Brooke Birmingham is an inspiration. A blogger who has chronicled her journey to fitness and her weight loss of 170 pounds on her site, Brooke: Not on a Diet, she was initially excited when Shape magazine reached out to her. Wouldn't you be? It's one thing to be proud of your own accomplishments, but to have such incredible validation coming from the greater world at large? That's got to feel like the proverbial cherry on the sundae.
They asked Brooke to send in a photo for them to post to their site along with her story. She was happy to oblige, and taking a cue from other success stories like her own she'd seen on the site, she posed in a bikini. Shape got back to her and asked her to send in another photo -- one where she was covered up. Alarm bells sounded in Brooke's head. They said it was just their policy. But Brooke was sure it had more to do with the fact that they didn't want to feature the excess skin her tremendous transformation left behind.
She shared the photo Shape rejected and her exchange with the magazine on the pages of her blog. I don't even know her personally, and the story has me seething. It's proof that we live in a society that presents us with insurmountable obstacles in the battle to be beautiful. Brooke lost the weight and STILL has to contend with unrealistic beauty beauty standards.
Shape begs to differ. It chalks up Brooke's story to the error of the freelance reporter she was working with. That's nice, Shape, just pass the buck. The reporter interviewing Brooke claimed that it was an "editorial policy" that had them ditching the picture of her in the bikini. Shape says that this is simply not the case:
This does not represent Shape’s editorial values and the comments made about Shape’s 'editorial policy' are absolutely untrue. Shape prides itself on empowering and celebrating women like Brooke, and any indication that we would not run the piece with the photo provided was wrong, as we would have been proud to share her inspirational story.
I find this statement to be highly suspect. If the reporter in question was asking Brooke for another image, it's because their editor requested one. The reporter might be freelance, but the editor works for the magazine. I think rather than make an already gross situation worse, they should have simply apologized, admitted fault, and left it at that.
Do you think the magazine should just admit it's in the wrong?
Images via Instagram