By Seila Rizvic
By now, we’ve all likely heard of Demi Lovato’s struggle with eating disorders and self-harm. An MTV documentary based on her struggles aired in March of this year and no doubt inspired many girls to seek help for themselves. Demi’s experiences prove that celebrities are not immune to the constant public scrutiny and criticism they deal with on a daily basis. Having your body, your clothes, hair and face constantly analyzed for any visible flaw, and deemed “Hot or Not” on the whim of a tabloid editor clearly takes its toll.
The thing is, Demi’s experiences with constant public scrutiny and her resulting battle with disordered eating, are not due to the fact that she is a celebrity, they’re due to the fact that she happens to inhabit a female body. Sure, being a celebrity definitely amplifies things quite a bit, but all women live under the male gaze, and the pressure to look beautiful, according to strict guidelines that dictate what female beauty entails, is felt by all women and girls.
Cosmo’s latest magazine cover, featuring a heavily photoshopped Demi Lovato on the cover, brings all these issues together in a truly disappointing case of ‘just not getting it’ -even by most magazine cover photoshop standards. In this month’s issue, Demi talks more about her struggles with eating disorders, bringing some important and relevant content to a magazine that is seriously devoid of either. Rather than taking responsibility for perpetuating the patterns of low self-esteem and preoccupation with physical appearance any women’s magazine reader is sure to have, Cosmo chooses to totally undermine what Demi is fighting against.
Instead we see the body of an eating disorder survivor, trying to use her status as a celebrity to speak out against our current cultural obsession with thinness, being digitally manipulated by a totally journalistically irresponsible publication, to become yet another cover model to be used as thinspiration by the very people she is trying to help.
It ought not to surprise us, but it does.
Hey Cosmo, rather than constantly trying to shock your readers with increasingly ludicrous ways to “please their man”, you know what would really dazzle them? You know what would be really new and fresh? Not supporting the same body-shaming nonsense that the rest of the industry supports. Follow the trend of magazines like Glamour (and even more if the Keep it Real Campaign has anything to do with it) and sign a pledge to not photoshop the bodies of your already beautiful models. Demi’s fans, the general public, or anyone really, don’t need her to be some CGI version of beautiful. Stop using the bodies of eating disorder survivors like Demi to support a culture of oppressive beauty ideals and stop telling us that our bodies are more important than our words.