Iconography: WTF, Glamour?

While we have long been able to count on the folks at Glamour magazine to tell us things like, "What He's Thinking When You're Naked" or "How to Dress 10 Pounds Thinner" (two of today's most emailed articles), it appears that they would now like us to rely on them for feminist inspiration. However, I found the "American Icons" photo spread in this issue to be less inspiring than it was confusing and disappointing.

To start things off, I in no way wish to hate on the idea of looking to women of the past for inspiration. Clearly all of us here at Bitch are major fans of that idea. And many of the women selected by Glamour to be in the spread (Mary Tyler Moore, Althea Gibson, etc.) are quite amazing and have done many a kick-ass thing over the past 70 years to inspire women everywhere. I appreciate that the people at Glamour were, in their own way, trying to laud the achievements of these "icons." However, the way in which they chose to do it falls a bit short in my opinion. Let's discuss.

As mentioned previously, the spread contains twelve photographs of current young hotties dressed up as iconic women of the past (although the inclusion of Alicia Keys as Michelle Obama makes the whole thing a little too recent-feeling). I think the main issue I take with the spread itself is that its purported goal is to inspire us that we can "do anything" by recalling great achievements made by women of the past, yet instead of publishing photographs of the actual women, Glamour chose to enlist actors with upcoming projects to promote to portray the icons. Not to mention the fact that nearly every woman chosen to model in the spread is much younger, thinner, and more conventionally attractive than her historical counterpart. Why couldn't we be inspired by a photo of the actual Amelia Earhart instead of a photo of Hayden Panettiere (star of "Bring It On 3: All Or Nothing") dressed like her?

Although I would like to post each image and discuss, I fear that you might not want to read my thoughts on all twelve of them. Instead, I am just going to discuss a few here and you can view the rest of them here. Let's begin, shall we?

Alexis Bledel as Rosie the Riveter:


Suggested inspiration: "Strength is beautiful"

Actual inspiration: "Alexis Bledel is making me feel old and fat. And I am the same age as her."

According to Glamour, Rosie the Riveter was included in this spread because her biceps inspired women in the U.S. to "step out of the kitchen and into the factory." All Alexis Bledel's biceps are inspiring me to do in this photo is to skip dinner tonight. Plus, Rosie the Riveter is a fictional character. Couldn't this space have been given to an actual woman? And speaking of fictional characters...

Emma Stone as Carrie Bradshaw:


Suggested inspiration: Be "feminine and feminist at the same time"

Actual inspiration: "Find the nearest Sex and the City box set and smash it into a million pieces. How's that for feminine and feminist?"

Can't we ever have a discussion of inspirational women in a mass media publication without a mention of Carrie Bradshaw and "Sex and the City"? Of all of the accomplishments made by women over the past seven decades, Glamour has decided to laud the achievements of a materialistic, irritating, fictional character. At least have Emma Stone play Candace Bushnell (an actual person) if you think that an "obsessed fashionista" deserves a place among the greatest American icons. Ugh. Moving on to a more positive portrayal...

America Ferrera as Dolores Huerta:


Suggested inspiration: View your voice as being "as powerful as any man's"

Actual inspiration: "Continue to have a crush on America Ferrera. Go on strike."

Okay, I am not a total cynic. I like this photo, and I think Dolores Huerta is a great woman to feature in an "American Icons" retrospective. I am, however, a bit tired of seeing America Ferrera used like a "get out of jail free" card by publications like Glamour. I can just imagine that anyone who complains to Glamour that this spread promotes an unhealthy beauty ideal or excludes women of color will have Ferrera thrown in their face as an example to the contrary. Look, she is normal-sized (kind of)! Look, she's Latina! Maybe I am way off base here, but I just don't think this photo makes the rest of the spread a good idea. Case in point...

Odette Yustman, Spencer Grammer, and Rumer Willis as the Women of Woodstock:


Suggested inspiration: "Goodbye white gloves, hello jeans!"

Actual inspiration: "Do not give a naked infant to Rumer Willis."

First of all, what do they even mean by the "Women of Woodstock"? Do they mean women who attended Woodstock? Women who performed there? Women who live in the city of Woodstock? The whole thing feels like a vague excuse to include a photo that emulates the "flower child" aesthetic without doing any actual research into the names and stories of women who were achieving great things during that time period. Also, it makes me laugh that these "hippies, with their spirit of protest" are being portrayed by the stars of "Rogue's Gallery," "Greek," and "Sorority Row," respectively. Take that, mainstream culture!

Alright, enough of my snarkiness. Clearly I am annoyed by this photo spread, but as always, I want to hear from you. (I would also like to once again encourage you to view the slideshow and will entice you by mentioning that it includes a photo of Lindsay Lohan dressed as Madonna.) What do you think of "American Icons"? Am I way off base by thinking that its attempts at inspiration fall a little flat? Are you inspired by these images? Why or why not?

