Cosmopolitan UK’s February magazine cover prompted some to accuse the brand of promoting obesity, the Independent UK reported on Tuesday.
The magazine’s February 2021 issue features three women of differing body sizes — athlete Morgan Lake, exercise blogger and activist Sophie Butler and plus-size model Callie Thorpe — under the cover line “This is healthy!” Following backlash, the magazine defended its choice of cover image.
Cosmopolitan also revealed another nine covers for the issue not available in stores in an Instagram post. Models featured in these additional covers include paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds and yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley, according to The Independent UK.
“These 11 incredible women with 11 very different bodies are proving wellness isn’t one-size-fits all,” Cosmopolitan wrote below the post.
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Callie Thorpe, the 30-year-old body-positive blogger and influencer featured in the cover, described the opportunity as “beyond her wildest dreams” in an Instagram post of her own. (RELATED: A Celebrity Fitness Pro Spoke Truth About Obesity, And The ‘Body Positivity’ Movement Was Not Pleased)
“I’m so grateful for the chance to discuss an issue I believe is often ignored and that is this one dimensional understanding of health,” she wrote. “How it’s used to shame others. How there is a distinct lack of diversity or support in ‘wellness spaces’ and how poorly fat people are treated in the name of health.”
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A number of critical readers claimed the magazine was celebrating obesity by calling a range of body types healthy – many specifically referring to the relationship between obesity and COVID-19, reported The Independent.
“There’s nothing to celebrate about being obese in the middle of a pandemic, where you have a 70 per cent bigger chance of being ill with coronavirus if you are obese,” Piers Morgan said to a crowd Jan. 12 on “Good Morning Britain,” reported The Daily Mail.
“Weird time for @Cosmopolitan to do this cover given the relationship between obesity and death/serious illness from Covid,” one Twitter user commented.
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) January 4, 2021
Despite the backlash from critics, other readers defended the magazine’s cover choice of plus-size bodies.
“We need more visibility of people of all sizes, so people feel less shame & stigma (which IS VERY bad for you),” wrote one Twitter user.
Cosmopolitan said its brand “is all about uplifting our audience and promoting diversity, belonging and positivity. We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from our readers for our February issue,” in a statement reported by The Independent UK. “Our aim is to make sure no one feels excluded.”