It’s Body Bash Friday, celebrating bodies everywhere & giving you tips on how to love yours a little better.
In the fitness community, there’s a dangerous trend emphasizing looks as a determinant of health. The words ‘healthy’, ‘slim’, ‘thin’ & ‘happy’ are often linked together, as though they are synonymous with each other. To achieve happiness, according to women’s magazines, all you need to do is remove your flaws, lose the weight and do it all ‘the healthy’ way.
MYTH: Healthy does NOT have a size. You can be overweight (and even obese) and perfectly healthy. The same way you can be thin & slim and UNHEALTHY.
It’s true that obesity may raise your risk of certain diseases: but obesity in and of itself is NOT a disease. While I encourage people to move, eat healthier & make significant changes in their lives, I know that in order to be ‘healthy’, their bodies need to function efficiently: even without weight loss, people who engage in healthy practices can improve their health immensely. Regardless of their size.
Don’t let anyone tell you that healthy has a certain ‘look’. It doesn’t.
Appearance is Everything.
In Cosmo‘s regular workout and health sections, readers are once again sent the message that weight loss = fitness = sex appeal. The emphasis on appearance rather than health or abilities is reinforced in every issue by the “You, Even Better” section and regular fitness and health features. For example:
- “The Ultimate Sexy A** Workout” (“to kick your booty into shape in time for skinny jean season!”)
- “45 ways to instantly feel sexy and healthy” (with a young woman in a short, flipped-up dress, exposing her legs and breasts)
- “Diet Dangers,” featuring “The Dumbest Thing You Can Do to Your Boobs,” on how yo-yo dieting “will make your twins less perky” instead of “gorgeous and firm” (with an extremely thin and almost completely nude young woman covering her breasts with her hands and posing in the mirror)
- “Can Getting Fit Get You a Date?”
Each of these (and sooo many more) are examples of how Cosmo combines health-oriented terms with oppressive, objectified terms that forfeit real fitness in favor of a sexualized male gaze. When the most popular magazine for women 18-49 marginalizes actual health and fitness by focusing exclusively on what they claim will increase sex appeal, there’s a problem. Counteract this messed-up fitness perspective in your own life by joining us for a NEW kind of New Year’s resolutions (no matter when in 2012 you start) in our Body Hate Apocalypse!