Magazine's response to woman's weight loss photos causes controversy
A woman who lost 172 pounds is speaking out after Shape Magazine rejected an "after" photo that showed her in a bathing suit.
After learning about her story, a reporter from the magazine reached out to 28-year-old Brooke Birmingham, of Illinois, who lost the weight over a four-year period, and asked her to submit before and after photos.
Birmingham sent over two photos, with the after weight loss photo showing her in a two-piece bathing suit. The picture shows loose skin around her stomach area. Extra skin is often common after dramatic weight loss, and usually surgery is required if the person wants it removed.
What happened next, Birmingham said in a blog post, made her furious.
The reporter responded to her email with photos by asking for a photo that showed her with her shirt on.
After responding to the reporter, Birmingham received a reply stating that it was Shape's "editorial policy" with before and after weight loss stories to include fully clothed photos. Birmingham pointed out that numerous photos inside Shape Magazine and on its website show women in bathing suits and bikinis.
Birmingham decided then that she did not want to be featured in the magazine, and wrote the blog post about her experience, which then went viral.
Shape Magazine released a statement in response to Birmingham's story.
"This is a result of a misunderstanding with a freelance writer. This does not represent Shape's editorial values and the comments made about Shape's 'editorial policy' are absolutely untrue," the statement, sent to national news outlets, read in part. "Shape prides itself on empowering and celebrating women like Brooke, and any indication that we would not run the piece with the photo provided was wrong, as we would have been proud to share her inspirational story."