Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Shape Magazine

Below is the text of an email that I just sent to Shape Magazine, after seeing Kim Kardashian on its June 2010 cover. Kim Kardashian is famous for being the one time best friend of Paris Hilton and a reality TV star; she also happens to endorse QuickTrim, a diet supplement.

Dear Shape Magazine,
I may or may not have complained about your choice in cover girls prior (see here). To be honest, I don't want to dislike your magazine, but there is just no way I will ever buy it, or read it again in good conscience after seeing this month's cover featuring Kim Kardashian. I used to read your publication a lot in college, and even then, I recognized some of the mixed messages you often send to your readers. However, it's only been in the more recent past that I have seen just how crazy, blatant and dangerous some of these mixed messages are for readers.

Kim Kardashian endorses QuickTrim. QuickTrim, according to its website, "is among the best known weight loss supplements recently introduced. This line of 4 products has been created and marketed specifically by the Kardashian sisters. They claim that they will cleanse and detoxify your body, burn fat, and even reduce cellulite, working as a spot treatment for some." Just in case you were unaware, weight loss supplements are diet pills. For some reason, I thought that your magazine was trying to encourage women to be fit and healthy. But what I wonder now is that if by putting Kim on your cover, you are also condoning the use of diet pills by glorifying a celebrity who has been outspoken about her use of diet pills? Granted, if every female on every magazine cover was determined based on health, we may have a lot less cover girls (which says something), but this is the second time this year that you have chosen a cover girl who has been controversial.

I hope it doesn't seem like I am overreacting. Maybe my tirade will seem appropriate with a few facts. Diet pills lure people because they promise quick and easy weight loss, but they contain toxic ingredients and harmful substances that are seriously threatening to one's health. Most diet pills are not regulated by the FDA, which means that they may contain more of the hazardous chemicals than advertised, and the combinations that exist among the different substances may be lethal. Many diet pills have been banned after people taking them have died or have had serious complications as a result- ephedra, fen-phen, etc.. If that weren't bad news enough, diet pills can cause the following (pull up a chair- this is a long list): nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, high blood pressure, fatigue and hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias and palpitations, congestive heart failure or heart attack, stroke, headaches, dry mouth, vomitting and diarrhea or constipation, intestinal disturbances, tightness in chest, tingling in extremities, excessive persperation, dizziness, disruption in mentrual cycle, change in sex drive, hair loss, blurred vision, fever and urinary tract problems. Overdoses can cause tremors, confusion, hallucinations, shallow breathing, renal failure, heart attack and convulsions (taken from

It's hard to imagine (especially after reading this list of health risks) that you all would use a cover girl for your magazine who has been so open about her use of diet pills in order to achieve a body that she is comfortable with. I think it sends such a poor message to young girls and women and discredits any guise that your magazine has of health. Please consider that young girls and women read your magazine and pick up on these messages. 'Beauty' and being thin at any cost is not health.


  1. I saw that the editor addressed this on her blog. Her justification was pitiful! I love you letter! Keep up the good work:-)

  2. Meredith, I'm impressed with your boldness to stand for this cause! It is true, I thought Shape was one of the "good" ones (and I use good loosely) but after reading this, I am questioning even their intentions. Unfortunate. Very unfortunate.

  3. Kudos for the amazing letter! As having suffered from an ED and now relapsing, Shape used to be a magazine I would read to encourge good health but it now truely sends mixed messages and is one I can no longer read. Thank you for taking such a strong stand!