March 20, 2013

The Guardian | New York

Alex Bilmes, who edits Esquire’s U.K. edition, claimed in a panel on feminism in London that his magazine was “more honest” in its portrayal of women than the rest of the industry. And by that he seemingly meant Esquire is upfront about its objectification of women.

From The Guardian:

“The women we feature in the magazine are ornamental,” he said, speaking on a panel at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London on Tuesday. “I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified.”  …

“[Esquire] provide pictures of girls in the same way we provide pictures of cool cars,” he said. “It is ornamental. Women’s magazines do the same thing.”

Bilmes later tweeted to ASOS women’s fashion and beauty editor Danielle Radojcin and singer Lily Allen that “actually I said ‘mental’ not ‘ornamental’ but was misquoted,” an apparent attempt at a joke, because Guardian video clearly shows otherwise.

He countered that Esquire is “less rigid” in how it shows women, and even features “older women” — like Cameron Diaz, who is 40.

New York magazine’s Kat Stoeffel was unimpressed that Bilmes insinuated Esquire is bucking industry trends by daring to put a 40-year-old on the cover.

Personally, I would forgo such bold and anti-ageist cover models as Cameron Diaz, 40, in favor of women being distinct from cars. Bilmes assured attendees that men “see women in 3D” in real life, “but at certain times we like to see them sexy.” I think I would rather be lied to.

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Joshua Gillin is a contributor to Poynter's MediaWire blog and a writer, editor and pop culture blogger for the Tampa Bay Times and its sister…
Joshua Gillin

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