Also, are there women you think should have been included in this spread that weren't? Which women have been included that maybe shouldn't have been? Do you agree with Glamour's decision to use young actresses to portray inspirational women from history? Am I just a cranky old lady before my time who wants "those darned kids" to stop appropriating feminist icons in order to promote their mediocre films and albums?Comment away!

(Oh, and thanks to our Twitter followers for the head's up on this piece. As the "Women of Woodstock" might say, keep on tweetin'!)

by Kelsey Wallace
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55 Comments Have Been Posted

Ugg. This whole thing gives

Ugg. This whole thing gives me a terrible headache. The fact that two examples are fictional and one is vague is such a complete cop out and in my opinion a terrible disservice to all of the wonderful, passionate, inspiring women that they could have spoke of.


so much ugh about this! I agree it would have been much more powerful to feature the actual icons than the young & thin stand-ins. also, I don't understand how Carrie Bradshaw fits. sleeping around but complaining about your unsatisfying love life and spending more than you have on overpriced "fashion" is not empowering. at all. and Lindsey Lohan as Madonna?? Hayden Panettiere as Amelia Erhart? if they were going to show inspiration (or something) American Icons, they could have at least used inspiration women as models. Alicia Keys, yes. LiLo, no.

Quite simply I could not

Quite simply I could not have said it better myself. I can understand the artistic need/want to use current girls to portray those women featured. Fine. Rosie the Riveter is fine too, I'm glad she's there. She may be fictional, but at least she represented a whole sector of women working to help their Country in a time when a working woman wasn't fashionable. But Carrie Bradshaw? Really?! I am flabberghasted and a little bit sick.

Wonderful review.

What on earth has Carrie

What on earth has Carrie freakin' Bradshaw done for women?
My god...

My Question Exactly

And I'm also wondering about the Women of Woodstock. Shouldn't that have really been "second wave feminists" instead? I mean, really. Are there no better role models for women? Doesn't Glamour have a Women of the Year Awards annually to honor women who have made the world a better place and are role models for girls?

Is SJP dead?

Instead of Emma Stone as Carrie Bradshaw, I would have gone with...well...Sarah Jessica Parker. Glamour magazine may be surprised to find out that while over 40, Sarah Jessica Parker is actually quite alive. It's always strange to have a young actress depict an actress who really just isn't that old. If you're going to go with iconic fictional feminists of TV, why not Maude or Mary Tyler Moore?
Besides, this photo isn't even funny! Carrie Bradshaw was wry and self-deprecating. This chick looks like a mannequin in purple shoe boots. WTF, indeed.


Definitely weird and Glamour-ized.

Not Fair

I think that this blurb is a great advocate for media literacy...
The author made a valid point about how the photo spread was distasteful, and why she thought so. This is fine, but, to make her point clearer, she avoided writing anything positive about the spread aside from the grudgingly offside comments about how "yes, some of their icon choices were great" or "I like this photo (of America Ferrera)"

The fact that a spread about inspiring women can be found in a women's FASHION magazine is still quite something, when they're often seen as hinderances to any feminist movement, if anything. This magazine has a market- a market of women who quite possibly know nothing about at least a few of the icons depicted in these photos, and that's a start.

Lastly, I'm dissapointed at the above comment that mentioned how the photo spread should have included Mary Tyler Moore rather than Carrie Bradshaw- If the commenter would have gone to look at the slideshow herself (or read the second paragraph in this story) she would have realized that Mary Tyler Moore is one of the Icons depicted in Glamour, and that *gasps*, there are icons included that aren't even music/film stars!

Sometimes, when you avoid thinking critically about something that you've read about (Kudos to the author of the story, who did post links and encourage readers to visit and analyse the slideshow themselves) , you loose much more insight into the subject than looking at it so blindly.

Hail Bitchler

Feminism really took hold over our society in the attempt to fight fascism. Women left the home and made bombs and bullets so men could blow each other away because they had a hard time getting women in Germany because they were unemployed. Or because they defended women, who sat comparatively comfortably at home with the kids, while they risked their lives to save them. Now this does somewhat disregard world war 1, which men were at fault for, and if you didn't join, women would send you a white feather to let you know you are a whimp and they hate you and you should go die for them, so in some ways, things haven’t changed, just gotten more out of hand. Either way it shows the destructive force that massive ego's are in whichever gender their maniacal schemes eventuate.
The ultimate irony is that Feminism has become the more widespread and damaging 'ism' we have (with all due respect to those who suffered from Hitler is such indescribably horrible ways). We can't do anything about it as subhuman males and there is no country we can go fight or negotiate with to save ourselves (also we would have more hope negotiating with Hitler). While the super human females get everything they want, have sex with all the athletes and spend all the money on clothes and crap like that, beat us up and cheat on us and it's ok and make it so the only acceptable man to have sex with some kind of narcissistic psychopath, because it's the only other (fascist asshole) person who acts like they are also superhuman and have no feelings. Until recently the women held society together through the family and taught morals to the children, so now this is gone goodbye society, nice knowing you, here read the ethical slut. So the women reply whinge, whinge bloody whinge another whimpy male, not that I see them EVER doing anything that involves real gallantry or bravery (OK except mums, but is it OK to say that I really like them?). Heaps of ladies have wanted to date me and never had the guts and especially had a difficult time in their life and always resorted to hysterics, and again with the perfectly acceptable violence, it doesn't hurt that much physically, but you are never the same person again, that sucks. Women like me and I remain single now for 4 years because I don't want to be the Jew to their Nazi any more, I can do more, be better in so many ways, and with so much less shallowness and more humility and roar louder than all of them (My apologies here for this egoism, but it's only for the case in point). Just remember that in a lot of cases these women had a mum and their kids have a manky slut, so who will be whinging in the end? The Women, you get older as time goes on you know?. Actually I'm constantly getting these single mums contacting me on Facebook already, looking for someone to look after them know that they have ruined their (and in some cases, my) lives....

