Fit Women In Magazines Are “Empowering”: Women’s Health Editor

Fit Women In Magazines Are “Empowering”: Women’s Health Editor
SHARE
THIS



The female body has been in the media for as long as the media has existed, whether it’s advertising a vacuum cleaner in the 60s or selling fitness in 2016.

But while we’re consistently seeing a trend of moving away from the withering thin bodies in fashion magazines, and normalising curvy models, there’s still a debate around whether fit and toned women in magazines also contributes to lower self-esteem.

A recent study suggested that using super-fit models on magazine covers was as bad, if not worse, at lowering women’s perceptions of themselves than waif-type models on the front of fashion mags.

So B&T spoke to the editors of leading health and fitness titles to see if this is a concerning aspect of women in Aussie media.

“There’s a difference between a super-fit woman and a fit woman,” Women’s Health editor Felicity Harley said.

“We see it as empowering. Our stance is to feature diverse body types, not just the toned and toned.”

“We might run a headline on top ways to get a toned bum. We provide the exercises, the food, the clothes, everything to get a toned bum, but we understand we may not always get there.

“We will knock back any pitches that don’t uphold this idea of a healthy lifestyle,” she said, adding that Aussie women need to be inspired by everything in the magazine.

Harley said she has noticed a change in what women aspire to be like, and it’s shifted away from just a good looking body to focus on having a healthy body.

“It’s not just the way you look, but the way you feel,” she said.

Women’s Health & Fitness editor Rebecca Long felt this was an accurate way to inspire a healthy body image in the media sphere.

“’Strong is the new skinny’ was initially touted as a triumph over thin ideals, but this notion is in fact equally dogmatic; I think our more democratic tag line, ‘Your Best’ is more helpful,” she said.

Harley talks about the way in which an image in a magazine needs context, and for Women’s Health that means information on eating better, exercising, and keeping check of your mental health too.

“It’s all about a 360 approach to life,” she said.

“I think social media has a lot to answer for in terms of making women feel bad,” Harley said.

“It’s a bit of a conundrum, why do women follow these women…if we don’t feel good about it?”

And Body + Soul editor Fiona Baker agrees that social media isn’t always as empowering as we’d like it to be.

“Images of women with six packs and big lady muscles are images taken out of context,” Baker said. “It’s unachievable, daunting, and the average woman is never going to look like them.”

“All media should look at using diverse images… it’s important to have context built around it.”

“Readers know this woman is a pro surfer or an Olympic athlete, and their body and their fitness is their currency.”

“There are of course challenges for custodians of media in this category – including demand for images of ‘ideal’ physiques evidenced by the popularity of social media ‘fitspo’,” Long added, citing Amanda Bisk and Kayla Itsines as examples.

“There is a fine line between motivating and inspiring and undermining, which is a delicate and ongoing balancing act.”

Baker said for this very reason, if they choose to run an image of a “hot, toned body”, they try to make it an athlete, or a woman whose job is to look a certain way for a living.

“Bodies vary – it’s not just a size 6 that’s very trim and taut, because let’s face it, not many of us look like that.”

“If you fill a health magazine with six packs and rippling arm muscles, you’re going to feel depressed after reading it,” Baker said. “We want to normalise the healthy look.”

“There’s no point running lots of overweight people because it’s not healthy. Looking healthy should be normalised…neither emaciated nor overweight.”

 

Latest News

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD

One need only look at the Cadbury Favourites chocolate selection to know it has nought to do with industry diversity.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
An Apology To Salmat’s Karen Lewis
  • Media

An Apology To Salmat’s Karen Lewis

Whoops! B&T's stuffed up and this certainly comes with our sincerest apologies for any offence caused.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adland Execs To Be Locked Up
  • Media

Adland Execs To Be Locked Up

Continuing adland's fascination with prison when it comes to charitable causes comes this latest trip to the slammer.

Australian Directors’ Guild Announces Mentorship Winners
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Australian Directors’ Guild Announces Mentorship Winners

Now in its second year, the Australian Directors’ Guild’s (ADG) Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship program announced its next round of eight mentoree recipients. The winners were announced at a special event held last night at FINCH, Sydney and attended by members of the screen and advertising industries. Acclaimed director, and ADG President, Samantha Lang, […]

Eyeota Deep Dives Into Australian Automotive Purchase Behaviour
  • Media

Eyeota Deep Dives Into Australian Automotive Purchase Behaviour

Eyeota, the global leader in audience data, has today released its latest results on automotive purchase intentions in Australia. The results provide a deep dive into what motivates the buyer and segments those into six different personas.

APN Outdoor Joins The AANA
  • Marketing
  • Media

APN Outdoor Joins The AANA

AANA's annual Christmas dinner and dance got a teensy bit more crowded following this announcement this morning.

QMS Introduces ‘The Lonsdale’ To Melbourne
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Introduces ‘The Lonsdale’ To Melbourne

Digital outdoor media company QMS Media has turned on a new premium landmark digital billboard situated in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Delivering a commanding presence at the major intersection of Lonsdale and Russell Streets, ‘The Lonsdale’ offers extended dwell times to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, impacting more than 2.2 million contacts per month. […]

Portrait of a woman looking through out the blinds. Office worker looking through window blinds
  • Opinion

The Lurking Brand Threats Facing CMOs

Treading on gardening rakes and possible alien abduction notable omissions from this CMO threats piece.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Women In Media Profile: Susannah George
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Susannah George

B&T is delighted to profile Urbanlist supremo Susannah George who, we understand, is not related to George Brandis.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ikon Lands Avis Budget Group Account
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Ikon Lands Avis Budget Group Account

B&T chooses and recommends Avis and John Karandonis shoes. Hang on, that was the end of Sale Of The Century.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Principals Appoints New Creative Director For Melbourne
  • Marketing

Principals Appoints New Creative Director For Melbourne

Branding design agency Principals has announced the appointment of Pip Ireland as its Melbourne creative director. Ireland, who has been freelancing with the agency for the past six months, has previously held roles at Designworks in New Zealand and Melbourne as well as Moon Communications in Sydney. Principals executive creative director Simon Wright said: “We’ve […]

Pureprofile Unveils Next-Level Audience Segmentation Offering With RDA Research
  • Media
  • Technology

Pureprofile Unveils Next-Level Audience Segmentation Offering With RDA Research

Global media and technology company Pureprofile has partnered with RDA Research to enable further audience segmentation across its audience profiles. RDA Research’s geoTribes is a unique classification system that rivals traditional geodemographic approaches by grouping consumers into fifteen ‘tribes’ based on their life stage and socio-economic status. Clients are then able to better understand consumer […]