What does it mean to be beautiful? While there may be many ways to define beauty, the media image of women is particularly powerful. But some recent stories point to some cracks in the facade. Here’s one. More to follow.

One recent fashion designer opted to feature some women on the runway that did not conform to our expected norms. As a story on Salon’s Broadsheet blog recounts:

Designer Leesa Fogarty, of MaraJoara swimwear, was responsible for such a repulsive runway faux pas that Vogue Australia swiftly deleted all photographic evidence from their Web site. Fogarty’s dreadful offense? She scrapped typical skeletal fashion models for fleshier everyday Aussies in her runway show during Australian Fashion Week and, to hear the Herald Sun tell it, the fashion world is reeling.

According to that Herald Sun story, the models for the show were sizes 8-12 and it reports that the average size for Australian women (where the show was held) is 14.

A story on the controversy that resulted appears here, and pictures of the models at the event (whom it would be difficult to describe as anything other than skinny) are featured here (at that link, note the “next” button in the upper right to see additional pictures in the series).

Edit: I include this in the comments but wanted to mention it here: I meant to mention Wolf’s book in the original post (though I do mention it as recommended reading at the end of the chapter on gender), so here goes. Naomi Wolf’s book is “The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women.”