By Golda Smith
As much as I LOVE fitness and I really do love it…I also can’t help but be totally turned off by some little aspects of it. After many years, I finally decided to subscribe to fitness magazine. I figured that since I am a personal trainer and health coach, it would be wise to stay current with what my clients are reading.
There are quite a few magazines I could have selected but I chose Oxygen. No real rational other than it was and is a pretty good magazine without all the “how to have great sex” articles I see in some other women’s magazines. Month after month I eagerly anticipated my magazine delivery and with every passing month I was disappointed and here is why. In the past eleven issues I received, there was not one and I do mean NOT ONE woman of color!
Apparently, I was not the only one to notice because here is an excerpt from an inbox letter printed in the March/April 2017 issue:
“I feel that you need to have more black women and women of color on your covers because I would like someone like me represented.” -CJ, via email
Oxygen’s Editor did acknowledge the lack of diversity on their covers and that they are working on improving that. Here’s my question though…did they not notice this before? It is 2017 for crying out loud. Magazine covers are not decided overnight, some thought goes into the process. Why didn’t someone and by someone I do mean Oxygen Editorial Team not pick up on this before?
As a woman of color, I want to see myself represented in the media and while I will find some black women and women of color inside the magazine, the cover is the first thing I see. I don’t want to have to dive into your pages to see my reflection.
Someone reading this may think I am over reacting and wonder what the big deal is and I get it. The deal is this…representation matters! When you don’t your reflection, it would cause you to believe that you don’t exist, that your voice does not matter. Before someone points out that Misty Copeland is on the May/June 2017 cover (everyone is loving her now) or that Koya Webb has been on a cover, that fact remains that those opportunities have been too few and far between.
Sadly, this could have been any of the other fitness magazines found on most newsstands, Oxygen just happened to be the one I decided to commit to last year. Basically, I’m writing to let you know the reason why I am not renewing my subscription to this magazine.
Am I alone in feeling this way? I would love to hear what others have to say because keeping silent won’t change anything! Please leave a comment below.