Wow! Just wow! Women’s Health editor-in-chief Amy Keller Laird announced this week that the magazine is replacing words like “shrink” and “diet” with words like “toned,” “strong” and “sexy” on their covers. They’re also entirely getting rid of the infamous women’s magazine coverlines “Bikini Body” and “Drop Two Sizes.”

Keller Laird wrote in a letter from the editor that this historic move was inspired by a reader survey that asked what the magazine could do to improve. “Seriously: Don’t hold back—we can take it,” the survey prompted, before asking readers to choose words they liked and did not like seeing on covers. Other questions revolved around whether the cover models should wear more or less clothing and whether certain coverlines were more or less believable, factually speaking (examples for the latter include “Easy Orgasms” or “10 lbs Gone Without Even Trying”).

Keller Laird wrote:

Three words that topped your favorites list? Toned. Strong. Sexy. This thrills me, because these epitomize all that Women’s Health is, and what we strive to do: help you become the best version of yourself.

Now, where we need to improve… You told us you don’t love the words shrink and diet, and we’re happy to say we kicked those to the cover curb ourselves over the past year. But we’re still using two other phrases—“Bikini Body” and “Drop Two Sizes”—that you want retired. Since our goal is always to pump you up, and never to make you feel bad, here’s our pledge: They’re gone. They’ll no longer appear on Women’s Health covers. (Whew, that felt good!)


She then penned a “Dear John” letter to “Bikini Body”—calling it an “unintentional insult”—and another to “Drop Two Sizes,” writing, “Feel free to move on with some other magazine’s cover, but we’re no longer your girl.”

Depending on your point of view, these missives will either will totally infuriate you with their dated quality or excite you with how much women’s magazines have shifted (Keller Laird’s Twitter timeline is full of retweeted compliments about the “real change” Women’s Health is making in the world). Alternatively, they’ll suggest to you exactly how slowly print women’s publications react to a changing social landscape and media economy, considering women have been demanding less prescriptive content from magazines for decades.

Especially wow! Just wow! These tweaks are going to make these covers so different going forward. A Women’s Health cover from 2013:


From 2014:

From 2015:


Fitter! Healthier! Richer! Calmer! Strong & Sexy! Ask one question; lose one size. Lose belly fat forever! YOUR BEST BUTT.

Drop 5 pounds: Eat your way to a smaller size. Lean & sexy in 15 minutes! Flat Belly Tight Butt Slim Thighs. 7 Hot Bod Secrets: What to eat to drop a size.


That Gwyneth cover with the last specific mention of “Bikini Body” is from June; the Jillian Michaels cover above is their January 2016 issue, where Keller Laird’s letter lives.



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Images via Women’s Health