If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly bumped into one of my many angry tweets about the ‘Skinny Club’ article in the June issue of Company Magazine. To catch up on the story, you can read my first post here. I’ve received a large response from many different readers, some even former Anorexia sufferers themselves, who have been negatively affected by the post – so I was determined to keep tweeting like something possessed until Company spoke out.
And they did. But I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with the response. On their Facebook page ‘The Company Collective’, a group where readers get to give feedback to the writers/editors/artists/graphic designers etc of the magazine, Company’s editor Victoria White responded:
“Hi collective – thanks for your comments. I think this article has been a little misunderstood. We spend a lot of time in the office discussing weight and diets etc and one of the things we all found frustrating was the fact women are often so secretive about how hard it is for many women to be slim. It was in no means meant to be a ‘role model’ but moreover highlight just how crazy it is that we can’t be honest around food and diets. Company is not a magazine that judges on any front but we do like to give room for honest opinion. Healthy eating is always the message we would deliver. The girl in the story is not anorexic she is simply always watching what she eats. The two things are very different. And we were hoping that it was clear we wanted her story to be an example of how NOT to behave. And how daft it is to lie to friends about what you have or haven’t eaten.
We opened the forum on the website as there had been so much debate. It is not cynical just a response. We could have ignored it. I think it’s crucial that weight and women’s attitude to it is discussed but not judged either way, so if you want to follow a healthy eating regime that’s fine. If you don’t that’s fine too. But essentially we should stop criticising each others choices.
Vic – the ed”
Now, don’t get me wrong – this feature aside, I am a huge fan of Company magazine. Ironically, of all the magazines I read, Company is one of the few that I can actually see myself fitting into. However – this response just doesn’t seem enough. There was absolutely nothing in the article to suggest that Company saw the views portrayed as bad, or not to be encouraged. There was nothing at all, aside from the offer to comment on the forum – but that just wasn’t enough. Maybe it was supposed to be notorious, to strike up conversation about the magazine and get some impassioned typing going on. Who knows. Ideally, I think all the girls that I’ve spoken to about this believe that Company needs to either offer some sort of counter-argument – a clarification – just a feature on a healthier view on eating, or even a darker story on Anorexia. Granted, Victoria White does say that the girl who wrote the article apparently doesn’t suffer from Anorexia – but I think that’s not strictly true. Even to say that she’s “simply always watching what she eats” sounds a tad too blasé.
Here are some responses I have had about the article:
“oh my god! So so horrifying.”
“when I saw this in the magazine I couldn’t believe it !”
“deffo agree with you there , far too casually glossing over an eating disorder..”
“I’d love if Company did an ED campaign which they’ve done for other things”
“I wish Company magazine would actually take notice & do more to support ED sufferers and raise awareness rather than publish pro-ED content!”
The Feminist Society at my university have even compiled a letter and petition to the editor to mark their disgust at the article. I’d just like to note that I’m, at present, in no way involved with the society – no self-promotion going on there – but I’d urge you to check it out and sign if you’re passionate about the subject, the group have done a brilliant job of it.
Are you satisfied with the response from Company magazine?
Or do you think more should be done to ensure a healthy body mindset for Company’s readers?