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big round fat curvy and beautiful four

Hey girl,

big butts are beautful.

Oh my god. Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. *sigh* She looks like, one of those rap guys’ girlfriends. But, you know, who understands those rap guys? *sigh* They’re all chasing her, because, she looks like a total babe, I mean, her butt, is just so big. I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s like, out there, I mean – hot! Look! She’s just so ... beautiful! ... I’m tired of magazines Sayin’ flat butts are the thing .... Shake that healthy butt!

Yeah, baby ... when it comes to females, Cosmo ain’t got nothin’ to do with my selection. 36-24-36? Ha ha, only if she’s 5’3”. ...

Brothers wanna play that “hard” role And tell you that the butt ain’t gold So they toss it and leave it And I pull up quick to retrieve it So Cosmo says you’re fat Well I ain’t down with that! ‘Cause your waist is small and your curves are kickin’ Girl, you look bitchin’.

*these lyrics have been changed from the original “Baby got back” by Sir Mix-a-lot.

Magazines are not the only way that society works to convince you that you are somehow not good enough. Billboards, songs on the radio, and the conversations of those already infected by it engulf every environment you find yourself in. There is no escape from these bodily ideals and there is certainly not a balance. It’s not like I can go to a different suburb where suddenly thin isn’t the way to look. Someone, somewhere decided that thin was the way to go and now every promotional photo, every example of a woman used in society is that shape. What about those girls who are larger? What about tall girls, curvy girls, girls with skinny legs and rounder bodies? Why shouldn’t they be represented in the advertising that supposedly ‘reflects society’? But it hasn’t stopped there. As well as effectively neglecting to represent 3/4 of the shapes of women alive, body shaming is becoming more and more common. It should not be allowed. Girls are having enough problems adjusting to the skinny models they are being told to look like as it is. We don’t need added guilt. Waking up each morning to find that yet again we don’t like like a covergirl is disheartening enough.

When I first started reading women’s magazines around the age of 12-13 I read something that has stayed with me ever since. The memory of which magazine it was has escaped me, but this is essentially what I read: “Stand flat against the wall, making sure your heels touch it, and relax your stomach. Once you’ve done this, carefully lower your head keeping your shoulder blades against the wall and look straight down. If you can see your toes over your tummy then you’re not fat. But if you can’t see your toes... uh oh.” Ever since I can remember checking up on my tummy every time I had a shower. I’d carefully line myself up and hold my breath as I dropped my head, hoping against all hope that my tummy would be in sight. After I quit swimming - a hobby of ten years - I began to gain wait and it was an endless worry as gradually I began to see less and less of my toes.

I used to placate myself that as long as I could see my toes then I wasn’t fat, and I was still skinny and people would still love me for who I was. I actually did this again the other day when I had just started making this zine and I couldn’t believe it. When I was thirteen reading those words in a magazine I had no idea how influential they were going to be upon my teenage years. The fact is, I never left a healthy weight range the whole time. But because I kept seeing less and less of my toes I thought my weight was yo-yo’ing out of control. Looking back I can see how ridiculous it all was, but it didn’t feel that way at the time. I guess the reason I’m telling you this story here is to emphasize just how easily words from a magazine can nest inside your mind and have an effect on you. It’s not just words either. You also get used to seeing airbrushed, size 6 models and come to think of everyone else you see who doesn’t look the same as imperfect, or at least, not as good looking.

Don’t be the girl who constantly looks for her toes. Be the girl who has more important things to think about.

 Reality is beautiful. Stop using Photoshop to alter appearances. As readers of magazines like Cosmopolitan, and Cleo, Australian women know first hand how damaging the photoshopped pictures in these magazines can be for our body image and self-esteem. Seventeen Magazine recently promised to deliver one unaltered spread a month, and to acknowledge when photos are altered. Despite this incredible victory it is only the beginning and it mainly benefits readers of Seventeen Magazine in the US. We would like to see Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines make the same promise to their Australian readers. As part of the Brainwash project I have launched a petition against the practice of including computer-altered women in Cosmopolitan Magazine and Cleo Magazine. Please head to: to show your support. It’s time for the beauty of real girls be recognised and makeup and Photoshop to take a back seat. Together we have the power to make change happen.

“If nature had intended for our skeletons to be visible it would have put them on the outside of our bodies.� - Elmer Rice

“Instead of spending life’s precious energy asking “Is my butt too big?” spend it asking “Is my life too small?” “~ Kathrine Brown

“Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.” ~J.K. Rowling

“Women should be measured by the lives we lead, not by the size we wear!” ~Elizabeth Patch

You only get one body, and it is yours. It is not the property of advertising companies and it doesn’t belong to the editors of women’s magazines. Your body is yours and you have the power to reject the insecurities and doubt that society wants you to feel. Don’t let anyone tell you how your body should look and don’t let anybody make you feel bad about the way it does. Every size is a beautiful size but thanks to our appearance driven society, most sizes are striving to upsize or downsize anything but to stay in their current state. We don’t need this mentality, we don’t deserve this mentality. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for eating large meals when we want them. We should be’’’ allowed to be ourselves inside and out, without comment, without judgement and with pride.


This zine has been produced as part of The Brainwash Project by Jessica Barlow. It aims to encourage the major players in women’s magazines to take more responsibility for the consequences of the content they present to readers. It involves creating a prototype magazine to show what women’s magazines could be like if the focus was taken away from sex, boys, appearance and shopping.If you are interested and want to take part or learn more- please visit the websites listed over the page.

Do women’s magazines make you want to vomit? Do you want to read about something other than sex, makeup and boys? Do you believe that young girls should have the option of a magazine that is thought provoking, body positive and realistic? Do you want to help shape a new magazine that answers all of these questions with a resounding YES? Brainwash Magazine is officially in the making but to get it printed I need your help...!/BrainwashMag

Brainwash project zine four  

This is the fourth zine created as part of the Brainwash Project. It focuses on the theme of weight.