Thursday, February 18, 2016

History in the Making

Monday marked a historic day, a day that I honestly didn't think would happen for another five or ten years, a day that I've been hoping and waiting on for a long time.

Last week, it was confirmed that a plus size model would finally be featured in the pages of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue - and by featured, I mean as a chosen, photo shoot model, not as a model in a paid advertisement from another company.  

On Monday morning, much to my surprise, I was greeted with the news that not only was Ashley Graham, the popular plus size model best known for her modeling for Lane Bryant, being featured in the magazine, but she was gracing one of three available covers!  

For the first time since the launch of SI's annual swimsuit edition in 1964, the magazine has not only broken from the tradition of having one cover, but also from the tradition of only featuring conventional size models on the coveted cover.  To me, not only as a plus size gal but simply as a woman, this not only is historical, but also barrier breaking and truly...epic.

As I admired the kickin' cover shot, I thought to myself, "Man, we've come a long way..."  And, just like my response to the newly launched Barbie dolls, it's about damn time.

Kudos to Sports Illustrated for allowing Ashley Grahams' gorgeous cover shot to speak for itself.  I love the way the cover celebrates body diversity and promotes the beauty of a plus size body without ever mentioning that Ashley is a plus size model.  No where on the cover is any indication of her size or status as one of the most recognized plus size models in the industry.  All we see is a voluptuous, curvy woman in the surf.

More kudos to Sports Illustrated for not only featuring a plus size model on a cover, but for featuring three different models with three different body types on three different covers.  If we want to truly celebrate body diversity, then this is the way to do it.  I really think it sends the message that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Hailey Clausen, left, represents the conventional body type that has annually graced the cover of the swimsuit issue for the past 50-some years. The mixed martial arts powerhouse and 2008 Olympic medalist, Ronda Rousey, featured right, represents the strong, muscular body type that hasn't been represented much in the iconic issue.   (And applause to Ronda for enduring 14 hours of body painting to achieve the painted on swimsuit she's sporting!  You go, girl!)

As a woman, I can't help but feel some excitement as to what the future will bring.  This issue, I feel, is just the beginning.  Will this one issue fix everything? No.  Will bullying and body shaming suddenly cease?  No.  Will everyone all of a sudden be magically open minded and... nice?  No, 'cause as they say - haters gonna hate.

But, these magazine covers definitely challenge our society to rethink and discuss our individual and collective beliefs.  I believe all great change first starts with dialogue. 

So, back to my question - will this one issue of Sports Illustrated fix everything? No, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

What do you think of the new covers?  

On a side note:  Just for the record - I am a plus size gal, but that doesn't make me "anti thin."  I don't hate women who are thin, although I may occasionally joke about how I really would like to feed them a cheeseburger and some french fries.  The core of my being is "pro be who you are."  I once heard that "God loves wondrous variety."  If that philosophy is good enough for the big man upstairs, then how can I be of dissenting opinion?

Linking up with Kristin @ Stuff, Things, Etc. and Joey @ Hodgepodges.

Linking up with Penny @ Penny's Passion and Vanessa @ X-tremely V.


  1. I think it's great that they have three covers with three different body types. There is no one ideal and I love the diversity. It's about time.

  2. Health is beautiful! And it doesn't have just one number or size!! Thanks for sharing I found you from the big hop over at Penny's passion!

  3. I loved the 3 different covers. She works her ass off, have you ever seen any of her workout videos? I think as long as we can accept that healthy looks different for many and also support healthy lifestyles over anything else. But that is my opinion. I am plus size and will always be curvier than I probably wish for but I maintain that being healthy is more important than being thin.

  4. Our SI came today with Rousey on the cover! Nice to see fit and not tits and bones on the cover!!!!

  5. I hadn't heard this news until reading your post, and I'm agreeing with everything you say here. I love that it isn't just body types but hair color, eye color, etc. The closer we get to embracing and celebrating diversity, the better we are (I say).

  6. Thanks for writing a post on this! I had no idea that Sports Illustrated did this and I think it's so cool.

  7. yes, thank you! i have been all different shapes and sizes, but for most of my life, i have been relatively 'thin'. i have had a lot of cruel people say random things to me because apparently i don't have to work hard or i don't have feelings? body diversity is exactly that - diverse. we are all different and that is what we need to celebrate. i hate the anti-thin or anti-anyone, actually. i think health is beautiful, regardless of size.


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