The current issue of Esquire magazine, on stands now, touts the upcoming 75th anniversary of the publication. In celebration of "Women We Love," it features a posse of Victoria's Secret models, all dressed in creamy white turtlenecks, matching stilettos, and nothing else. The iconic pose is one Esquire has used before -- remember Britney in her heyday, pre- faux British accent? She graced the cover in the same outfit in 2003 (Actually, do a sweater and heels constitute an "outfit?" It's more like football Sunday loungewear for me, but I digress.) What I didn't know was that the woman who inspired these two latter covers was Angie Dickinson, who set more than few hearts aflutter when a photo of her from the '60s, baring all on the bottom for the magazine, appeared on the front of the August 1993 "60 Years of Women We Love" issue.
As I paged back and forth between the three cover shots (we get Esquire at our home. I read it for the articles, I swear!), I was pretty startled by the stark contrast between the smooth, new car shininess of the VS models - their mile-long legs are completely blemish-, vein-, and dimple-free. Sinewy muscle in the thighs suggest hours on the treadmill combined with a genetic jackpot. They look like they were painted on the page.
But screen siren Angie Dickinson's figure appears much more..well, much more REAL. Her butt is not airbrush-sleek. Her sweater is a bit loose around the waist. Her left leg, extended back slightly in a coy position, shows an indentation in her butt muscles whereas the same area on Britney is rounded and reflects light...and in the Victoria's Secret layout, the area is actually defined with a curve of muscle on model Selita Ebanks.
I wonder, Are these changes a result of fitness levels increasing and skin-smoothing serums proliferating over the past few decades? Or do we all look pretty much the same naked when Photoshop is the great equalizer? Clearly, the Angie D. photo has not been retouched...at least nowhere near the amount it would be today. And she still somehow managed to turn the heads of, ohhh, Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach and about a zillion other fellas. I feel like if that picture were to run today, it would be splashed across some tabloid or "pro-skinny" website with the headline, "Angie's ANGRY over cellulite!"
Take a look -- what do you think? Who looks the sexiest? The most natural/relatable? As one reader over at my Weighting Game blog on iVillage (link to put it:
"I was at the bookstore and saw this magazine on the rack from far away. I was intrigued as to why the VS models had no pants on and in one in case looks like the girl doesn't even have any panties on. So, I flipped to the article, and looked at all the pictures.
I have to say that all the photoshopping on the VS models when put next to an un-touched photo like Angie's made the VS girls look like un-real plastic glamazons. The thing is that these girls are naturally stunning so why not just leave them alone, digitally.
Angie's pic is also far more warmer and welcoming. I think it's a far sexier picture than the highly retouched VS pic. Also, it's much nicer to see a woman who looks more like someone I could know."
For any of you out there who remember when Angie Dickinson was a hot Playboy Playmate, what was the reaction to this body? How is it different now that women are encouraged - nay, rewarded - when their bodies resemble those of blow-up dolls?
p.s. Happy National Love Your Body Month!