We have talked about health and weight loss and self-acceptance and complacency a LOT this month, and here’s just one more reason why I’m suspicious of saying that “health – not weight loss – is the goal”:
Here’s the latest Women’s Health Magazine. Health is a pretty broad term, right? But you wouldn’t know it looking at this magazine cover.
These are the issues I have with this cover:
1. Four out of the seven cover stories are about weight-loss.
2. Five out of the seven cover stories are about appearance. Of the remaining two, one is about having “hotter sex.” Apparently, our happiness and mental/emotional health is only worth 1/7 of our time and attention, while the rest is about looking good and making sex hotter.
3. Let’s face it. Like many women’s magazines on the stands these days, this one is all about sex, sexuality and sexiness. While there’s nothing wrong with any of those things in the proper context, it’s demeaning to women to be objectified by the media. Do you look at this picture and think the cover model is really healthy? Smart? Happy? Maybe. But if she’s happy, it’s cuz she’s so hot, right? And hot is healthy. Skinny is stress-reducing. Flat abs produce joy! Right?
4. I find one cover story particularly offensive: Eat, Drink & Still Shrink. Healthy, Yummy, Bikini-Friendly Ideas! Really?! I don’t even know where to begin here. Shrink, huh? Shrink. Cuz that’s what health is all about – getting smaller. And to label anything healthy as “bikini-friendly” is reductive, repressive and insulting. So health equals our ability to look sexy in a bikini? Is that the message here?
This is why I’ve been so fanatical about self-acceptance this month. We live in a culture that absolutely does not promote self-acceptance. Period. Have you noticed that even when you lose weight, suddenly, there’s something else to worry about? Teeth that aren’t exactly gleaming white. Jiggly arms that result from major weight loss. Cellulite. Large pores.
Get the picture? Our “health” magazines will always be pointing out ways to improve our appearance, rather than pointing out all the reasons we have for accepting ourselves just the way we are now. Which sounds healthier to you?