I respect this blog a because it's a feminist blog that actually let's you comment unlike othrs I've seen so far and seems a place for reasonable debate, so here's my HONEST opinion. I just wish people will wake up and see the damage all around them and maybe get some damn sense and responsibility in to them instead of all being anorexic movie stars and driving the damn divorce rate up to 100% and giving another generation slim chances at being good people.

Despite the fact that this

Despite the fact that this comment is distasteful and disorganized, I know a few things a so-called "subhuman male" could do to "save [your]self:" extend the respect to all people, women and men, that you expect to be extended to you.

It's good to know

"Feminism has become the more widespread and damaging 'ism' we have"

It's good to know that feminism is more damaging than capitalism or imperialism or racism. Who knew?

What the...

I'd simply like to thank Mondo Bongo for not only confusing me completely with the organization of his thoughts, but making me hang my head in shame for mankind in general. There are so many points that I could address, I'd be at the keyboard until midnight if I did. Bearing that in mind, I'll address the ones that stand out in a cursory browse.

"women held society together through the family and taught morals to the children"

I doubt very highly it was your own mother's misogyny and self hate that lead you to where you are now in your view of society and women in general. I bet your father or whatever male role model you had contributed to that.

"Feminism has become the more widespread and damaging 'ism' we have (with all due respect to those who suffered from Hitler is such indescribably horrible ways"

I don't even know how to go about this one other than citing Godric's Law you asshat

"Or because they defended women, who sat comparatively comfortably at home with the kids, while they risked their lives to save them"

Women have never had it easy during a wartime. They absorbed all of the responsibilities of the men that went to fight or had to deal with the raising the children, maintaining the economy (agrarian/industrial depending on the time period), and not to mention the collateral damage inflicted by the rape and pillage mentallity all too common during war.

I pray that these numerous women who are "too gutless" to date you continue to maintain their sanity. You shouldn't be allowed to pollute future generations with your stupidity.

SJP is still not dead.

I made the "where is Mary Tyler Moore" comment before looking through the entire set of photos. After looking through the entire set of photos I realize now that there are several examples where the woman being depicted is still quite alive, vibrant, and has history yet to write. Michelle Obama for example, is still making waves. I remain troubled by this concept: that Glamour would choose to make icons of living women, and effectivly replace them with younger sportier models. (That was meant to be a car reference.) I also think there are several more examples where the style invested in the shot betrays the iconic nature of the woman herself. Creating a photo of a fictional character from a witty tv show (Carrie Bradshaw) and extracting all of the humor from that image is a misstep in my opinion. The Amelia Earhart photo is a subsequent example of this. As if Glamour is saying "see, we took Amelia Earhart and made her pretty! Don't you like her better pretty?!"

I like some of these photos. In some cases, I think the young actress is really bringing a lot of personality to the shot. I like the Billie Holiday shot and the tennis shot (I forget the actress and athlete's names).

Overall, I find the "youth and beauty is king" vibe of the photos as a set troubling from a feminist perspective.

I apologize if it's your preference that people do a more thorough job of reading through all the material before commenting. That's a valid desire, although that doesn't always happen in the blogosdome. However, I disagree that my comments (or anyone else's) automatically lack critical thought or are illiterate for that reason.


uh, i think this person (not fair ) is having a manic episode...


I agree, why couldn't they use the real women? I mean all REAL WOMEN. Not fictional people. I saw the rest of the photos and it was very disappointing.
and yes the wood stock thing was very confusing and it seemed like they just needed another picture to fill the pages.


and if they sincerely were trying to inspire, they failed.
How about they put up the real women , that would have been nice.

It's about women who are

It's about women who are cultural ICONS. Yes, Carrie Bradshaw is fictional, but she's still an icon. Same with Rosie the Riveter.

I was inspired by it.

I disagree

I don't normally disagree with articles written here on Bitch, but I have to say, I disagree with pretty much everything written here. I think that the photo spread is creative, fashionable, and it highlights young actresses of our time. Yes, they're thin, but why fault them for it? That just seems so petty to me that you somehow blame these women for being thin because they're in an industry where they are required to be thin.

