shape magazine should be ashamed

I’m absolutely appalled by this latest body image blunder I got wind of via one of my fave bloggers, Carla, via Facebook.

Blogger Brooke Birmingham lost an incredible amount of weight (170 lbs!) and was supposed to be featured as one of Shape magazine’s upcoming weight loss success stories. Check out what happened when she sent in her photo: which included her rocking a bikini.

Basically, Shape wants her to re-do the pic … wearing a shirt.

WTF?!! What Brooke has achieved is incredible– 170 pound loss!! She looks beautiful. Why should she cover up!? She looks exactly like is how anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight would be expected to look, without surgical intervention. She’s not sporting washboard abs and all Photoshopped to perfection; she’s a real woman.

What Shape seems to be forgetting — or deliberately failing to acknowledge — is that while diet and exercise can do tons, they can’t always give someone with lots of excess skin a perfectly flat belly “worthy” of a Shape photo shoot. For a magazine that touts fitness, healthy eating and mind/body wellness …. they couldn’t be standing farther from their own “ideals.”

I think Brooke looks incredible and it kills me that she is being asked to re-do the pics with the shirt. As she noted, most of the success stories show women in bikinis. Of course, the difference is many of these women have lost 20, 30 pounds. And while that can be significant, it really pales in comparison to a massive transformation like Brooke’s. Shouldn’t Shape be applauding Brooke for rocking the bikini and owning it, versus shunning her for not having what they deem to be a picture-perfect body?!

Fortunately, she said thanks but no thanks, and I am so proud of her for sticking to her guns! Way to go, Brooke — I don’t know you, but I dig you!

And the way I see it, she is getting far more positive encouragement by refusing to compromise and do the shoot with a shirt — and she gets to do it on HER terms.

So thanks to Carla for raising the flag, to Brooke for being so awesome. What you’ve achieved is incredible and you are a role model to so many!

Shame on you, Shape. Let’s just say, I’m really glad I canceled my subscription a few years ago.




5 thoughts on “shape magazine should be ashamed

  1. I read that piece this morning. HOW shameful it is. They don’t want women to actually see or discuss the truth of what weight loss and fitness can look like. It’s like even when you lose weight, you haven’t lost it the right way – meanwhile, the focus SHOULD be health. Ugh. Shape is terrible.

  2. where did you see it, Candice?! I hope the story is getting more publicity. I was supposed to write this Friday and, well, the weekend got away from me! It’s ridiculous. My good friend had lost a ton of weight and said he would need a tummy tuck — I know Roni (a blogger I follow) had a tummy tuck after she lost a lot of weight. Diet and exercise can’t always eliminate loose skin; even Jillian Michaels talks about that. Shame on Shape!

  3. Setting opinions on this woman’s looks aside, Shape missed an amazing PR opportunity. Can you imagine the (mostly positive, but all publicity-generating) buzz they would’ve created by running the bathing suit photo? Instead, their decision not to run it has had the opposite effect.

    1. Yup. They missed the boat. And for a magazine that touts healthy living, it’s does a real disservice to those contemplating serious weight loss. Loose skin is a real, common side effect. Washboard abs don’t just happen because you diet and work out. If you lose 10 lbs, maybe they do. But not for someone losing 170 lbs!!

  4. This story has really gone viral!

    I’ve been maintaining a loss of about 130 pounds for almost 5 years, and I can attest that yes, that’s what your belly really looks like when you lose that much weight.

    How much loose skin do I have? When I was pregnant in 2012, I didn’t get a single new stretch mark. In fact, I still had a little bit of loose skin at the bottom of my belly. I gained 35–40 pounds and still weighed over 100 pounds less than I did at my heaviest.

    I forget where, but I read at least one comment that Shape made a smart business decision in rejecting Brooke’s photo, because if women saw what the real “after” looks like, they might get too discouraged and give up. Then, Shape wouldn’t sell magazines. Better to keep false hope alive. I guess I get that … but I hate it.

    Of course I’ve considered surgery, but I have two big obstacles. The first is money—it’s expensive and not covered by insurance. The second is that I cannot bear the thought of not being able to pick up and carry my son during the recovery period. So if I won the lottery, maybe I would consider having the surgery when my son is older and no longer needs (or wants) to be toted around.

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