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Are Fitness Magazines Models Too Thin?

April 6, 2011

Happy Wednesday Folks. We’re over halfway through the work week and that’s always a good thing.

I got my booty over to spin class after work today (my booty was feeling the burn, we did a lot of work out of the bike).I also completed a 1.5 mile run on the treadmill while waiting for class to begin. Have I told y’all how much I LOVE spin?!? Yeah, I think I have. But I do love it! Such a sweaty and awesome work out. I never regret a spin class.

I’ve been enjoying some tasty eats for my spring cleaning challenge. Here’s a few:

I wanted to talk about an article I came across on Fitness Magazine’s Facebook Page.

I busted out my plethora of magazines to check out a few photos of the models.

They asked for people’s opinions on whether or not they think Fitness Magazine’s models are too thin. The question on Facebook also linked to an article that states: (click the link if you’d like to read the actual article)

“Magazines have gotten a bad rap–for a pretty long time–for publishing photos of beautiful models instead of “real” women. The message that media sends about body images has always been a hot topic, and we’re not about to open up that can-o-worms. But some new research recently blew us away: It turns out that reading a magazine like FITNESS–with hot bodies and all–isn’t so bad for your self-esteem.”

The article goes on to discuss this new study that has shown when a fitness model photo goes along with an article about how you can be fit or how to get that kind of body, people are more comfortable with looking at the photo. And on the other hand, people are less tolerable of a model that doesn’t portray a “real” woman if she’s advertised along with, say, a perfume add, or something unrelated to fitness.


My thoughts:

  • First, I think it’s great that Fitness Magazine is seeking its reader’s opinions on the issue.
  • I do not think the women in fitness magazine are too thin. I’ve definitely seen a fair share of unhealthy too-thin-looking models. In general, I think a lot of models out there are too thin, but fitness magazines women overall look healthy and toned to me.

Some models vs. Fitness Magazine models

  • I believe Fitness Magazine could do a better job at representing fit women across the board that are bigger than a size 2. Most of their women are thin and fit, but I know there are healthy and fit women in sizes bigger than the ones they portray.
  • The article says magazines have a bad rap for showing models instead of real women. Why would a thin model not be a “real” woman? What makes her not real? Thin women are real women too.
  • I think what makes the models “not real” is not the woman herself, but the airbrushing the magazines do to seek perfection. I think all magazines, ads, movies etc. could tone down or eliminate the use of airbrushing.

  • I can see how the research they mention could be somewhat true. I don’t agree that I’d feel more tolerable of a woman in a fitness article necessarily because it was showing me “how I could get her body”, but I think it would make me more comfortable because I’d assume that since she’s a fitness model so she works hard for the body she has, just like me.

I’m curious to know what you guys think! What are your thoughts on Fitness Magazines models/models in general? Do you agree with the research in the article?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2011 8:56 PM

    yea i see this alot…its sad how the media conditions society! i hate that!

  2. April 7, 2011 6:02 AM

    Great post, great topic. I’ve heard this debate before too (didn’t know Fitness reached out about it though!)… I 100% agree with you on the fact that they could show women larger than a 2 that are in shape because those people are definitely out there and make up a good percentage of in shape people… not everyone has the body type to be a size 2 or 0 or whatever. But I’ve never felt poorly about myself or looked down on others for not being as slim as the Fitness magazine models (or Shape or Women’s Health…) I think that they do an excellent job of showing toned women – and isn’t that what we all [fitness-minded people] strive to be? I think of it as more encouraging than anything – if they can do it, so can I. I do disagree with airbrushing – Shape & Jenny McCarthy had a big ordeal about her being airbrushed in one of their magazines but you have to take everything with a grain of salt… It’s someones job to make sure that they look perfect for their photo shoots… Sorry for blowing up your comment section 🙂

  3. April 7, 2011 6:31 AM

    sooo weird i was JUST saying the same thing to my room mate last night!!! I totally agree they are way too thin in a magazine that it supposed to boost women’s body image! It’s hard to feel good when the mags show twigs doing the works outs that your supposed to try haha

  4. shiningfromwithin permalink
    April 7, 2011 6:32 AM

    I agree with you on this one. I don’t think these models look too thin & unhealthy. I think they just look fit and that’s what I like to see in fitness magazines (although I get jealous cause their abs are ridic!) ;). But I think it’s encouraging to see a fit woman because I become inspired to work out a little harder and give it my all. You offer some great points too that I agree with. Especially when you said ‘what makes a thin model not real’. I also think air brushing is the problem.. it just sets women up for dissappointment within themselves because they don’t look as perfect as the girl on the cover.

    PS – Boooya for spin class! 😀

  5. April 7, 2011 7:43 AM

    Great post Britt! I think its AWESOME that Fitness Mag is asking that question. I think it keeps them MORE real by putting themselves out there for that kind of critiquing.

    I agree with you, I don’t think the Fitness models are too thin. I think they look healthy and fit. I do think other magazines have way too thin models and set a bad body imagine in front of women.

    I agree that airbrushing is what makes a woman look fake and not the woman herself.

    GREAT topic to discuss! Thanks for posting this.

  6. April 7, 2011 8:54 AM

    I’m new to your blog (thanks to Lauren at TeamGiles).

    I also love that Fitness Mag is asking this question of it’s readers. While there are some magazines out there that do feature too-thin models I don’t think Fitness Mag is one of them. Most of the healthy magazines I’ve read (Health, Runner’s World, Shape, etc) seem to feature models who are fit & healthy, not thin, which is probably reason I’m reading the magazine anyway because I’m working on getting fit/healthy.

  7. pawsitivelife permalink
    April 7, 2011 4:48 PM

    Honestly I dont think that fitness magazine models are too thin. I especially love seeing muscle and definition on a girl, because it gives me something to aspire to. Runway models…eeek…so thin. I also strongly believe that magazines in general could not cover up the aging process

  8. April 9, 2011 10:27 AM

    Interesting stuff here. Usually the models aren’t “too thin”, but sometimes I can SEE the photoshop work on them, and that’s just UGH. While the models have great bodies, work their butt off for them, it’s just not something that I can relate to… If that makes sense.

  9. April 11, 2011 6:50 PM

    I don’t read Fitness Magazine so I’m basing my comment on the photos you posted and my opinion on the magazines I do read. No. Most of them aren’t too thin. Yes. You can BE fit and be larger than them.
    I read Runner’s World which usually does a great job featuring women (and men) who look like they run! (muscular thighs give it away, ha) I also read Texas Runner& Triathlete which only uses real people. And honestly, the pros & the age groupers usually look a lot like the models. If not much leaner. So. Yeah.
    Skinny & fit are NOT the same thing, clearly. My goal is to be healthy & strong. :0)

  10. April 12, 2011 9:53 AM

    I don’t read Fitness magazine (though I might start to) so I’m basing my comments on the pictures you posted too.

    I don’t think the models on the covers look too thin, but they do look a little too perfect (though I appreciate that that red-headed model isn’t super-tanned). But then again, if I was in a magazine wearing a bikini, I might want them to take a few liberties with making my skin look perfectly smooth and even too 🙂 I will admit to sometimes seeing fitness models and wishing I looked just a little more like them- but then I remember that working out is a part of their job. I have a job where I sit at a desk- so while working out is a part of my lifestyle, it isn’t my job. I do the best I can with what I have 🙂

    Just to be the devil’s advocate- do you think Fitness magazine would actually/will actually change anything based on the feedback or is it something that they can now say they did even if they aren’t going to do anything about it?


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