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Shed your petty pound problems alongside your fashion mags. That is what the National Eating Disorder Information Centre is encouraging Torontonians to do at the corner of Queen Street West and Soho Street with its streetcar shelter ad that serves as a transparent trash receptacle for fashion magazines.

Set against a bright fuchsia backdrop the ad reads, “Shed your weight problem here,” and according to NEDIC director, Merryl Bear, it was created to draw attention to the sizeist standards showcased in beauty magazines.

Acting editor in chief of Fashion, Bernadette Morra, supports the smart message. “It is the designers that are promoting this image,” she says. “We at Fashion try our hardest to balance the reality and the fantasy.”

But realistic body standards are pretty slim in women’s style magazines. Think back to Self magazine’s August cover of Kelly Clarkson where her naturally curvaceous body was tweaked and prodded into a mainstream shape. Editor in chief, Lucy Danziger, justified the retouching on her blog by claiming it made Clarkson “look her personal best… Did we publish an act of fiction? No.”

So remove a mole here, some arm fat there. No biggie. But if your “personal best” isn’t real then how can the image be anything but a farce?

Although fashion magazines have always featured the ideal body standard, it can be a heavy load to carry. Conveniently, Torontonians now have one more place to dump it.

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About the author

Adriana Rolston was the Director of Circulation and Advertising for the Summer 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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