A Tweeter went viral this week after a woman shared what she called the “most triggering magazine cover of the 90s”. She says it’s indicative of the cultures of rape and dieting that were prevalent then, one of which may still be.
The cover in question is that of the January 5, 1993 issue of World Woman magazine that features a series of controversial and “trigger” story teasers.
“How not to get raped,” reads a block of text just below the magazine’s title.
“I raised a boy, now Nikki says ‘I’m pregnant,'” read another.
The cover features a photo of a woman appearing to be struggling to zip her pants alongside the words “Lose Weight Like A Star!”
“Found it: the most triggering magazine cover of the 90s. It’s got it all: a normalizing diet, a weird lens on trans stuff, ‘how NOT to get raped,'” reads the text accompanying the tweet posted by writer Karina Longworth.
“Rape culture” as well as “diet culture” are two notions that exist in American society and can be perpetuated in media and pop culture through television and movies, music and magazines.
The Women’s and Gender Study Center at Marshall University describes rape culture as “an environment in which rape is prevalent and sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.”
“Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety. “
According to VeryWellFit, diet culture is the “pervasive belief that appearance and body shape are more important than physical, psychological, and overall well-being.”
In 2021, Good Housekeeping reported on examples of dietary culture in everyday life. From Barbie’s “thigh gap” and 18-inch waist to Kim Kardashian explaining how “necessary” it is to “slip” into shapewear under a dress in order not to show cellulite.
Additionally, dieting is a pervasive phenomenon for many American adults, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finding that between 2013 and 2016, nearly half of American adults tried to lose weight in the last 12 month.
Longworth said Newsweek in an email she came across this magazine cover while doing research for her podcast, “You Must Remember This.” She was looking for magazine articles about Melanie Griffith in the late 80s and early 90s and this issue of World Woman came up in an eBay search.
Longworth said the most striking thing about this cover was the rape cover line.
“Just the implication that there is something rape victims could have done for centuries to avoid this, if only they had access to this supermarket magazine – which also implies that the rape is the fault of the victim,” Longworth said.
People flocked to the comments section of the viral tweet to discuss the nature of the copy featured on the cover, with many struggling to understand the thought process behind such headlines. Many agreed with Longworth’s disdain for the one specific cover line.
“Gotta like the little underline under ‘no’, just in case anyone gets confused as to what the advice is about,” one commenter wrote.
“‘How NOT to Get Raped’ might be one of the most messed up headlines of all time — and for it to be bold on a magazine cover smacks of entitlement and belittlement,” added one. another commentator.
One commenter said he thought many of these topics were still pushed to readers today.
“What’s really awful is you can walk into one of the thousands of supermarkets and find essentially the same global coverage for women today. Except diet advice is now keto,” the commenter wrote. .
Longworth believes that today we live in a culture that is “absolutely so obsessed with food, but it’s called ‘wellness’.”
“I can’t imagine seeing the rape headline today, and some of the responses I saw indicated that people thought because of that line it was fake coverage,” Longworth said. Newsweek. “But when you start to dive into it, you’ll be blown away by how the culture treated women in the 80s and 90s.”
According to Magazines.com, one of the most popular features of World Woman magazine are weight loss stories – still often featured on the cover.
Newsweek contacted World Woman magazine for comment.