Mark this one as a victory for women in the body image war.
Fitness blogger Brooke Birmingham, who raised a ruckus after a bikini photo showing off her 172-pound weight loss was rejected by Shape magazine, will be appearing in the pages of the health publication after all.
Birmingham’s photo, which showed a gathering of loose skin around her waist that was the result of her hard-earned weight loss, is a symbol of the conveniently airbrushed-away portions in “after” pictures.
Her struggle has opened a space in the world of glossy magazines for real discussion about what women’s bodies look like.
This weekend, Birmingham appeared on the “Today Show” with Shape’s editor-at-large Behar Takhtehchian, who said that the magazine will feature Birmingham alongside five other women with weight loss journeys.
“We want to start a larger discussion about what happens after you lose a significant amount of weight,” Takhtehchian said “Because truly, there is a journey after the weight-loss journey, and those are the questions and the issues that we want to talk to Brooke and the other women about.”
Birmingham admitted that she was hurt by the initial rejection of her bikini shot.
“It was my intention to start a conversation,” she said. “I had no idea that it would come to this. It was important to me because that is my body and I felt like I needed to put it out there to show people what a real weight loss looks like.”
“I love the way I look,” Birmingham continued. “I love the way I look in a bikini. I want to show women who have loose skin or bumps that it’s OK to wear a bikini.”
Birmingham’s bikini photo will now appear in the magazine, which is a personal triumph for a woman who worked hard to make healthy modifications to her figure. But it’s also a pretty significant triumph for all women.
By putting her photo out there, Birmingham breathed a tiny bit of air into the claustrophobic world of magazine body images. It may not be a revolution yet. But it’s a start.