Now magazine's body-shaming front cover makes us feel anything but normal - we're disgusted, writes Judy Johnson
At this time of year, most magazines will be emblazoned with motivational images and mantras to help you start off the New Year with a new you (read: thinner you), but starting from Christmas Eve (before we'd even had a mouthful of turkey) Now magazine decided to go with a different angle. With their front cover, they chose to invite us to feast our eyes on the '21 Shocking Bodies' that will 'make you feel normal'. In other words, don't feel bad about yourself - look how awful these celebrities look in their bikinis instead. Slow clap.
Body shaming is regrettably not a new concept in women's media but this is upfront, in-your-face bullying of women who have been caught unawares while on holiday in their bikinis; forget that they're famous, that's downright nasty. Featuring female celebs who are either super 'skinny' or 'fat', the Now cover helpfully points out ribcages, veins and a 'flabby' belly so that you, reader, can feel good about yourself.
There are so many problems with this it's hard to know where to start; does it make us feel good? Actually, it makes us feel pretty disgusted, both with the magazine's blatant hatred toward women who are the 'wrong' shape and with ourselves for witnessing it - even if you don't buy the magazine there's an instant guilt to be had when looking at these women and being invited to judge. Does it make us feel 'normal'? Given that there really is no such thing as a 'normal' body, no, it doesn't - instead it tells us what this magazine and its editors believe to be flaws and therefore points out our own. It may as well be us on that cover next to Kate Moss and Chantelle Houghton, named and shamed for all to see.
Whatever happened to the sisterhood? It's no wonder so many women lack body confidence with this kind of cruelty on the supermarket shelves. If the people behind this cover and others like it don't even think a supermodel - a woman who has made a fortune specifically through her body shape and beauty - looks good on the beach, then it's clear that their views are horribly distorted.
Proven, in fact, by this week's cover, which just a week after shaming those who are 'abnormal' now cries out 'Screw the diet!' with three bikini-clad 'overweight' celebrities happily posing and praising their wobbly bits. Make up your minds, Now magazine. We have: we'll be positive towards all women, thank you very much, because that's far more 'normal' than ridiculing anyone outside a warped idea of the perfect body.