Target: Amy Keller Laird, editor-in-chief of Women’s Health magazine
Goal: Praise Women’s Health for ditching outdated, body-shaming terms for more positive ones.
Words and phrases like “bikini body,” “shrink,” and “diet” will no longer appear on the cover of Women’s Health magazine, instead opting for more positive ones like “strong,” “toned,” and “sexy.” While this may seem like a minor change, it marks a significant step forward in an industry that has historically profited by shaming its readers.
The changes to Women’s Health came largely as the result of a survey the magazine published asking readers to select their favorite and least favorite cover terms. While the magazine had already decided to remove the words “shrink” and “diet” from its covers, the survey results have also prompted it to remove “bikini body” and “drop two sizes” from its future covers.
While some may argue that the new phrasing is simply putting a new coat of paint on a still-dilapidated house, this marks a significant step forward for the women’s magazine industry, which has long built its success on telling readers that they are not good enough as they are. There is always a size to drop, a bathing suit to fit into, or a body part to “fix.”
While this change is small and focused largely on semantics rather than content, it marks a shift in the way people–particularly editorial teams–think about women’s publications and about the women who read them. Sign the petition and applaud Women’s Health for its positive change.
Dear Ms. Keller Laird,
I am writing to applaud Women’s Health for its decision to stop using terms like “shrink,” “diet,” “bikini body,” and “drop two sizes” on its covers. While some may argue that this is a minor change, I think it marks a significant shift in the way women’s magazines are perceived and marketed–and in the way they approach their readers. It is fantastic to see a magazine selling copies by building women up rather than tearing them down (or building some up at the expense of others), and I hope that this philosophy only continues to permeate the rest of Women’s Health’s content.
The decision to highlight terms like “strong,” “toned,” and “sexy” largely shifts the focus from outward appearance to a more general state of health and well-being, both physical and mental. It’s positive without creating an unnecessary dichotomy of success versus failure. It takes into account different body types, different personalities, different athletic capabilities–in short, it takes into account different women.
While this change marks a significant step forward, it is only one step. I hope that in the future Women’s Health continues to lead the way in creating a shift toward more positive and less prescriptive content in print media.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: TheeErin