Women’s Health magazine recently announced that they are banning the phrases “Bikini Body” and “Drop Two Sizes” from the covers that they once graced.
According to Editor-in-Chief Amy Keller Laird, the magazine conducted a readers’ survey asking what phrases loved seeing and what phrases they hated seeing the most. The aforementioned phrases topped the hate list.
In the announcement, Laird wrote that the term “bikini body” is “actually a misnomer, not to mention an unintentional insult” and implies “that a body must be a certain size in order to wear a two-piece.”
Further, Laird explains that while many women want to “Drop Two Sizes”, the phrase “Drop Two Sizes [insert absurdly short time frame here]” is simply unrealistic and unhealthy. You can read her full statement here.
I’m ecstatic that the Women’s Health team has recognized the damaging effects of these words – it’s the first step. However, there’s still work to be done.
Fitness information geared towards women concentrates on losing weight, shrinking something, and my least favorite, “toning” something. The 6 tips for a six-pack, fad diets, and alleged superfoods surround the cover model, who, let’s face it, probably has never actually done the “Muffin Top-Melting Work Out” except for the photoshoot.
Plenty of magazines do exist for those who already pursue powerlifting, body building, and other heavy athletics; they focus on increasing strength and athleticism. But I want to know why don’t we promote the idea of performance goals over aesthetic goals to the general population.
To clarify, I don’t think it’s wrong for someone to have aesthetic goals. I have them myself! The problem I do have with physique-centric goals is that somehow, we’ve accepted the notion that our self-worth is tied only to our appearance. It’s just not true, and it’s heartbreaking that so many people struggle to love themselves because of this concept.
So you say, “But I’m not a competing CrossFit athlete! I can’t benefit from performance goals or anything like that.” Well, I say: Wouldn’t it be cool to say you could do unassisted pull ups? Deadlift your bodyweight? Add a couple extra plates on the bar for your squat? These types of goals empower you in a completely different way than physique goals.
Performance-based goals build your confidence and make everyday tasks easier. Plus, once you accomplish one, you can set another without going into an unhealthy, downward spiral! Physique goals can set traps that are detrimental to physical and mental health. Improvement doesn’t have mean burying yourself. Set one performance goal and see how far you’ve come in a year – I guarantee you will surprise yourself.
This performance over physique movement needs more momentum. Women’s Health magazine took a step in the right direction, but saying “Buh-Bye!” to “Bikini Body” is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s forge the path for female powerhouses.
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