One Direction, Shawn Mendes, horoscopes, spilling the tea and quizzes about why my crush likes me?
Girl, you just spoke my language.
Growing up, I was all about what my dad would jokingly call "teeny-bopper" magazines. As I got older — and still now, as a 21-year-old — I began to move towards magazines like "Seventeen" that have sections ranging from real-world issues to hairstyle ideas. But while I'm looking at the magazines by the check-out line in the grocery store, I can't help but notice phrases like "Lose xxx pounds in 3 days!" pop out in the very middle, surrounded by other small headlines about articles related to how to change your appearance.
Oh, Women's World. Bless.
The even bigger problem here is this: Every! Single! Edition! of this magazine has a grandiose phrase like that on the middle of the cover. As someone who's learned about graphic design — and has a little bit of common sense — I know this placement and font choice is saying, "What we want to advertise to women most, and what we think women want most, is how to lose an impossibly big amount of weight in essentially no time and look better, probably for a man."
I understand some women (and people in general) want to lose weight. I generally am against it when the cause is fatphobia, because fatphobia leads to dieting which is the main cause of an eating disorder, according to the some of the most prestigious eating disorder researchers in the country, the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at UNC Hospitals. Further, science may show that people who are at high weights have higher blood pressure, but how can we say that's not caused by the anxiety they feel because of society's fear of and discrimination against fatness? For a more thorough article on what fatphobia is and why it's a problem in a variety of ways, from class discrimination to hypocrisy to a lack of correct medical treatment and more, see this amazing article.
While I know topics such as weight loss are likely to sell, and while I admit I've bought magazines for that reason in the past, I personally feel belittled as a woman. I feel like all I'm expected to do or should want to do is lose weight.
And that's upsetting. As someone who's always had big dreams, who has found success in certain areas, who has seen fellow women and friends make major changes in the world and in the lives of others, I almost want to laugh. Women are and have always been, so much more than weight loss if they choose to be. Further, this fact that we are more than our weight and can achieve so much, has been a major help in the recovery of some individuals who have struggled with eating disorders.
So, Women's World, this is what I want to see, and this is what I will buy: magazines with inspiring stories and impacts of women of all races, backgrounds, gender expressions, weights, levels of socioeconomic status and every other demographic. Magazines that encourage me to listen to my body and to not take less than I deserve from a significant other. Magazines with the funniest new YouTuber and scariest new Netflix movie and the most fun, inexpensive places to go with my friends. Magazines that support and believe other women and their stories, regardless of if they choose to be stay-at-home moms or employees or CEOs, regardless of backlash the magazine may receive from people who don't understand feminism or who don't support all women and all of their experiences.
I want this type of magazine because it would accurately represent a woman's world and both encourage and validate her in the midst of it. I want this type of factual and empowering magazine because this is what all women deserve to read about and be portrayed as.
"Women's World," do better. I'll support you the whole way.