There’s been a big victory for the body positive movement! Sports Illustrated announced its Swimsuit edition cover model this weekend and in fact, it’s THREE women of different sizes. This year’s cover models are UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, model Hailey Clauson, and model Ashley Graham. Graham is what is considered a ‘plus size model’ and while she previously discussed being thrilled about being included in the magazine, she is blown away by being chosen for the coveted cover position as she exclaimed on her Instagram: “Truly speechless!!! This cover is for every woman who felt like she wasn’t beautiful enough because of her size. You can do and achieve anything you put your mind to. Thank you so much to the entire @si_swimsuit team! I’m so excited to be a part of your family. I love you all!!! #siswim #beautybeyondsize .”
I consistently hear my female clients lament over not having someone realistic to look up to and to normalize things for the average woman or how clear it is what everyone expects you to look like (ie: supermodel thin.) So even though less than 2% of the population actually naturally look like this “ideal image,” the message lives on clearly, primarily in advertisements, that women should want to look a certain way and need to in order to be valued.
But now, THIS! Girls who have certain insecurities due to their size or shape or something “different” about themselves resonate with a move like this. Graham may not become their role model, per se, but I am confident that this statement reverberates through the thick pressure and guilt and disorder that can exist for females.
Of course, I do have issues that there exists a magazine that is dedicated to showing women in little to no clothing for a mostly male customer-base to pacify him between big sporting events. And I wonder (?!) why they had to debut more covers/women than ever before rather than just allowing Ashley Graham to have the limelight and sole focus versus some kind of workaround and appeasement for potential fallout from critics. But for this article we’ll overlook the objectification of women/continued expected standard and focus on the positives being a new trend I can definitely get behind.
Beauty beyond size is a mantra we can and should all support. Our self worth is not determined by our size. We applaud SI for breaking barriers of what society assumes and projects is the only desired bombshell. Not only have they portrayed beauty, but also strength and fierceness with the three cover ladies. I’m hopeful this isn’t a one-time thing and that it continues to spark discussion within the body positive effort. SI Swimsuit’s Assistant Managing Editor, MJ Day summarizes this by saying, “The three covers of Hailey, Ronda and Ashley celebrate the new SI Swimsuit. All three women are beautiful, sexy and strong. Beauty is not cookie cutter. Beauty is not ‘one size fits all.’ Beauty is all around us…”