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"New York Times" Readers Outraged By Model Looking Like A Model

Complaints over the a recent cover of T magazine, featuring "sleaze for dirty old men," led to the Times' public editor to weighing in.

Julia Nobis covers T magazine's summer Travel Issue.

It's a fairly textbook "slouch, pout, imply the experience is beneath you" shoot.

The concept: poor Julia went to the pool for a swim but there was no water.

And none of those fun noodles to play around with either. They'd have been a welcome burst of color.

And none of those fun noodles to play around with either. They'd have been a welcome burst of color.

She's just standing around in the bottom of an empty pool wondering why she's not wet/floating.

"I should definitely be underwater right now."

A few Times readers who have maybe never seen fashion editorials before were offended by the photos. They wrote letters.

"Where did you get this child [Editor's note: Nobis is 20] for your cover? The photo represents kiddy porn and I object," wrote one of the offended, before continuing, "I'm a long time print subscriber to The New York Times and I don't want to read a newspaper that's moving into sleaze for dirty old men."

Another wrote, "I was infuriated to see the current cover of T Magazine, which featured an anorexic-looking model. The additional photos in the shoot featured in the magazine were of similar super-thin models... haven't we moved beyond this? Hasn't the debate in fashion over the promotion of these wretchedly thin models been thoroughly discussed?"

(Apparently the inferences to bondage didn't go down that well either.)

Responding to the criticism, the Times' public editor reached out to T's editor Deborah Needleman for comment.

Needleman explained the editorial as follows, "We chose [Julia Nobis] because of her strong looks and the personality she is able to project. She is rather thin for my taste, as most models are, and I considered adding some fat to her with Photoshop, but decided that as it is her body, I'd let it be. Fashion photography involves a bit of fantasy, and often some edge."

(Needleman later added that the magazine had booked Nobis prior to this spring's fashion week, and by the time the shoot rolled around a busy month of catwalking had caused the model to lose some weight.)

The "it's her body, let it be" stance obviously only applies when post-production would be needed to increase a model's frame. Airbrushed nips, tucks and general decreases in body size/shape remain a given, of course.

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