Monday, January 7, 2013
Seventeen Magazine and The Biggest Loser
I learned on Friday that Seventeen Magazine recently created something called the Body Peace Project. The centerpiece of the project is the Seventeen Body Peace Treaty, which asks girls to "appreciate what makes my body different," "not let my size define me," and "remember that the sun will still rise tomorrow even if I had one too many slices of pizza or an extra scoop of ice cream tonight."
This is great...except that the magazine also just announced that it will be partnering with The Biggest Loser for its next season.
This is extremely frustrating to me. There seems to be growing discontent among American women about the fashion industry and the way it systematically shames bodies bigger than a size 2. I think it's great that Seventeen, with its base of female, teenaged readers, would want to say "enough is enough," and encourage women to accept that no two bodies are alike. Instead, they're paying lip service to the idea of body acceptance, but refusing to get away from their fashion industry roots by celebrating thinness. Basically, what they're saying is that you can only truly love your body if it's skinny and conventionally attractive. If it's not, you should "love your body" by making it skinnier and more conventionally attractive.
Furthermore, we seem to keep equating healthiness and thinness. They are not the same thing, but shows like The Biggest Loser make them seem that way. It's not healthy to lose 10 pounds in one week, the way some contestants do. It's not healthy to run on a treadmill until you puke, the way some contestants do. One former contestant blames the show for leading her down the path to developing an eating disorder, and it's not hard to see why if you've ever watched an episode of the hit show.
I applaud Seventeen's Body Peace Project, and I wish the higher-ups at the magazine would embrace it in all areas of the magazine. There's a difference between being healthy and skinny, and teen girls especially could really benefit from a major media source telling them that.
What do you think about Seventeen's Body Peace Project and The Biggest Loser partnership?