Some points:

~I think that the women highlighted were amazing. Madonna did wonders for female singers, and especially by not being shy about her sexuality. She was herself, and unabashedly so, and she didn't receive mainstream criticism for it. Of course, not everyone loved her, but that's besides the point. She's very empowering to women, and I include her as one of my idols.

~Rosie the Riveter is an iconic image, and no, Alexis Bledel as her does NOT make me feel old OR fat. It reminds me of a time where women were appreciated and relied on in an area other than in the home. She was representative of an ENTIRE generation of women, and you have the guts to want an actual woman to be represented? When I see Rosie, I see my grandmother, so in this photo, I see my grandmother being represented. And Rosie the Riveter was based on a real woman, Rose Will Monroe.

~Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City helped an entire generation of women be open, honest, and frank about sexuality and sexual relationships. I am included in that generation, as are my friends.

~The point is not to publish actual photos of the women themselves, but to show that the spirits of these women are still alive in younger generations.

~It's *your* opinion that Hayden Panettiere is prettier than Amelia Earhart. I disagree.

~I thought it was pretty clear who the "Women of Woodstock" was: the hippie generation. The women who rebelled against 50s housewivedom and chose to reject what their mothers taught them.

The whole concept was to celebrate Glamor's 70th anniversary. 70 years of women's history made relevant to today's generation of women.

I don't think it fell short. I think that these women featured in the spread are today's relevant women, whether you like it or not.


While I don't necessarily like the photo spread, I do like that you were inspired by it. Thanks for pointing out some of the positive influences a piece like this can have on women everywhere, and thanks for commenting on the blog as well!

(Oh, and I didn't mean to say that Hayden Panettiere was prettier than Amelia Earhart, only that I thought she was an odd choice to represent her.)

But aren't they all a bit

But aren't they all a bit odd to represent these women? I mean, what does Emma Roberts have to do with Audrey Hepburn, and Lindsay Lohan to do with Madonna besides the controversy that surrounds her? I don't want to think it's arbitrary, and maybe they let them choose who they wanted to portray. Maybe they picked Hayden for her role on Heroes. Amelia, being a hero herself, and Hayden's character being the same way. they're all risk-takers, the icons and the women being portrayed (Hayden being a risk-taker with the role she's in on Heroes, and her activism in Japan with dolphins). My guess is that the "models" chose who they wanted to portray.

Before I saw these photos (on another website), I had no idea who Dolores Huerta or Althea Gibson were. So that's something good that this spread did. And I know other Glamour readers might not know who these women are.

I do wish that they had chosen more women of color to be icons. That's really my only qualm. Well, and that they didn't portray women writers. I would have loved to see Ayn Rand portrayed or Virginia Woolf or Sylvia Plath. And while the thinness of actresses (and actors) in Hollywood bothers me, it's something I can't escape. I do think it's good that many of these actresses do acknowledge that it's not realistic and that they have to work really hard and that they're miserable because they feel so much pressure to be thin. And many have come forward about having eating disorders and have sought treatment for them. Yes, they are mostly thinner than their counter-parts (Amelia Earhart was really tall and thin and so was Audrey Hepburn), I do think that it's representative of how much body image has changed, and I think that with the backlash the super-skinny look has received, that we're headed towards a more balanced image.

However, I am disappointed with Glamour including Lindsay Lohan in this spread. She's not a good role model for young women. She's had a drug problem, been to rehab three times, and hasn't really improved. All of the other women are great role models and have clean images and are relatively scandal-free.

I disagree with your

I disagree with your suggestion that Lindsey Lohan is not a good role model for young women. Yes, she's had her drug and rehab moments, but she's an out femme lesbian who is partnered with an out butch lesbian and frankly, role models like them would have meant the world to me as a teenager who struggled with my own identity as a closeted lesbian in a homophobic community.

Also, her struggles with rehab represent the reality that LGBT youth are frequently subject to marginalization from society, and the stress of this causes them to be more susceptible to substance abuse (and suicide) than the general population. Sympathy and support is what they need, not recrimination.

More role models like Lindsey Lohan would help our LGBT youth to see that they are not alone, and are incredibly valuable. I applaud Glamour magazine for including her, since coming out as gay has ruined many careers. Fear that coming out will ruin their career has been a factor in every major gay star's reluctance to do it -- witness Jodie Foster.

And I would second the sentiment that this photo spread is disappointing. I look at the Rosie the Riveter image every day, as it is displayed in my house, and the instant I saw that photo I was struck by how skinny and insubstantial the woman in the photo looked compared to Rosie. Yes, I know (as we all do) the kind of pressure that women in hollywood are under to be and remain underweight. But isn't feminism, and women's history, supposed to be trying to change that? How does this photo shoot help us?

We need to change our society to make it welcoming for each and every human being, whether gay, transgender, fat, thin, immigrant, disabled, or non-white.

I'm confused

So because Lindsay Lohan is dating a woman (which doesn't make her a lesbian) means that she's a good role model for young women? Melissa Etheridge and Ellen are good lesbian role models, not Lindsay Lohan.

