We counted the plus size women featured in this month’s magazines

The Cosmopolitan cover starring Tess Holliday always felt like a major media moment, but it’s even cooler that, finally, a cover featuring a plus size woman has won Cover of the Year at the Professional Publishers Association awards (the Oscars of the magazine world). At navabi we’re really proud of Tess and spoke to her exclusively about the amazing achievement and what it means to her (and you can read it here)

One of the reasons it was such a moment was that it’s still so rare to see plus size bodies in magazines, and, as a plus size woman, I’m really looking forward to the day when it’s the norm, instead of this very significant exception.

October 2018 Main Print 1536157852

But this isn’t just our opinion: it’s a fact, and we can prove it. We checked through the June editions of the UK’s biggest women’s magazines and found that just 4.58% of women featured were plus size, vs a national average of greater than 50%. Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, OK! and Women’s Health feature zero plus size women. Zero! Not just on the cover, but anywhere in the magazine at all.

Percentage of images featuring women where the women pictured are plus size featured in June issue of magazines

  • Elle: 1.52%
  • Harpers Bazaar: 0%
  • OK!: 0%
  • Vogue: 0%
  • Women’s Health: 0%
  • Grazia: 13.79%
  • Marie Claire: 7:02%

Grazia may have come out on top with 13.79%, but it is still way out of line with the general population.

We’re calling upon the magazine industry to think more carefully about the kinds of bodies they represent, who they’re excluding and which stories they want to tell. A couple of years ago, we dared to dream what this future would look like. How beautiful magazines could look if they were interested in telling plus size women’s stories. Here are a few of the mock-ups we put together to show that we wouldn’t look out of place at all on the cover of a magazine…

Glamour Danielle Vanier Korr

Hayley Hasselhoff Grazia UK 2

I don’t think they look out of place. Do you?

PlusSize.co.uk is funded by navabi (https://www.navabi.co.uk). We do this to push for fairer representation of plus size women in the media. If you share this goal, please do share any article you agree with. (And, of course, do feel free to browse 10,000+ dresses, tops, suits, etc at navabi.co.uk if you'd like to support us further.)