German magazine reconsiders plan to promote ‘real women’

German magazine reconsiders plan to promote ‘real women’

German woman's magazine
German woman’s magazine

A leading German woman’s magazine that wanted to promote “real women” instead of professional models is considering abandoning the policy owing to falling sales and difficulties working with amateur models.

In what was then seen as a trailblazing move against the fashion world’s love of tall, thin models, in 2009 Brigitte said it would only feature amateurs in its glossy pages, with Andreas Lebert, its then editor-in-chief, complaining about having to use Photoshop to “fatten up” the pictures of the professionals.The magazine also hoped it would promote a healthier image of women at a time when there was growing concern over how a desire to possess the rake-thin body ubiquitous in the world of fashion might contribute to the development of eating disorders in young girls.

But nearly two years after the first “models free” edition of Brigitte rolled off the press, its publishers have drafted in new editor Stephan Schafer to give the magazine a makeover.”Naturally there is now a new direction at the magazine, which means everything is under review and that includes the no-models policy,” said Sabine Grungreiff, spokeswoman for the magazine’s publisher, Gruner + Jahr.

It appears promoting “real women” in media world dominated by thin models has done little to boost Brigitte’s fortunes. The magazine has been hamstrung by a jaded image and a declining circulation, which saw sales slump by 8 per cent over the spring and summer, according to the marketing magazine Horizon.At the same time using amateurs has proved problematic for the magazine.Although paid the same as professionals, finding them and organising contracts for them without the use of a model agency has proved costly and time consuming.

The “real women” policy has also failed to garner the universal acclaim Brigitte’s publishers may have expected. While many welcomed its introduction others queried how it was possible to define what a “real” looked like, and complained that the definition insulted thin women. – Telegraph