The Center for Eating Disorders Blog

Body Diversity is Glamorous…and Healthy!

Social networking sites and blogs are buzzing with celebration after Glamour Magazine’s November issue, released yesterday, featured models who represent the sizes and shapes of the average American woman.  In addition to the photo shoot, Glamour pledged, to maintain a continued devotion to showing a diverse range of body sizes within its pages and to take a stance in support of equal opportunities for models of all sizes in the fashion industry.While still wrestling with the inaccurate and misleading term of “plus-sized model”,  Glamour’s photo spread and accompanying article seem refreshingly sincere.  We are hopeful that there will be long-term changes and appreciation for body diversity in subsequent issues, despite “a sizable minority” who object to the display of average-sized women.  Why are there objections?  Many fear that showing larger female bodies will promote poor health.  That being said, The Center for Eating Disorders believes this is an important point to address. Within the article, Glamour published the following example online of a reader’s letter of opposition:“Putting a young model who is obviously overweight and living an unhealthy lifestyle in your magazine to make some people feel better only serves to propagate that unhealthy lifestyle”.   Statements such as this, clearly illustrate widespread misinformation and societal stereotypes about weight and fat.  We want to present those people who are opposed to Glamour’s new image with a slightly altered version of the above statement that might help them to reconsider their position. Putting a young model who is obviously underweight and living an unhealthy lifestyle in your magazine to make people think that they should, or can, look that way, only serves to propagate that unhealthy lifestyle.That being said, it is a myth that one’s health can be deduced to the number on the scale and that any amount of fat automatically equals unhealthy. We were happy to see Glamour taking a stand against this myth by responding to the criticism in a way that illustrated how people can be healthy at every size.  Conversely, just because someone is thin does not automatically mean they are healthy.  In fact, many people who struggle with eating disorders and are underweight or of normal weight, are also at heightened risk for heart problems, high cholestorol, and osteoporosis.The November issue of Glamour has made a commitment to reversing the stereotypes discussed above.  We applaud this step in the right direction and hope that it continues to create opportunities such as this to provide education about the beauty of body diversity and the related issues of health at every size.photo courtesy of http://law.wm.edu

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