“Women’s happiness has fallen both absolutely and relative to men’s in a pervasive way,” a pair of University of Pennsylvania researchers wrote in their 2009 paper, ‘The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.’
That mass-market advertising and editorial content aimed at women is overly idealistic and narrow-minded isn’t really up for debate anymore — the general, somewhat begrudging consensus being that the vast majority of visual messaging tends to promote negative self-image in women — and yet, the types of images we see haven’t much changed.
Kara Eschbach and Janet Sahm found it troubling that magazines were “overlooking” some, failing “to reflect [their] lives or philosophies as women” — with an implication that feeling ‘heard’ could lead to feeling content. And so the pair founded Verily Magazine in 2011.
Now with a staff of seven, the magazine churns out bimonthly issues that hold true to their publication’s founding mission to provide an “honest message” relevant to women in an “uplifiting, affirming, and true” way. And despite representing a fashion and lifestyle brand aimed at women ages 18 to 35, Eschbach and Sahm uphold a strict ‘no Photoshop’ policy, never altering “the body or face structure of the model.” Its editors don’t even use real models in their shoots — a recent issue featured a publicist, a writer, an advertising assistant, and a sales associate.
Contributing Editor Ashley Crouch explained the Verily founders’ take on the issue:
The unique features of women, whether crows feet, freckles, or a less-than-rock-hard body, are aspects that contribute to women’s beauty and should be celebrated — not shamed, changed or removed.
While only on newsstands in a handful of shops, Verily can be ordered online issue-by-issue or through yearly subscription.