'Women's Health' Drops 'Bikini Body' Language

Readers of Women’s Health will no longer see the phrases “bikini body” and “drop two sizes” on the cover or within the pages of the magazine, editor-in-chief Amy Keller Laird announced in a letter to readers this week.

The move follows a previous decision to drop the words “shrink” and “diet” from the cover. It comes amid growing attention to the psychological issues related to feminine physical ideals presented by the media.

Laird said the decision was prompted by the results of a reader survey, in which respondents took issue with the phrases as being particularly reductive, shaming and discouraging, not to mention imprecise and generally unhelpful.

Laird wrote: “You told us you don't love the words ‘shrink’ and ‘diet,’ and we're happy to say we kicked those to the cover curb ourselves over the past year. But we're still using two other phrases – ‘bikini body’ and ‘drop two sizes’ – that you want retired. Since our goal is always to pump you up, and never to make you feel bad, here's our pledge: They're gone. They'll no longer appear on Women's Health covers.”

In place of the retired phrases, Women’s Health covers will now feature more words like “toned,” “sexy” and “strong.” Editorial coverage will focus more on the many benefits of exercise and realistic weight loss plans, paying some attention to appearance but not giving it a central place.

A number of media companies and advertisers have been embracing the more affirmative, less judgmental view of women’s bodies advocated by feminist activists. Most prominently, Dove has scored major publicity victories with its “Real Beauty” campaign, highlighting women with a range of body types.

2 comments about "'Women's Health' Drops 'Bikini Body' Language".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Barbara Morris from Put Old on Hold Journal, December 31, 2015 at 5:48 p.m.

    Enough already! I don't have a problem with "bikini body" or "drop two sizes". They give me something to aspire to. I'm not in love with ""toned" "sexy" or "strong". That suggests I have to be a gym rat to achieve that degree of nirvana, and that's not going to happen. I think I need a safe space to retreat to so I don't have to deal with all the PC foolishness. 

  2. Patricia Friedlander from Word-Up!, January 1, 2016 at 12:45 a.m.

    I let my subscription to Women's Health lapse because I couldn't stand the obsessions. Same with Self. I don't care what they call it: seemed to me these publications were aimed at 20-30 somethings whose insecurities about their bodies made them targets. Kind of stupid since those kids don't have any money to buy the advertisers' products. I am weary of health magazines cutting off at 50-as really, really old. I'm 71 and toned and strong--maybe even sexy. I have disposable income. I want health news that's relevant to all ages. I read Prevention which sort of fills that slot. After that, give me InStyle, Allure and all those magazines that tell me about the best new mascara.

Next story loading loading..