In our world of thigh gaps and one size fits all clothing stores and celebrity-endorsed diets, it's easy to see a headline such as Sports Illustrated Adds Plus Size Model To Swimsuit Issue and get really excited. It's refreshing and maybe even encouraging when we see "normal" or "average" (what the heck is normal or average?!) models in advertisements, and we all sing the praises of the company behind putting a woman with an ass in the forefront. But it's tired.
Don't get me wrong: I'm really glad that "plus size" models are gracing magazine covers and becoming the stars of campaigns because I want my son to see that women come in more than one size and look. But I'm really tired of celebrating a "plus sized" model in an advertisement because really, it's a marketing ploy and we're all falling for it (myself included). And it's nothing shy of depressing that a woman with boobs, hips, and an ass being part of a magazine filled with chicks in bikinis is being touted as "history making." It's 2015, you guys.
The big news of late is, of course, the inclusion of plus-sized swimsuit model Ashley Graham in the upcoming Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, set to hit newsstands on Feb. 9.
"I know my curves are sexy and I want everybody else to know theirs are too," the 27 year-old model said in a statement about her campaign with swimsuitsforall, which will be using the hashtag #CurvesinBikinis. Graham is gorgeous, and she's got an absolutely rockin' body and the bikini? It's hot, hot, hot.
swimsuitsforall is a plus-size swimwear and women's swimsuits brand whose motto is "It's Better in a Swimsuit". The #CurvesinBikinis campaign is part of its Sexy Swim line launch, and I think it's great that brands are recognizing the difficulty that women can and do face when it comes to finding a swimsuit. I applaud these swimsuit companies for their approach to helping women embrace their curves and feel good in their bodies, but I doubt the authenticity of Sports Illustrated's decision to add plus size models to their pages.
As it were, Ashley Graham isn't a part of the SI editorial - though the #CurvesinBikinis ad for swimsuitsforall is a part of the issue. The first plus-size model ever to grace an SI editorial is actually Robyn Lawley (a size 12), the same woman to star in the recent H&M campaigns which were applauded for the exact. same. reason. And she's spoken out against being labeled as "plus size," stating "People say 'how is she a plus-size model?' and I'm like, "Exactly. How am I a plus-size model?""
Ahhhhhhh I'm beyond ecstatic to join the amazing @si_swimsuit family!!!! If someone told me at the beginning of my career that this would happen I would of said "tell em his dreamin" haha! Thankyou @mj_day @jamesmacari @ja_neyney @darciebaum and the whole SI awesome peeps for embracing who I am in the 2015 issue!!!!! #letsallstraddlecanoes #SISwim #2015rookie
swimsuitsforall CEO and President Moshe Laniado says, "Tastes and body types change over time and curves have never been more 'in'. There's no better way to celebrate and show off than by donning a bikini." Hm. Really? Tell that to Brandy Melville and the 90% of adolescent girls who feel pressure to be thinner.
While the news that plus-size models are gracing the pages of SI swimsuit issue is really kind of barely news, it's a part of a much bigger conversation that I find myself having over and over again. We've created this ridiculously broken model of what beauty is, and then we pat ourselves on the back for stepping outside of it every now and again. We've celebrated Kate Upton's voluptuous figure for "breaking the mold", but I think we broke it a long time ago when we decided to create one. Beauty isn't a size.