First things first. Just to get perceptions out of the way and so you are fully informed. I am a plus size woman.
Truth is, I've always been a plus size. The last time I wore single digit clothing was around 1985, a few years after you graced the cover of SI's Swimsuit Issue for the third and final time. I hadn't hit puberty yet.
As an adult, the smallest I've ever been was a size 12/14. Let me tell you how I was able to achieve that size. It took a year of dieting, obsessive exercising, and the use of diet pills. That's right - diet pills. Even then, my waist circumference never got smaller than 35 inches. I may have been at my smallest, but I definitely wasn't healthy. How could I have been, taking diet pills after all? After that, I decided that if maintaining that level of thinness required me to use diet pills, then I'd rather take my chances with being overweight.
As a plus sized woman who has genuinely tried to be thin in her lifetime, I take offense to the comments you made while on the red carpet at the Global Green USA Pre-Oscar Party last Wednesday regarding a plus size woman finally making the cover of SI's Swimsuit Issue. Just in case you have forgotten, let me refresh your memory. According to several print and video sources online, you said,
"I don't like that we're talking about full-figured women because it's glamorizing them because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]. That's what Dr. Oz said, and I'm sticking to it," You went on to explain, "No, I don't think it's healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run."For the record, Cheryl, may I call you Cheryl, Ashley Graham has a waist circumference less than 35 inches. According to what you said, even though she's a plus sized model, her waist measurement falls into your acceptable, "healthy" range. So, as you can imagine, I'm a bit perplexed. If her measurements are your defined healthy range, why are you taking issue with SI's decision to feature a plus size model on its cover?
You tweeted your apology and stated that you just want everyone to be "happy and healthy." Was that truly your motivation for going public with your thoughts? I'm not you, I have no idea of your thought processes or intrinsic motivations, but I have some doubts that you really had the health and best interests of plus sized women in mind when you made those remarks.
I can't help but wonder if you saw an opportunity to grandstand, to stir the pot, to create a little controversy, and then bask in the short lived limelight with the free publicity you have received. I don't mean to sound harsh, but to be perfectly honest, I had completely forgotten about you. The last time I remember hearing anything about you was back in the late 1980s when I purchased something from your clothing line at Sears.
My hope is that you simply made a mistake, you are human after all just like the rest of us, that you suffered from a filter malfunction and spoke before you truly considered the weight and implications of your words. You may not have intended to body shame Ashley Graham and plus size women the world over, but you did.
I accept your apology, but I think you need to specifically apologize to Ashley Graham. Your blanket apology is nice first step, but you need to personally apologize to her. Your comments were a cold, wet blanket on a momentous, historic moment that many people, myself included, have waited on for a long time.
Cheryl, we all can't be like you, not that I or anyone else wants to. You see, I believe that God loves wondrous variety and that's why all women are not white, blonde, 5'10, 125 pounds, with 34-24-34 dimensions. I am, by far and away, my own worst and toughest critic. If I'm happy being myself, with being the size that I am, then there's no reason why others can't be accepting as well.
Just as I believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, so does health. Don't fall victim to believing that cookie cutter measurement numbers are the alpha and omega. Health is a highly individualized thing. You are not a doctor nor do you know me, so please do not pretend to know my health or that of others. The blanket assumption that all plus sized women are unhealthy simply is not true. Please quit propagating this inaccurate belief.
Lastly, from a woman to a woman, I am disappointed in you. Being a woman, regardless of size, is tough enough as it is. We deal with discrimination, sexism, glass ceilings, and double standards on a consistent basis. The last thing we need is a still relatively well known female public figure body shaming other women.
I truly long for the day in which all woman strive to lift each other up, to empower each other, instead of tearing each other down. Please consider this the next time you are asked a question in an interview or a microphone is thrust in your face on the red carpet.
Even though this post does not directly correspond to one of this week's prompts, it is indirectly related to the how do you feel about your body/body image prompt.
Linking up with Mackenzie @ Reflections from Me
Linking up with Mackenzie @ Reflections from Me