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Paper Monitor

11:59 UK time, Thursday, 3 September 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

lizziemillertummy_afp.jpgIt's unusual for a small photograph hidden away on page 194 of a US glossy magazine to excite much comment.

But this provocative photo in Glamour is different - can you see why? Model Lizzie Miller has a small tummy roll - and its unairbrushed use has sparked a thousand words. And that's just in the Daily Mail on "the wobbly bits that shook the world" (mercifully, none of them penned by confession queen Liz Jones).

Former SHE editor Linda Kelsey writes:

"It might be a tiny imperfection, but when it was published in the American edition of Glamour magazine, it appeared amid hundreds of pages of adverts and fashion shots in which the models have no blemishes, no frown lines, no wrinkles and certainly no body fat."

The Guardian also chips in with its tuppanceworth on the beautiful young woman with a small roll of belly fat and Glamour readers' enthusiastic response.

"One wouldn't have thought this would be news. As Miller says, 'pretty much every picture in a magazine or ad is airbrushed' ... So does the reaction to this picture mean that the tide is turning? Hardly. Even after the deluge of e-mails, [Glamour editor Cindi] Leive hasn't made a commitment to using average-sized women in fashion shoots."

So why has this caused such a fuss? Because so many women are uptight about their stomachs, and perhaps seeing a less-than-washboard midriff in a glossy magazine might make them a little less harsh on themselves. For the picture in question illustrates a story about body confidence, and the model - Lizzie Miller, at 12 stone considered too big to model even plus-size clothes - certainly exudes bags of the stuff.

Back to the Mail:

"When we are naked in front of the mirror, there is no disguising a sagging tummy. That's why it's so groundbreaking to see a beautiful woman who is a model, even if a curvy one, willing to reveal that she, too, has the same imperfections as the rest of us."

The Daily Telegraph also indulges in a spot of head-scratching on photo fakery. But its piece segues from fake autumnal leaves in a Visit Scotland advert into Miss Miller's tummy roll (and then Corpus Christi on University Challenge) with all the grace of a John Sergeant jive.

"I can't see what all the fuss is about over Scotland's tourism agency using a photo of a little girl tossing autumnal leaves in the air that turn out to be plastic. Photographic manipulation flourishes in every aspect of our lives. I have a friend, whom the sanctity of the confessional forbids me from naming, who has airbrushed his stomach out of his holiday beach photos this year."

Once its columnist gets to the Glamour mag tummy, he appears to miss the beat entirely:

"Lizzie Miller is in the eye of a blogosphere storm for daring to show a little unairbrushed tummy fat..."

Web Monitor may be able to prove otherwise, but to Paper Monitor's eyes, the columnists and the commenting readers alike think she looks gorgeous, and are delighted to see a real woman's body in a fashion mag.

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