Womens Health Open Letter
Before I start, I wish you not to take this as an attack on Women’s Health magazine, as it really isn’t, yes it is going to be a criticism, but not an attack as I genuinely love the publication, I would not be a subscriber if that wasn’t the case, but I feel a little let down for the 2nd maybe even 3rd year running.
So, Let me start by saying I love the naked issue, every September I await the issue with excitement as it’s a fantastic opportunity to highlight the sheer magnificence of the female form, from a multitude of fitness, sport and celebrity backgrounds, dancers, yoga peeps, rugby players, bodybuilders and so many more, however what saddens me is the less than diverse age ranges you showcase, for example this year, out of 10 women only 1 of these was aged over 40, just 1 and in 2018 non were over 40.
Having read your publication for years, I know you haven’t totally left out the over 40`s from Naked issues, Melanie Sykes was 47 (I believe) when she appeared in the issue that was covered by Sofia Vergara who was 45/ 46? That was a naked issue to be excited about as a woman who was about to enter her 40`s issue struck a chord with me finally a body to relate to and it was diverse in ages, it made me appreciate that my body despite not looking like it did in my 20`s looked “normal” if that is the word I’m looking for . However the last two years have been a bit of a disappointment.
Sample of Past Nakeds
2018 Naked edition, contained 9 naked women, Jenna 35 and :
Karen Bardsley 33
Katie Stainton 23
Mica Moore 24
Shell McCoy 29
Bianca Williams 24
Tonia Couch 29
2019 naked edition, contained 10 naked women Rochelle 30 and :
Ama Ageze 36
Sarah Taylor 30
Olivia Blatch 26
Sarah Davies 26
Karen Bennet 30
Vanessa Wallace 42
Garnet Mackinder 28
Nina Vistisen 24
Beth Wilcox 18
Molly Thompson-Smith 21
Having done some homework, I fully appreciate that according to your media packs, the target reader for Women’s Health is 18-44 yrs, so when it comes to the Naked issue, showing the female form of someone in their 40`s or 50`s, could go against your reader demographic, however, I would like to counter this argument, with the fact that if we are showcased with bodies of all ages we may fear aging less. With this statement, what I mean to convey is that when I was in my 20’s and 30`s, if I knew what my body may look like as I aged from seeing this in magazines like Women’s health , I maybe wouldn’t have feared the changes that happened and are happening right before my eyes, and the sadness this creates, by thinking I have a less than perfect body.
We are trying our hardest as a society to instill into our young women body confidence, and to love their bodies and to embrace them, enjoy them, look after them, yet from the age of 40, in my view we (the media) appear to STOP! I am not sure if this is because we are lead to believe that by 40 we should have our “shit” together and be at “peace” with the way we look , or that we should just disappear . Neither those options actually apply.
I know no woman in her 40`s, 50`s and 60`s with her life together fully, some who have a good poker face , but in reality ? and I know of no invisible woman either. What I do know and have met many, are women who I come across when training (I`m a personal trainer) and when massaging (sports massage therapist) who tell me how they hate the way they look, how they feel ugly, and fat because they have nothing to visulise that says – “Hey! You are a fine specimen of woman”, and what you look like is great and normal and that as you will age you will not look like you did in your 20`s or 30`s but how about embracing what you have now and what you can do to boost your self worth and body confidence.
The Uk is currently going through a massive shift in attitude, highlighting the Menopause, Meg Matthews is doing amazing things to highlight symptoms, feelings, ageing, and her body, how it’s changed. Patsy Kensit and Conscious Puberty again pushing manopause to the forefront instead of being taboo, which is fabulous, but we are still missing some info, and this in my view is our bodies, and what a peri, a menopausal and post menopsual female body looks like. The body changes and yet somehow women still are unsure because we don’t see those bodies, and this is where I feel your Naked Issue misses a trick.
We are of an age now where 30 is the new 21 and 40 is the new 30 and so on, we are not the generation of old where we homemade, had housekeeping given to us, or retire at 60 and life stops.
Many women now in their 40`s & 50`s were teenagers and young women of the 80’s and 90`s. The decades where I feel women were bombarded with the shift in body image for women. The 80’s think Dynasty, and the green goddess, encouraging women to be fit, and glamorous, the late 80’s early 90’s with the rise of the Supermodels, the Hello Boys wonderbra campaigns, all throwing body image at us. Just because we have settled down, aged, had children, lived life, doesn’t mean that the issue of body image has left us, in fact I think more and more we are a generation that are struggling because we don’t see enough naked bodies.
Fit over 40
These are women still fit into their 40`s and 50`s plus, who fit the Naked Issue ideal so well, in my view, plus provide a wider range of the strong female form. Maybe you have approached them and they said no, I don`t know, but a bit more diversity, as women don’t fade into obscurity when they hit a certain age.
Diane Youdale (jet from gladiators)
Finally, I would like to add that this letter, isn’t about the body positivity movement perse, where I want you to showcase bodies of all shapes and sizes just for acceptance, as there are many, many accounts pushing this agenda, the purpose of my letter to Womens Health is the promotion of bodies over 40 that are fit, into fitness, sport, and wellbeing. This area is a missed area, a missed opportunity and a vital area of women’s health and mental wellbeing.
Letter was e-mailed to the Editor of WH uk 9/9/19 (without response)