War widows association pans 'demeaning' Glamour email

An email sent by a journalist working for Glamour has been condemned as "demeaning" and "very insensitive" by an organisation which represents British war widows.

The War Widows Association of Great Britain has now said it will ask other widows groups not to co-operate with similar requests.

Freelance Victoria Lambert sent an email to pressure group Military Families Against the War last week asking if they could supply contacts for case studies of women aged between 30 and 38 whose husbands had been killed.

The email said: "I need to be able to talk to them next week and we will need to get them shot by the magazine ASAP. Glamour is very looks conscious, so at the risk of sounding ridiculous they need to be photogenic, or at least comfortable in front of a camera!"

Gill Grigg, a spokeswoman for the War Widows Association of Great Britain, said: "If I had been sent that I probably would have screwed it up and put it in the bin, because I don't like the tone. It's demeaning. It sounds as though you can go along somewhere and pick a widow off the shelf."

Grigg added that the email was "very insensitive".

She said: "It lacks sympathy. She says somewhere in this email that ‘they will be in safe and considerate hands', but the email is not safe and considerate. She says: ‘We will need to get them shot by the magazine.'

"Their husbands could well have been shot, so for a widow to see that is very insensitive. I shall circulate this to my chairman, the Army Widows Association and the RAF Widows Association."

A news agency boss who regularly provides copy for women's magazines said: "It's bad enough for these war widows groups having lost their loved ones without having to see rubbish like this.

"It makes me chuckle when [emails] come through when they say, ‘Don't worry your partner's been murdered and has been in a bloodbath for four hours, you'll look fab in our photoshoot'."

He added: "If you've got some young kid who hasn't got a clue about how to approach people, then those are the sort of emails you're going to get. If you've got someone who's been round the block a few times then they will be sensitive about these things and make the approach the correct way so not to look foolish in cases like this."

A Glamour spokeswoman said: "Jo Elvin [Glamour editor] had not requested the case studies to be attractive in the way that Victoria's email had suggested.

What we have to make clear is there are obviously many features within Glamour where we are looking for women who are easy on the eye, but when it came down to this particular feature it would never have occurred to her to place such a stipulation on the case study.

"Jo was really, really upset that she has been named as requesting that personally. What she's more concerned about as a result was that this was a feature she wanted Glamour to carry because she felt the magazine could do it justice and do it with suitable care in relation to everyone's feelings.

"Now that has completely spiralled around and it is now unlikely we are going to do this piece because it is unlikely we'll have the co-operation of the people that we would need in order to get the case studies."

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