I don't know why you think Lindsay Lohan is gay, she never came out and said she was. You're assuming she is because she's in a relationship with another woman, but many women have relationships with other women and identify as straight or bisexual. I have known a few women from high school and college who dated women and still identified as straight, and dated men as well.

You're really faulting Alexis Bledel for being thin? What if she is naturally thin like that? And imagine how she must feel if she's criticized for it.

If you're wondering how this photo shoot help us, how does any fashion magazine or any actress or any model help us? Glamour isn't a magazine based on feminism. What this photo shoot said to me is that women can do anything, and we are still doing anything, and that we're still making our mark on the world.


If you think that she's too skinny or insubstantial that's just. Apauling. Thin, yes. Skinny & unsubstantial? No.

Alexis Bledel is a woman of

Alexis Bledel is a woman of color, too. She's Hispanic.

Word! And why are we

Word! And why are we automatically denigrating her as one of the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?" Hello, seven seasons of Gilmore Girls?!?!!!

what's an icon ...

I posted "weird" above, and have found the comments all thought-provoking and have modified my opinion of the layout as "weird." Icons, which I just looked up in the dictionary, aren't heroines or really good influences or necessarily positive. They are images whose form suggests their meaning. Like a "folder" on your desktop indicating that there are files within it.

Which is to say, it was Glamour's choice to pick the icons that would resonate with their readers and create buzz. And to pick faces/people that somehow matched the icons, as someone above said. Why find look-alikes? Or do yet another Madonna layout, for instance, where she probably wouldn't want to look like she did in her iconic '80s days, and really couldn't because she's not the age anymore. -- Well-done, Glamour.

A lame attempt

Frankly I thought the whole spread was lame. It struck me as Glamour's weak attempt to do something that higher-caliber publications like Vanity Fair have done, and done much better. For some reason I've been receiving issues of Glamour, even though I never subscribed (I suspect that it was a bonus with some online purchase that I made). Glamour is not a magazine that I have ever read regularly, other than to skim at the doctor's office or nail salon, but I have dutifully opened it each month and tried to see if it has any value.

It does not.

The magazine is banal, shallow, self-contradicting, and boring. I think it's really vile, actually. Good to know I wasn't missing anything before.

Well, This is Glamour We’re Talking About…

For a beauty/fashion mag, I think there’s a little credit to give for even trying. But what I find curious is that all of these “icons” are so recent; about mid-20th Century forward (the oldest, Amelia Earhart, only included, I think, because of the upcoming Hilary Swank bio-pic). America has at least 233 years of history from which to draw icons of empowering, rule-breaking, risk-taking women, and that’s just counting the US portion of North American history. Hello – Betsy Ross? Harriet Tubman? Sacagawea? What, not even a whiff of Eleanor Roosevelt or suffragettes like Alice Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton?<p>This spread would make us think none of that’s important – if it’s pre-media, specifically visual media (as one poster pointed out, there’s not a writer, journalist or educator to be seen), it doesn’t count. Perpetuating this kind of historical amnesia sends a message just as detrimental as does the cult of youth & beauty: “Don’t worry your pretty little head, we’ll do the thinking for you.”

Well, if you clicked on the

Well, if you clicked on the link and read the accompanying text on the Glamour website, they explain that it's a celebration of 70 years of Glamour.

Each icon represents a decade (or two icons per decade). Amelia Earhart = 1930s, Rosie the Riveter and Billie Holiday= 1940s, Althea Gibson = 1950s, Audrey Hepburn and the Women of Woodstock = 1960s, Mary Tyler Moore and Dolores Huerta = 1970s, Madonna = 1980s, Carrie Bradshaw and Brandi Chastain = 1990s, and Michelle Obama = the woman of today.


Hi, Whitney<p>Thanks for the clarification.<p>And as it's Glamour, I suppose the idea here was to present predominantly style icons. Makes more sense now.<p>Thanks again!

And I do think that style

And I do think that style icons are important because they're women who take risks. Granted, other women on the list did more for women's rights than others, like Mary Tyler Moore, Michelle Obama and Amelia Earhart.

I think <i>Bitch</i> should do a feminist icon/great feminists/ great thinkers of the 20th century article (if they haven't already). I could see Toni Morrison, Simone de Beauvoir and Ayn Rand being profiled. Personally, I'm more inspired by those women than most in the <i>Glamour</i> article. Of course, all of the women in the article have done something for women, whether it be to fly across the Atlantic solo, be an activist for equality in the workplace, or to be open and frank about sex and sexuality.

Guess now I know

...that Asian women cannot be icons.

Good thing I don't read <i>Glamour</i>.


Is it just me, or does Alexis Bledel look like she's trying to have a thought but it's causing her pain?

RE: Is it just me,

"Is it just me, or does Alexis Bledel look like she's trying to have a thought but it's causing her pain?"

