…though I’m really starting to wonder if we should even care anymore.
Is this thing on? After last month’s kerfluffle over Yoga Journal’s body image problem, who knew they were already priming for their very own “The Body Issue”? While we only have the cover image so far, previewed via YJ’s and cover model Kathryn Budig’s social media outlets, I have to wonder what, exactly makes this “the body issue” and every other issue not about the body? Ohh. There is that one little part about self-acceptance, and yoga’s “hidden health danger”? Let me guess, does it have anything to do with depression and anxiety because we can’t live up to the standards of what type of food we should be eating, clothing we should be wearing and yoga lives we’re supposed to be living based on what our media tells us?
We’re given only a glimpse of what this new issue could possibly entail, but what can we glean from the cover of this glossy:
— There’s nothing too very new looking on the cover besides the words “self-acceptance” and Kathryn Budig’s less than super slender body. Spirit fingers for belly bulges.
— We’re still treated to listicles on getting flexible and articles that some may find interesting, but to many seem recycled, like in the stale, broken record kind of way, not in the commendable, save the planet kind of way.
— The overall look of the magazine feels way too women’s fitness mag, which we already have plenty (too many?) of. This is part of the “refreshing” redesign we were promised. The only thing that seems very refreshing is the fact that the word “yoga” has grown so large there’s little room left for anything else. Something tells me they should just write it even larger so it takes up the entire front cover.
— It seems like another half-assed attempt at something the community has been asking for, nay, demanding for a while now: the acknowledgement and embracing of diversity in yoga.
— Body acceptance is trendy and good enough for a cover story.
— I’m starting to care less and less about this as I’m typing it. And it’s not because I don’t care, it’s because this discussion over YJ feels stale, too.
(Note: Due to the slow process of print media, it would be tough for this issue to be an actual response to the discussion over last month’s “Love Your Curves” body image article fail. Still, we do know they’re making attempts to join the conversation with the YJ conference Practice of Leadership panels that began way back in April, even if they were Lululemon’s idea and YJ just came along for the ride.)
(Note #2: It shall be noted (see note #2) that magazines should be judged by their covers. That’s the reason they put so much time and effort into creating/designing/photoshopping them. They want us to react to them, ideally in a positive, I want to pick that up and read it way.)
So far the cover has been well-received by diehard YJ fans and thousands of Kathryn Budig followers who have been singing her praises as the new face of body love, one even commenting “bye, Tara!” which one could only assume means Tara Stiles. By the way, do people really believe this is going to last? YJ hasn’t all of a sudden become this beacon of body image positivity. Believe me.
But let’s see what the cover model has to say. Kathryn Budig posted this along with the cover image on her public facebook page.
One of my favorite activities is jumping. I jokingly started busting out airborne yoga poses and behold—-it became a cover shot. Honored to be the feature for Yoga Journal new re-brand issue focusing on loving our bodies, an issue near and dear to me. I say less judgements on how we look and more jumping Love and acceptance for all. Hope you enjoy the feature! #aimtrue — withUnder Armour Women.
Yes, more jumping in general is what I say. Unfortunately, YJ seems to be jumping over anything that’s real and full of substance. Are they doing it because it’s trendy or because they genuinely wish to make a difference? It’s not like they have to become the magazine of body image, but they ought to be a magazine with consciousness. After all, they are still a yoga magazine, aren’t they?
I’m thinking brace yourselves for when the issue actually comes out. But what do I know? What do you think?
If you want to support positive body image, inclusivity and diversity in yoga, check out the Yoga and Body Image Coalition.
Read another critique of the new October cover by Roseanne over at It’s All Yoga, Baby.
hollypenny is a writer, yoga practitioner and dimply-butted gal living in New York City. Her interests include taking long walks, meeting smart people and trying to make sense of the world. Yoga Journal magazines mysteriously started showing up in her mailbox for free. She thinks it has something to do with the liability insurance she signed up for, or the universe reminding her to find 7 ways to recycle magazines.
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