Dear Diary: An Open Letter to People Magazine

WORDS BY EMILY ZHENG / @CRINGING_


Normani Kordei | Image found here

Source: Tumblr user diva-of-fitness

Dear People Magazine,

I know you can do better.

As someone who used to pour over meal plans and ways to lose weight articles, I can attest that media can seriously impact body image. Before I learned the importance of confidence, I strove for long, lean legs, bones that would protrude from my delicate skin.

My worth was my weight.

I've gotten older, and I've now realized that these fabricated expectations are merely a hoax so companies can milk the insecurities of women. For years though, I despised what gave me the ability to live, to create, to love. Diet culture is deadly. It's those detox teas spread through social media. It's the photoshopped images in magazines. It's the perpetuated self-hate that fuels eating disorders.

I recently came across an article in People Magazine sharing what Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei eats in a day. At the bottom of her supposedly healthy diet plan, it states in bold, unmistakable letters, "Total Calories: 1,130". In the article, Dietitian Keri Glassman explains that Kordei's diet is, "healthy and beautifully proportioned." But according to National Health Service, the average adult female needs 2,000 calories a day, and according to University of Missouri, a 130-pound female athlete needs 2,600-2,990 calories a day.
   Unless you consider a lifetime of nutrient-deprivation and fatigue healthy, starvation is not "beautiful". Promoting a diet that values calorie restriction tricks women into equating malnutrition to health. While I am no dietitian, even I know that 1,130 calories is a one-way road to a detrimental relationship with food.

People Magazine, your "What I Eat in a Day" article is a glorification of starvation.

   There is nothing 'beautiful' about hating yourself so much that you stop eating altogether, that you stick your nervous fingers down your throat and pray that tomorrow will be a thinner day. It is not only irresponsible but dangerous to feed your loyal readers this toxic diet culture when it is estimated that 4% of female Americans will have bulimia in their lifetime, of which 3.9% of individuals will die. While I understand that you want to share content relevant to your readers, how could you tell them that their body, a creation of nature, should be deprived of what it needs?
   In the article, Kordei states that she sees eating healthy "as a key component of internal beauty". If this article were really promoting "internal beauty," the picture featured of Kordei would not be photoshopped. This article would instead discuss eating in abundance to fuel one's body. Rather than publicizing how someone is able to stay thin, we should glorify strong individuals who have paved the way to a better world, like Condoleezza Rice who was the first black woman to hold the position of Secretary of State.
   I am through seeing these articles begging for negative self-perception. While my diet may not be "beautifully proportioned" how People Magazine sees it, I am still beautiful. I am capable of great things, and I will continue demanding change.

Love,
Emily

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