Lauren Conrad Is Banning Body Shaming Words From Her Site But Is It Enough?
Lisa Love told her that she'd always be remembered as "the girl who didn't go to Paris," but we might remember Lauren Conrad for something a little different now: Being one of the first designers/TV personalities to ban some body shaming terms from her website.
In her June 1 letter to her readers on LaurenConrad.com, L.C. introduced the site's focus for the month, which is "Shape Up." Conrad noted that while the content centered around fitness generally won't change, readers will still notice a distinct difference: "When we've talked about getting in shape in the past, words like 'skinny,' 'slim,' and 'thin' have often come up. Starting this month, we'll be banning any body shaming terms from the site, and replacing them with words like 'fit,' 'toned,' and 'healthy.'"
The post went on to indicate that it's generally formalizing something they've been conscious of avoiding for a while, but decided it was important to "make sure that the focus is on being fit as opposed to a number on the scale. Every body is created differently — and healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes."
She cheekily added, "The word skinny will now be reserved for skinny jeans." The reaction from readers has been overwhelmingly positive, and the comments section on the post is actually 100 percent encouraging (a rarity in digital media). People are craving their fitness and beauty without the extra side of guilt and shaming.
While I'm excited by this development, no doubt, but I'm not sure if we should be waving a body positivity banner about it just yet.
Conrad's definitely making a strong statement against the type of language that many women's media relies on to make people feel bad about themselves so that they keep buying issues. Focusing on health over appearance when it comes to exercise and working out is huge, but it goes beyond simply abolishing three words from your vocabulary.
Conrad expressed that the site will still publish its annual "Bikini Bootcamp" series that features a list of "off-limit" foods, telling readers a workout will get them "bikini-ready," the site features a seven-day "Squeeze Into Your Skinny Jeans" plan, and contributors from a blog called "Skinny Fat Girl Diaries." What's a skinny fat girl? Someone who eats lots of food and treats because that's what all fat girls do, am I right?
According to SFGD's "About" section, one member proclaims herself to be "like the calorie labels on Starbucks Bagels… I discourage you from eating it, but if you do, I’ll guilt you into running." Hmm, not sounding super body-posi to me.
It's important to acknowledge that people can change and evolve — I mean, I said and did things six months ago that I wouldn't do or say now. I can see how — especially with attitudes towards body positivity becoming more mainstream — Conrad may have had a change of heart and become more educated on the subjects.
The hard work of being visible and educating the public done by advocates, bloggers, models, and all other types of women in the media has definitely been paying off by forcing people to confront their deep-seated body shaming language.
Body positivity isn't simply the lack of body shaming and eliminating body shaming isn't just as simple as eliminating some words and phrases from your vocabulary.
Body shaming isn't just about focusing on appearance vs. health: It's about seeing all bodies as beautiful and valuable. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to work out, making an effort to be fit, or even wanting to lose weight — it's how we frame and talk about making changes to our appearance and our bodies that matters.
I'm hoping changes regarding the problematic and body shaming elements of the site are on their way out soon and that the editor takes more strides to be a bit more inclusive and truly body positive. When it comes to that, L.C. isn't quite nailing it yet. But it doesn't mean that she won't.
Images: Getty; Giphy; sfgdiary/Instagram