Last updateFri, 05 Jun 2020 10am


The War on Women as Seen in Magazines

Mag 1“Hot Body Express!” “Bikini Body Now!” “Have The Baby, Keep The Body!” 

These are all headlines that have appeared on the covers of Women’s Health magazine. The magazine claims that it wants to help its readers, that it wants its audience to be able to have the flattened stomachs and perfect bodies that the models and celebrities on the cover have. However, not all of these claims are possible and sometimes they can even be harmful. 

It is impossible to open a fashion or women’s magazine without being assailed by advertisements; advertisements for anti-aging products, advertisements for weight-loss programs, advertisements for clothes and makeup and a thousand other things, all designed to make women look “pretty.” 

Many individual articles focus on that goal as well. In magazines such as Cosmo, Vogue, and People, they write mostly about the routines and beauty secrets of other women, usually celebrities, who are often able to afford products and procedures that others cannot.

An article by Julia Belluz published on highlights this issue, calling out eight problems in women’s magazines. These issues almost entirely revolve around physical appearance and weight. 

“The overwhelming majority of them [health-related articles] are insane, aimed at fearmongering and totally science free,” wrote Belluz. ”They almost never offer evidence-based advice, but instead celebrity-centered nonsense.” 

Mag 2Magazines such as Women’s Health are centered entirely around weight loss and achieving that “perfect” body. However, they often cite celebrity diets and weight-loss routines, something that most people cannot and, in some cases, should not attempt. The celebrities being interviewed can afford personal trainers and nutritionists; they have resources available to them that many do not. 

These magazines also do their best to stay “trendy,” according to Belluz. Sometimes, they claim that the secret to weight loss lies in the consumption of a fad diet, or in taking some sort of supplement. They ignore the science behind weight loss, and they ignore that there are different ‘types’ of bodies. Instead, they try to propose one universal body type, ignoring anything else and even going so far as to dismiss other body types as “ugly” or “incorrect.” 

“Every body type responds differently to different types of food,” said Belluz. “We weren’t all designed for the same convoluted diet some fashion model or celebrity touts.” 

This is a fact that many of these women’s health magazines do their best to ignore. Belluz also pointed out that the strict and restricting diets that these magazines advertise are unsustainable and can backfire. 

Mag 3Many of these magazines are also centered around advertising, with a company trying to sell a product, typically claiming that it will make a woman appear more attractive or will help them lose weight. 

On almost every glossy page there is an advertisement of some sort, all designed to best motivate a consumer into purchasing a product. However, that is the extent of the concern – their interest revolves around the money and revenue that can come from the product, not the effect it can have on humans. 

This is not to say that women’s health magazines exist as a way to harm and hurt those who read them. However, they are not as beneficial as they are made out to be. The advertisers in question are concerned with making money, not with making sure that everything they do is in the benefit of every reader and customer.

“You’re constantly surrounded by media messages,” said Christine Caliendo, a freshman communication student. “Every magazine you see is advertising about getting that skinny body, even if that’s not the healthy thing to do.” 

The advertisements and articles in women’s health magazines may claim to be helpful, and they may seem as if they are only trying to make women find their goals achievable, but as Belluz pointed out, this is not always true.




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