Why do women feel the need to put other women down like that?
We do not know Alexis Bledel. She could be very intelligent, She could be stupid.
She is in a magazine spread that we may/ may not agree with. The end.
Commenting on her thoughts (or lack thereof) is pointless in this discussion, and it's destructive in a conversation about women and strength.

They claim to want

to represent risk takers ... where is Valerie Solanes?

Okay... aside from the

Okay... aside from the incredibly diluted nature of the piece... Carrie Bradshaw!? I'm sorry to say that I HAVE seen Sex and the City and seriously... is it a joke? I don't get it. Bad dream!

This is one of the cattiest

This is one of the cattiest and most shallow Bitch blogs I have read. Why make fun of Alexis Bledel for being small or having small biceps? Is that what feminism is about now? Should we all eat more and get big muscles in order to have feminist street cred?

What is wrong with a fashion/style magazine using famous people and dressing them up for this? Why would a fashion magazine use original photos of the actual women, this isn't Time or a history magazine, it's Glamour.

glamour is so stupid.

This is just another watered down version of feminist-lite. It's another one of those " We haven't come a long way, if we had, why are they calling us baby?" moments.

Icons in Glamour magazine - get real !

I'm over 60 - originally from 'da Bronx, been through Seventeen magazine, Helen Gurley Brown, Gloria Steinem, burned my bra on 5th Ave, signed the Hatfield-McGovern Act to stop the war in Viet Nam, always vote Democratic, dropped out of college to marry, became a displaced homemaker after 30 years of marriage, went back to college, work 50/60 hrs a week to support myself, do the NYTimes crossword puzzle often, read a lot, and started my blog last year.

IMO ~ If you think you'll find female/women icons in Glamour - read the name of the magazine again - look at the ads - who/what sells what to whom and for how much. It's a photo spread - its only value is what you paid for the entire magazine - unless YOU investigate the real women for yourself. Jane's back on Broadway, Hillary's in China, Gloria's still writing - maybe they should have posed as their "icon."

The good news and the bad news...

I would have loved to see all the images and to have read your comments!

Although I think that the concepts and images in no way shape or form appropriately represent inspiration female figures or feminist thought, the fact that they sort of even tried is a little endearing. Did you ever think we'd live to see the day that Cosmo would pair "feminism" with a positive attitude? Some readers may even have found interest in the original inspirations and googled them later to find out more if they weren't familiar. However I do think that there may be more harm done than good when information and ideas are being misrepresented and interpreted poorly.


Really, Rosie the riveter? I never understood how government propaganda became female iconography. As soon as the men came back from war Rosie was fired and women were expected to happily go back home. I am grateful to all those women who did step up in our country's time of need so shouldn't one of the real women who did that be highlighted? Not a fictional piece of propaganda immortalized on everything from posters to purses?

As for the others it seemed Glamour found a couple good examples ie: Amelia Earhart, Dolores Huerta, and Althea Gibson. However others seemed to be just thrown in there for pop culture fun or relevance. I mean Carrie Bradshaw. Come on. I also agree that women who are still alive should not be portrayed as icons yet. Michelle Obama is a strong women who I look up to but does she belong in this article? No.

Finally having these stick thin models is no shock its Glamour magazine after all, not much more can be expected. I hope this article may spark some interest in a young women who has not had the chance to learn much about women in history. Perhaps she will do some research of her own and learn about some real strong women from history. I do fear however, this article will just create some superficial interest such as how much Emma Stone really does or does not look like Carrie Bradshaw. I certainly hope it doesn't trick young women into thinking Carrie Bradshaw was a feminist. Please.

There's something fitting

There's something fitting about Lindsay Lohan depicting Madonna-- 2 women that don't, in my opinion, belong on the list. Carrie Bradshaw? Really? A shoe-addict does not a feminist make. And as much as I'm psyched that Obama's in office, has it really been long enough to establish Michelle as an icon? Especially one feminists can look up to? As far as I can tell, all she's really done is 'dress well' and marry a US-President.

I think mainstream media should refrain from telling society who's a worthy candidate of a young woman's respect-- feminism is not a beauty contest.

Michelle Obama graduated

Your point?

And I'm sure there are many more who have done the same...so I guess they should all be featured in this spread too?

You hit the target.

When I first went to read the article I immediately looked at the pictures posted- and I WAS confused. All I saw in the pictures were stick-thin models and teenage actresses posing for a camera. Some* of the women they are trying to represent were talented and passionate- but this little photoshoot was not.

If Glamour was trying to educate women about the successes of women in the past- they should've just used photos of the real goddamn thing! The REAL Billie Holiday, the REAL Amelia Earhart, the REAL Brandi Chastain, ex cetera.
*I say "some" women because of the fictional characters and the woodstock women pictures- really, WTF? Good article :)


I completely agree. Out of all of the Sex in the City characters Samantha is the only one I would consider to be feminist. She doesn't compromise her right to do as she pleases. Originally, Sex in the City portrayed that it was great to be single, female, and over 30, in the same way that any other decision would be, but the later episodes and the movie changed all of that. The movie sent home a message that Carrie would be incomplete if not married...what will part 2 bring us??? As previously expressed by others, UUUGHH!!!

