Now that it's summertime it seems that every magazine out there is telling you how to slim down for that perfect "bikini body," or criticizing the celebrities whom haven't yet achieved this BS body ideal. All of this negative body talk can be discouraging, but luckily there are some people who are actively trying to change this conversation. Lauren Conrad made headlines for choosing to remove the body-shaming words "skinny," "slim," and "thin" from her website, and now a new Chrome app is taking it one step further. The Honest Chrome extension is replacing "skinny," "slim," and "thin" with the more body-positive words "fit," toned," and "healthy," and while it won't stop body-shaming all together, it is a step in the right direction.
Creator Sue Lee had a very important mission with her app, and that's to spark a conversation about how our media discusses our bodies and appearance. She told Cambio:
The idea came to me while I was reading about Lauren Conrad's blog post, June Shape Up on MTV News. I was thinking while it's a great she's changing the wording and tone on her website, what about all the other sites out there? I could easily change that with a simple Chrome extension.
It's important to note that while the Chrome extension does swap out words, it does not necessarily make the content more body positive. After all, not every person described as "skinny" by the press is living a healthy lifestyle. For Sue, this app is just the beginning of a dialogue:
We only started with those three words because of LC's post, but we're hoping to expand beyond them. We recognize that not all skinny, slim, and thin people are healthy, but we figured this would be a conversation starter. We're hoping people submit other words they want swapped; this is just the beginning.
Changing the wording of websites won't necessarily make our society less inclined to body shame, but being able to see how often negative words are swapped for positive ones should give media consumers some pause. The Honest word counter, which is located in the top right corner of your browser, can show you just how many words are swapped. Certain websites will no doubt raise eyebrows for how often they use body-shaming language. (For the record, there is one word that won't be replaced, and that's "skinny jeans" - the only thing that should be described as such.)
The Honest extension is a great way to check how the media is talking about bodies, and hopefully will remind people to check their own language. That's what Sue tells Cambio she's hoping for with this app:
The endgame is that an app like this will not be needed. The endgame is that we talk more about being healthy than we do [with] fitting (and having) a particular body shape. I hope this app helps shift the focus.