Harper's Bazaar is currently under fire for a Facebook post that users say promotes a "sickly and unhealthy" body image.
On Wednesday, the glossy posted a photo of a thin woman emerging from the water wearing a bikini. The photo was accompanied by the caption, "How to completely transform your body—in ONLY two weeks," followed by a link to Harper's Bazaar's online post, "The Two-Week Body Makeover: The Workout." (The image on Facebook is also used as the main image for the accompanying post.)
Facebook users were quick to call out the magazine, calling them out for promoting unhealthy body ideals.
"This image looks so unhealthy AND unattractive. Promoting this kind of body image is appalling," wrote one.
"I can't believe Harper's Bazaar posted this! My little sister has [an eating disorder] and its because of images like this. She thinks she has to starve herself to be beautiful because that's what she sees posted on a daily basis as beauty. This makes me mad because this woman doesn't look healthy," wrote another.
And while some users accused fellow commenters of skinny shaming, others were quick to retort, pointing out that while the woman in the photo may be "healthy and thriving," this isn't a "healthy" body for the average woman.
"I don't think the issue is with this model personally. She may very well be that thin naturally, and that's her body and she shouldn't be shamed for it. However I think the issue most people are having is that using this particular physique for an article clearly aimed towards weight loss and exercise is only aiding in providing girls and women with unrealistic body goals," wrote one user.
She continued, "Pictures used in this context tend to be the cause of and product of many problems related to both unhealthy 'dieting' as well as mental health issues when it comes to women and young girls."
In Harper's Bazaar's defense, the accompanying post is a workout guide, which isn't necessariy harmful in itself. However, when magazines promote terms such as "fat burning" and "bikini body," and choose a photo of a woman who is perhaps more naturally fit than others, it can be problematic.
Even Women's Health magazine took a vow to remove the phrase "bikini body" from its covers], with editor-in-chief Amy Keller Laird writing, "When one reader said, 'I hate how women’s magazines emphasize being skinny or wearing bikinis as the reason to be healthy,' it became so clear: We never want to be that type of women's magazine. So, 'Bikini Body,' see ya. Wouldn’t wanna be ya."
So far, Harper's Bazaar has yet to say anything about its controversial Facebook post, but here's hoping they're more aware on how much effect they have on others.