Madonna an American Femlae Icon?

I find it funny the only musical icon women can look to (and the media seem to think) is Madonna. Completely ignoring the many efforts of many other respectable and less media-hungry musicians. Really, what has Madonna given us? Britney Spears and bad movies. Yes, she has made danceable songs and she has been upfront with not being afraid of her and our sexuality. Yet, so, have many other female Punk Rock groups, I wouldn't expect Glamour to actually know or do a spread on The Slits, L7, Bratmobile, The Raincoats or Joan Jett and or Patti Smith etc; etc. I would also wouldn't expect much if they did a Riot-grrl spread, it probably would be just as vapid and confusing as the "Women of Woodstock." Could you have honestly seen Lindsay doing Kathleen Hanna any justice? Musically there was a whole underground sub-culture for women, to express themselves artistically. Which is utterly ignored. That made it ok for women not to have to fight a cookie-cutter image; It was a culture and space that allowed us to show that we could shred and wail just like any men. And yet, we still get tagged with Madonna. WTF?!

Billie Holiday was on the

Billie Holiday was on the list, and she's a musical icon.

I do think Madonna is an important woman in the history of music (and in today's music scene) because she's a powerhouse female singer. She's worth millions, and did it all on her own. She's like one of the most popular singers of all time, and she's a woman. How's that for female power?


I have to disagree with you there. There are a slew of powerhouse female singers, better and more iconic then Madonna and to put Billie who had soul in her voice next to someone that's only talent is to left up her skirt and say look at me, is rather inane. That's like saying Stepahine Meyer should be up there with Wharton, Lee and Woolf because she sold millions of poorly-written books. Feminie power shouldn't come at a price of how much you sold, or how many antics you pulled off. It's an internal process and is continually being worked upon the more we step out of the restricted roles and look at the people, the media to have claim to have enpowered us. Madonna I feel is a hinderance to have far we have come.

And I wouldn't call Madonna a singer. Her vocals are ok.

So now we're measuring a

So now we're measuring a woman's worth on talent? So what if her vocals are just OK? She's the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second top-selling female artist in the US with 63 million certified albums (Barbara Streisand is #1). She's also the world's most successful female recording artist of all time, worth about $490 million, having sold 200 million albums worldwide. And she's 50 and STILL a powerhouse artist. I find it insulting that you'd be so flippant about Madonna's influence on American culture and music, especially because she's the most successful woman in music. She's so powerful. Granted, Meyer isn't the best writer in the world, but her series has still sold 42 million copies worldwide. We just can't ignore that.

There are different kinds of progress for women, there's intellectual, like with the writers you listed, and there's cultural and financial, and Madonna and Meyer belong in the latter category. We can't ignore how many books Meyer has sold, or that they're making movies, just because she's a bad writer. It's still significant. Glamour wasn't going for the intellectual progressive women, because it's a fashion magazine. They're catering to their readers. Do you think that Glamour viewers know who Toni Morrison, Simone de Beauvoir, or Edith Wharton are? I doubt it. They chose women who their readers can relate to.

I think you missed the point of the list: they're women who are risk takers, rule breakers, and style makers. I can't even begin to name all of the risks Madonna took (and still takes), the rules she's broken, and how much she's influenced American style and culture during the past 25 or so years. I'm not one of those feminists who automatically dismisses fashion and style, I think it's very important to our culture and yes, I do read fashion magazines. The list wasn't necessarily on who is the most talented. Three icons are fictional. So to say that you have to be talented and an amazing singer in order to be an icon and a powerhouse singer is, well, a bit ignorant.

I just have to ask, who is more of a powerhouse and more iconic than Madonna?

Typical Girls....

So, talent has nothing to do with worth, as long as we as females rake in millions based on gimmicks and constant controversy? Is that what this boils down to nowadays? That's great for her, I still and will always think her vocals are ok, to me money does not equate talent. Granted that's great that she has all those accolades. I just don't understand why would anyone call her a rock artist, she's no Buzzcocks or The Clash and or her music doesn't engender a Rock sound and feel in my eyes.

If you call not being in awe of Madonna flippant; then I am flippant. And will gladly wear that mantle with pride.

I didn't miss the point of that list. They just picked out women they felt would be easily marketable to young girls and women, what the media has being doing for decades. They couldn't put no-names on there, that would be so "unglamorous." Lydia Lunch or Ari-up or Brody Dalle are too much of a liability to truly be unruly or thought-provoking to people that buy into shtick.

You ask who's more iconic: Aretha Franklin for starters, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Lucinda Williams, PJ Harvey etc, etc;... Hell I would have preferred Aguliera over Madonna. But silly me, I'm going by talent, and not by soundscan. Some of the women they picked were unruly and risk takers. The handful that were in there. And as far as style makers are we talking musically, literally or artistically?

