Back in June Conrad shared an open letter on her website, the section that impressed me was this;
When we’ve talked about getting in shape in the past, words like “skinny,” “slim,” and “thin” have often come up. Starting this month, we’ll be banning any body shaming terms from the site, and shifting the focus to words like “fit” “toned,” and “healthy.” We try do to this for the most part anyway, but now we’re making it official! The word skinny will now be reserved for skinny jeans. My editorial team and I had a long talk about it, and we want to make sure that the focus is on being fit as opposed to a number on the scale. Every body is created differently—and healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
I think she was on to a great idea. Words in the media carry a lot of power, especially to those who are easily influenced. Her website attracts a large population of young females who read the articles posted and wonder how they measure up and compare to others out there. Conrad choosing to acknowledge this and act upon it is a very mature response to helping to tackle a large problem. Obviously her website alone isn’t going to end the issue, but every little bit helps right?
Well, her efforts have been noticed and have influenced Google Chrome, with the help of Sue Lee, to take her mission one step further and have created a new search engine, called Honest.
If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, you know have the option of adding Honest to your browser. You just download it and then when surfing the web (do people still say that??) it automatically changes the words (such as skinny, slim, thin) to new and improved words.
“You can’t be a female this day and age without being bombarded with websites, commercials, and ads telling you how you should feel about yourself and your body,” Sue Lee, the extension’s co-creator told MTV News via email. “This was made even more obvious to me after seeing Jon Stewart’s bit about Caitlyn Jenner and how the media quickly changed the topic of their comments with a change of gender. I’m just tired of it.”
“Skinny, slim, and thin are just a start,” Lee said. “I recognize that not all skinny, slim, and thin people are healthy. This Chrome extension is meant to be just a conversation starter. I wanted to bring awareness around how prevalent body-shaming is around the web. And maybe this will (help) change how we talk about women.”
I think this is a great step on Google Chromes behalf. I like that they haven’t automatically updated the browser, they are giving everyone the opportunity to choose whether they want it and if so, add it. They also give you the option to submit suggestions for other words you personally think might be damaging that should be replaced and what you think they should be changed too.
Since Conrad’s MTV reality TV days she’s come a long way, she has a highly successful blog, website, fashion line and has authored a collection of fiction and non-fiction books. Obviously I don’t know her (I wish I did!) I only know of her and what I’ve seen/read) but she comes across as the kind of person who deserves the success she has had and I hope she has more success in the future.