our bodies our selfies

Reminder: Even ‘After’ Photos Are Unattainable

We love weight loss stories so much that they’ve spawned their own genre of reality television and magazine journalism industry. But, as Alexandria Symonds wrote last year, no one wants to talk about the loose skin and residual disappointment that can sometimes accompany a dramatic physical transformation. Shape magazine’s “Success Stories” probably won’t do much to prepare women for that experience.

After interviewing healthy living blogger Brooke Birmingham about her 172 pound weight loss, the diet and fitness magazine asked for before and after shots. When she submitted a bikini photo, the reporter asked for a different one, citing a brand-new (evidently) no-bikini-shots-allowed editorial policy. Birmingham didn’t buy it. After repeatedly asking the magazine to use the picture of her in a bikini, she withdrew her interview and is now calling bullshit on the whole operation. She wrote on her blog:

“I spent MANY years hating and hiding a body I was ashamed of because it wasn’t society ’s ideal of beautiful. Being asked to send a photo of my self with a shirt on made me feel like I again should be ashamed of my body . That since I have the loose skin, I shouldn’t be in a bikini.”

The good news is she knows it’s their loss. (Indeed, her site crashed from traffic today.) “If anything, they should want my picture on their site,” she wrote. “This is the type of body they should have featured because it can give people hope.”