'Women's Health' Magazine Bans 'Bikini Body' From Its Covers Forever

Women's Health Magazine just made a resolution for the New Year that made us stand up and cheer -- the mag is banishing the terms "bikini body" and "drop two sizes" from its covers for good. Why? Because women's "health" is about much more than being skinny.


The phrases got the boot after a survey of the magazine's readers said they'd rather see words like "toned, strong and sexy." Women's Heath editor-in-chief Amy Keller Laird wrote an open letter in this month's issue to explain the decision:

You told us you don’t love the words shrink and diet, and we’re happy to say we kicked those to the cover curb ourselves over the past year. But we’re still using two other phrases -- 'Bikini Body' and 'Drop Two Sizes' -- that you want retired. Since our goal is always to pump you up, and never to make you feel bad, here’s our pledge: They’re gone. They’ll no longer appear on Women’s Health covers. (Whew, that felt good!)

She goes on to write "Dear John" letters to the offending terms, which are pretty cute.

But the significance of the move is about much more than Women's Health trying to connect with readers. Finally women's mags are realizing that they'll have an easier time reaching women with messages that make us feel good, rather than shaming us into doing something about ourselves, which makes us feel like we must be hideous. And that's huge.

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Could this be the start of something bigger? Maybe the beauty industry at large will take note and think twice about the way beauty is sold to women. Rather than being shamed into wanting to be younger, skinnier, and less gross, our daughters will perhaps one day face a rack of lady mags all competing to tell her she's wonderful just as she is -- but that there is a universe of products aimed at making her feel even more beautiful. We can hope.

In the meantime, bravo to Women's Health for listening to women who are tired of our own media outlets waging war on our self-confidence. Because every body can be a bikini body, and dropping two sizes in a month is freakishly ambitious -- not to mention probably not super healthy. Something we already knew anyway. Nice to see the folks at Women's Health finally catching up.

Your move, Cosmo.


Image via Women's Health/Twitter

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