Update: Good news!
In response to the outrage and media coverage that followed Brooke Birmingham’s post about the weight loss photo Shape magazine refused to publish, the magazine has announced it will publish the controversial bikini photo after all.
Shape editor Bahar Takhtehchian announced on the Today Show in the US that the magazine would use Brooke’s story along with bikini photo, and that it wanted to use the incident as a way of sparking a deeper conversation around body image.
“We want to start a larger discussion about what happens after you lose a significant amount of weight,” Takhtehchian, who appeared with Brooke on the show, told host Savannah Guthrie at the weekend.
“(T)ruly, there is a journey after the weight-loss journey, and those are the questions and the issues that we want to talk to Brooke and the other ladies about.”
Previously, Mamamia wrote:
After losing more that half her body weight, you would have thought that Brooke Birmingham was the perfect candidate to grace the cover of a health and fitness magazine. Her story is exactly the sort of message they’re trying to send to their readers every single day. That being healthy, slim, perky and fit is totally achievable, no matter how unhealthy you are.
But after being approached to feature in US magazine Shape’s “Success Stories” section and sending in this candid photo of herself in a bikini top, Brooke was told by the magazine’s editor that she wouldn’t feature in the magazine unless she sent in a pic that covered her belly.
Here’s the photo Brooke originally sent in:
Yeah… A little too honest for the glossy, aspirational, photoshopped perfection of a fitness magazine. The photo of Brooke is gorgeous and an authentic, truthful representation of how a woman looks when she loses half her body weight. It also shows that Brooke it now fit, healthy and primed to live a long (and healthy!) life. She just has some excess skin left behind, because, um, that’s what happens when you lose a lot of weight.
Understandably, Brooke was furious at the magazine’s reaction.
And she was having none of it. She responded with an email to Shape, asking for an explanation. Shape replied shortly afterwards, telling Brooke that it was simply “editorial policy” to have all photos fully clothed. Upon hearing that, (and feeling pretty skeptical) Brooke declined to be part of the story at all.
Brooke then wrote a blog featuring screenshots of all the emails. She also wrote an extensive explanation relating to her backing out of the Success Story:
If anything, the should want my picture on their site. My body is real, not photoshopped or hidden because I feel like I should be ashamed. This is a body after losing 172 pounds, a body that has done amazing things, and looks AMAZING in a freaking bikini.This is the type of body they should have featured because it can give people hope. Hope that they can lose weight healthfully and even if they don’t end up with airbrushed abs of steel, they’re gorgeous and shouldn’t be ashamed of whatever imperfection they believe they have.
Brooke adds that she spent many years hating her body, and didn’t want to feel as though she should continue hating it: