Why lingerie china magazines are banning the term ‘bikini body’

Health, as the Merriam-Webster dictionary sexy lingerie supplier defines it, is „the condition of being well or free from disease“.

Popular health magazines, however, appear wholesale Christmas costumes to be more concerned with the tightness of your butt.

Amy Keller Laird, editor-in-chief of Women’s Wholesale Bikini Wholesale Bikini Health, sensed from social media that her readers wanted more body positivity and less rigid depictions of beauty. So, as 2015 wrapped, the magazine sought brutal feedback, asking in a survey: „What word(s) and/or phrase(s) should we stop putting on our covers?“

Options included: Slim, Shrink, Lean, Flat abs, Best butt,
Wholesale Corsets body, Drop two sizes.

More than half of respondents voted to ban „drop two sizes“ and „bikini body“. The latter is a staple of women’s magazines everywhere – and a prolific gossip subject.

READ MORE: * Model Renee Somerfield responds to ‘are you bikini ready’ backlash * There’s no ‘right’ kind of bikini body

The „bikini body“ ban at one of the US’s largest health magazines, with a print circulation of roughly 1.5 million, comes less than a year after researchers at Appalachian State University singled out Women’s Health for reducing women to objects of lust.

The study, led by psychology professor Doris Bazzini, found both Women’s Health and Men’s Health focused more on body appearance than body function. Her team analysed 54 covers of Women’s Health and Men’s Health magazines, published from 2006 to 2011, and concluded that teasers related to aesthetic outnumbered messages about, say, illness prevention.

„Despite the fact that these magazines are intended to promote a healthy lifestyle, they do so through an arguably narrow lens, encouraging two different stereotypical body ideals. …“ the authors wrote. „For women, youth and thinness are valued and define feminine beauty.“

Comedian Amy Schumer also blasted the magazine at the Women’s Media Awards in November. „Women’s Health, they have articles like ‘How to Trick Your Stomach Into Thinking You Like That Weight’,“ she said, „or ‘Why Does My Vagina Smell Like a Christmas Ornament?’ “

While ditching „bikini body“ shows a growing awareness of this issue in women’s magazines, photos that glorify fashion-model physiques persist in their pages.

Ellen McCracken, author of Decoding Women’s Magazines, notes that women pictured in the glossy ads and editorials promote an unattainable fantasy. „They’re moving at a dinosaur’s pace,“ McCracken said, scrolling through the Women’s Health website. „They’re making a few tweaks.“

Laird said the magazine is addressing images, too. This month’s issue of Women’s Health features Michelle Obama, Laverne Cox and Shonda Rimes – women known for their achievements, rather than their bodies.

Social scientists say the mass media-reinforced belief that perfection arrives in a young, slender, white package can damage the self esteem of anyone who doesn’t fit that mold. Bazzini’s team cited a 2006 study of girls, ages 5 to 8, who answered questions about body image. About 40 per cent of the elementary schoolers said they wanted a „thinner body.“

Research shows this early insecurity, which tends to bleed into adulthood, is linked to our airbrushed idols. Girls spot the toned abs on Gwyneth Paltrow and wonder: Why don’t I look that that? Will people still love me if I don’t?

One month after television landed in a remote province in Fiji, Anne E Becker, then director of research at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center, visited the island community to investigate its impact on viewers.

She conducted her first survey of high school-age girls in 1995, when TV was new, and in 1998, when TV was more routine. Fifteen per cent of the second batch said they’d induced vomiting to control their weight, compared with 3 per cent in the first survey.

Twenty-nine per cent in 1998 showed eating disorder symptoms, compared with 13 per cent in 1995.

„The media is one of the main ways we get messages about the body,“ said Sarah Murnen, a psychologist and professor at Kenyon College. „Among those who internalise the messages, they can lead to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders and depression.“

The messages come in words, pictures and airwaves, Murnen said. A young woman in the United States likely encounters „You should be thin“ messages daily. She could wake up, pour a bowl of Special K cereal and notice the „Lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks“ campaign on the box. She could open her laptop and catch a promo for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

„Cultural products and practices in America support the thin ideal,“ Murnen wrote in a 2012 paper . „The average young woman getting ready for work or school could encounter numerous products and messages that remind her of the importance of thinness.“

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