Admission of guilt: I have a subscription to US Weekly. Ages ago, I did a magazine package deal and as magazine by magazine that I liked shut down, they apparently rolled all my remaining issues into US Weekly.
This week’s issue has Lauren Conrad and Kim Kardashian on the cover, and talks about Diets That Work. I know, it’s nearing summer, so there are diets stories a plenty. But I find these issues ridiculous and offensive.
Issue #1. The majority of the women in this issue are in their 20s and are probably size 2′s at their heaviest. Even as a woman who tends to be underweight, I find this to be offensive. The most these women are talking about losing 5-10 lbs, and except for the few who weren’t tiny to start off with, their diet tips probably won’t help anyone lose a considerable amount of weight.
Issue #2. All these women have personal trainers, and most have personal chefs. So, these magazines tout their “diet secrets” as being legit when the average woman couldn’t afford their methods.
Issue #3. Some of these women smoke, which is fairly common amongst actresses and dancers to keep weight down. So, while they might be thin, they aren’t healthy by any means.
There’s no quick route to being healthy. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig work for women (who stick with what they’ve learned) because ultimately, both programs teach how you should be eating. It takes discipline, learning about nutrition and exercise.
We sabotage ourselves constantly. Magazines like this continue to feed us lies that we need to be 5’10″ and a size 2 to be considered beautiful. That we need to make ourselves in the image of a 20 year old starlet.
We, as women (and as a society in general) need to be healthy. That means eating well (and allowing ourselves to indulge now and then), exercising regularly (but not obsessively) and learning to love ourselves. These magazines aren’t for that. Even when not touting diet secrets, they post what the stars wear and invite us to cruelly critique them. Which is brutal for two reasons. Most, if not all the celebs featured have stylists who told them to wear what they are. So you’re tearing down a celebrity who simply trusted that their stylist knew what they were talking about. More importantly, they’re encouraging us to tear down celebrities- if we’re cruel to them, it only invites us to be cruel to fellow women.
We are harsh. Rather than trying to find a way to politely tell a woman that she’s dressing inappropriately, we talk behind her back, being cattier than Mr. Blackwell. We say things about other women that would make us cry if it were said about us. Yet, we wonder why it is that women so routinely starve themselves to fit into a perfect pair of jeans or become what celebrity has deemed an acceptable size.
Women are beautiful. In any size. Beauty isn’t simply what’s on the surface, it’s what’s inside. So instead of trying the latest fad diet or workout, why don’t we try to be kinder and more accepting of other women. And try to change our lives by becoming healthy, rather than living on lemon juice and cayenne.
(Addendum: I am aware that there are many female celebrities who are actually overweight and do actually lose weight. However, very few pages are given to the women who lose weight over time and do it in a healthy manner. Why? It’s boring to read that a new mother took a little over a year to lose the baby weight. Losing weight in 4 weeks is so much more exciting)