Like a cover on a book, headlines are supposed to entice potential readers but this Cosmopolitan one took that premise a little too far.
In a piece that went up on Cosmopolitan.com on Monday afternoon, editor Elizabeth Narins tells the story of 31-year-old Simone Harbinson and the life-threatening health scares she faced over the course of a tumultuous two years.
The story documents the sicknesses she endured and struggles she overcame, but the original headline, strangely, only focused on Harbinsons weight loss:
Harbinson is an Instagram fitness blogger so we understand that exercise and healthy living is significant to the story, but the headline makes it seem like her ailments were a weight loss hack.
But the weight loss aspect of Harbinsons story is unrelated to everything she suffered through.
Harbinson got a severe kidney infection, testedpositive for a malignant carcinoid tumor of the appendix, contracted an infection that required her to be quarantined, experienced a partial lung collapse, and suffered from chronic pain stemming from a damaged disc in her back. And thats not even all the hardships she endured.
The article also notes that Harbinsonlost 44 pounds without a single session at the gym, noting that because shes still recovering from surgery, she isnt physically able to work out the way she used to before her cancer diagnosis.
While weight loss is surely a major tenet of the Cosmo brand, this headline and angle, if you want to call it that, is completely tone deaf. And many people agreed:
Cosmopolitan deleted the tweet touting the story just under an hour after it was posted.
Its important to note that many writers and journalists do not come up with the headlines for their pieces because an editor (or editors) is involved. So, more than one person at the publication signed off on this, which is probably how right after the tweet was deleted the publication swapped out the original headline for this:
The dek accompanying the revised headline is still the same as it was in the original piece and its tone is also problematic. As Twitter noted above, its making cancer appear as though its a diet.
Despite the changed headline, Cosmopolitan did not put a note on the piece indicating that anything had been altered.
For Harbinsons part, she didnt appear to have an issue with the headlines message. She sent out this post on her Instagram after the article was published:
That's it. I'm done. I'm a feature in COSMOPOLITAN!!! WHAT??!! This is a big one, sharing warts & all. Cosmo fitness editor @ejnarins, what an absolute honour. Thank you. . . . Use discount code SIMONE10 for 10% off any The BOD programs! Find the link in my bio. You can now after pay!! . . . . . . . . #thebod #thebodbabes #bodsquad #sophieguidolin #starterbod #goals #bodbabes #hustle #fitmom #health #lifestyle #fitnessjourney #organic #thebodresults #healthylifestyle #iifym #macros #cleaneating #fitspo #instahealth #transformation #strongnotskinny #fitspiration #healthyliving #weightloss #fitness #wellness #mystory #cosmopolitan #cosmo
HuffPost has reached out to the writer, Harbinson, and Cosmopolitan for comment.