Women’s Health Magazine to Stop Using ‘Body Shaming’ Language
By Julia Musker
We all see it. Standing in line at the grocery store or browsing Hudson Newsstands at the airport, we are bombarded by women in bikinis and form fitting outfits on the cover of magazines with headlines boasting “Drop the last 10lbs,” “Lose the love handles,” “Boost your metabolism by eating this,” “Go from a size 10 to a size 2 in 2 weeks!” etc. We have become so accustomed to seeing this, that we don’t really think twice or question the message it’s sending women about their bodies.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times’ Mind & Body section, Women’s Health Magazine says it will drop ‘body-shaming’ language in a bid to push wellness. It was reader feedback that prompted the Women’s Health Editor to drop phrases like “bikini body” and “drop two sizes” language from its covers, with the hope to promote health and wellness rather than anxiety over body image.
If more magazines and media outlets could adopt this attitude it seems like as a society we might be on track to changing the language and unrealistic outlook on what’s considered “beautiful” or “fit.”
Weigh in. What do you think? How have body shaming messages in the media impacted you? Do you think this change will make a difference in your life or the lives of girls and women you love?
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Julia Musker is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern in Pasadena. In addition to offering in-office sessions, Julia is developing a model she calls “Walk It Out” – taking clients outside of the traditional office setting and meeting them for walks on tree-lined streets. She is currently building her practice under the supervision of a licensed clinician. She enjoys working with adolescents and adults struggling with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. She loves fitness, hiking, nature, crafting, and freelance writing for health and fitness blogs. For more information, check out her website, www.juliamusker.com.
My personal and clinical experience tells me that this is definitely a change in the right direction. The tides have turned significantly in the 20+ years I’ve been working with women with eating and body image issues. While there’s more body positive and diversity in beauty being promoted, the ubiquitous message is that beautiful, healthy and sexually appealing is associated with unrealistic and idealized views of the body. Specifically – young, toned, thin but with perfectly shaped mounds of plushness in the right place and blemish free. Much more change in the cultural ethos around beauty, health and sexuality is needed!