Wonderhood Studios in London are doing their part to combat so-called “toxic” magazines that may have an adverse effect on people’s mental health. The company has taken it upon itself to create health warnings, similar to those found on cartons of cigarettes to paste on these damaging magazines.
The London-based company are targeting celebrity and gossip type magazines, in general, to help put their point across. It is a bone of contention that many would agree with. There is no doubt that these magazines can often provide a negative body image. For example, they often contain a section where they call out celebrities on their “fashion faux pas” these can be things like having an ill-fitting bra or greasy skin. Not a very positive message.
Not to mention the fact that many of these magazines still glorify one particular body shape, often ignoring people with a fuller figure.
The initiative is being spearheaded by Ads DeChaud and Phil Le Brun in collaboration with Visual Diet. The idea is to try to encourage people to be more aware of the content that they consume and the potential effects that it can have on their well being. Even if it isn't on a conscious level. It is hoped that by taking a stand against magazines that are considered to have toxic content that they can have a net positive effect on people’s mental health.
They were inspired, at least in part by the recent news that hair salons are starting a campaign to oust fashion magazines from their salon that don’t portray a positive body image. All this in the wake of the death of Caroline Flack.
The project is somewhat sly! The stickers have been printed and DeChaud and Le Brun have been travelling around London covertly slipping the stickers on to the front of magazines. They have been targeting places like newsagents that stock the material. the stickers are deliberately designed to look like the warning labels on cigarettes. The point they are likely insinuating is that this content is as damaging to our mental health as smoking is to our physical health. Among the slogans on the stickers are: "Reading lies exploits the most vulnerable", "Contains stories seriously damaging to mental health", and "Full of harmful and toxic messages".
Between the pair of them, they have launched an online petition to try and convince these controversial publications to push a more positive message and be more mindful on the effects that their content could have on people’s mental health. Or if they aren’t to start using their own warning stickers to make its readers cognisant of the effects that they could have.
DeChaud had this to say, "These magazines have a responsibility to warn people about the negative impact they can have on mental health."
Le Brun added, “The government is pushing for social media companies to crack down on ‘unacceptable content’, so we should be doing this in the real world too.”
Publications such as the ones that the duo are targeting have come under scrutiny for targeting Caroline Flack before her suicide. She was facing assault charges and took a lot of, well frankly flack, in the media prior to her death. It wasn’t just magazines that levelled criticism at the celebrity though. Even the tabloids have been criticised for how they handled her situation.
The founder of the publication Visual Diet, Mimi Gray had this to say:
"We must all reflect on how we consume media to create a kinder world, where success is not measured by social metrics or shock value, but by well-being and positive mental health."
Matt Haig, a noted author and strong advocate for mental posted his support on his Instagram saying, "After all, the state of our minds is as important as the state of our lungs. Be careful of what you inhale."