to inspire and entertain, not to represent the reality.

Ms. Shulman comments: “The problem, if there is a problem, comes when people judge themselves and their appearance against the models they see on the pages of a magazine and then feel that in some way they fall short.”

The film, narrated by top model Jade Parfitt, among other goals, warns about how the pursuits of having a perfect skin and body can be destructive to mental and physical health of teenagers.