I'll agree with you, I'll

I'll agree with you, I'll pick Aretha Franklin any day (well besides her choosing to wear animal carcasses). But Madonna was the icon represented from the 1980s. Each "icon" is from a different decade (some have two per decade). So what if she's made millions being controversial? She will always have fans because she's unafraid of being herself. How can you dismiss that, when feminism is about supporting women to be who they are and their choices? Madonna has always marched to the beat of her own drum, refusing to become a manufactured pop star. So who from the 1980s then, is both mainstream, and fits their criteria?Madonna was pretty much it in the 80s. She ruled that decade. They chose Madonna BECASE she is controversial not because she's a fantastic singer. And a lot of women and girls do look up to her, and have looked up to her as an inspiration for the past 20 years. The bottom line is, no other woman in the history of music has done what she has done. And that's damn powerful.

They have to cater to who their readers are, and who their readers like. Glamour isn't a thought-provoking magazine, so why are you upset that they wouldn't choose thought-provoking women?

"And as far as style makers are we talking musically, literally or artistically?"

I would think fashion, since Glamour is a fashion magazine. I mean, Madonna practically led the way with 80s fashion. Audrey Hepburn is on the list because of her style.

You're looking at this from the wrong perspective. You're looking at it as if Glamour is some kind of alternative feminist magazine, or should be, when it isn't. Look at it by who reads Glamour, and what kind of a magazine Glamour is, and who their readers relate to, and then the list makes sense. Don't expect it to be something it's not.

I've never read Glamour in

I've never read Glamour in my life. So, I had no idea I was looking at it as anything other then it being another version of Cosmopolitan. That decade (The 80's) was filled with some many other women that beat their own drums, but couldn't be put on that magazine. Lydia Lunch from Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Wendy O. Williams from the Plasmastics, Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth, Kim Warnick and Lulu Gargiulo (Fastbacks), Kim Deal (Pixies), Hell even Joan Jett. Like I said they wouldn't have been put on there because they aren't popular and marketable and pliable enough to sell. Madonna is known and therefore Madonna is marketable. If you don't know of these women or these bands look them up and listen to them and read about them. I was always turned off by Madonna and her antics and still to this day don’t see any contribution she has made to feminism other then making sex more acceptable and still women are uneasy about being sexual or sexually- assertive.

I'm looking at this from my perspective and it isn't wrong, it's mine. I had no idea I was expecting anything other then what it was a vapid magazine trying to help it's lagging sales by trying to be hip and edgey by getting young actresses to pose as iconic females, real or otherwise.

Glamour is like Cosmo, but

Glamour is like Cosmo, but more focused on fashion and beauty and less about relationship advice.

"That decade (The 80's) was filled with some many other women that beat their own drums, but couldn't be put on that magazine. Lydia Lunch from Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Wendy O. Williams from the Plasmastics, Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth, Kim Warnick and Lulu Gargiulo (Fastbacks), Kim Deal (Pixies), Hell even Joan Jett. Like I said they wouldn't have been put on there because they aren't popular and marketable and pliable enough to sell."

Yeah, but they're not American icons. Maybe Joan Jett but still, she's not mainstream and definitely not as popular as Madonna was during the 80s. That's why they picked Madonna. I keep telling you why they picked Madonna and you keep saying that there are better women. Why does it matter that they wouldn't be in this magazine?

"Madonna is known and therefore Madonna is marketable."

And she's an American icon, known all over the world as the Queen of Pop. Of course she's marketable. What's wrong with that?

"still to this day don’t see any contribution she has made to feminism other then making sex more acceptable and still women are uneasy about being sexual or sexually- assertive."

I'll repeat it again, she's the most successful woman in the world when it comes to music, she's sold over 200 million albums world-wide, she did it all on her own, how is that not a contribution to feminism? Good Lord, she's worth almost half a billion dollars, and that says nothing to you?

Glamour isn't trying to be hip and edgy, they leave that to i-D or Nylon. It's basically a spread of young actresses and models promoting themselves, to celebrate 70 years of Glamour. It's just the way that you mentioned how other women (mainstream and otherwise) you felt were more worthy of being pointed out in this spread made me wonder if you did expect more from the magazine. I mean, if some punk and rock magazine omitted those women from a list of influential musicians, you'd have a right to be upset (hell, I'd be too). But we're talking about a vapid fashion magazine.

I like the idea that they

I like the idea that they are trying to potray, but I agree, that it probably would of gotten its point across better had it been pictures of the actual people. But that is the media for you. The thing I didn't get was why isn't Sarah Jessica Parker posing as her tv character Carrie Bradshaw?

My sincere congrats for this

My sincere congrats for this successful post. To make add even more attractiveness let me share with you my favorite "women of the past".
Lindsay Lohan as Madonna
<img src="http://blog.emitations.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/lindsaylohanmarily...

Emma Roberts as Audrey Hepburn
<img src="http://blog.emitations.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/jennifer-connely-a...

Paula Patton as Billie Holiday

<img src="http://blog.emitations.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/etta.jpg">

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