New Atl reader.jpg

Meet the new Atlantic reader. It's the result of our holiday Photoshop contest in which we invited you all to play with a paper doll advertisement that we'd run in 1988.

That ad had posited a very specific vision of an Atlantic reader. Though it noted he could be dressed "in a custom tailored suit and handcrafted shoes" or "bermuda shorts, sandals, and nosecoat," the idea of our readership it presented felt limited. Most obviously, the paper doll model (above left) was a strong-jawed white guy with a mid-80s preppy look.

Several of the entries that we received took that problem on directly, using the available doll clothes to include the broad range of people who read our publication. The best of those came from our eventual winner, Callie Porter-Borden.

"I've made the Atlantic Reader a little more gender-ambiguous, because ladies love the Atlantic, too, and so do less burly men!" Porter-Borden said. "I'm all for fitness, but I figure a lot of Atlantic readers spend so much time in front of their computers and reading that they probably don't have quite as much time to maintain that strapping physique."

Her Photoshopping was impressively subtle. It took me a while of staring at the old and new dolls before I could figure out all of the little changes she'd made. (See, for example, the way she changed the haircut, thickened the thighs, and moved the doll's waist lower.)

So, thank you to all the entries we received. We know it was a silly little contest, but we hope you had fun remembering 80s fashion and mores.

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