A Step in the Right Direction
Hey there Curvy Girls,
We all know that mainstream media and the worlds of fashion and beauty have done a poor job when it comes to representing and including all types of beauty and sizes in the images and articles they put out. So many groups of women, have been left out and underrepresented in media, especially women of color and women who do not fit the "beauty norm". These women have been fighting for their beauty to be seen and welcomed into the world and have championed magazines and brands to respect all forms of beauty no matter shape, size, or race . This year, underrepresented women, especially curvy and plus size women have finally been heard! Thanks to plus size model and body positive activist Ashley Graham and Sports Illustrated, the plus size and body positive community can celebrate seeing the first plus size woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition!
Sports Illustrated Cover
The unveiling of the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition cover is a dream and highlight for any model's career around the world. Being on the cover of Sports Illustrated is not only a career highlight but it is also a stepping stone of greater things to come for a model.
This year the SI cover was unique in many ways for the models involved and the communities they represented. According to Sports Illustrated for the first time in SI history they crowned not one but three separate cover models. One of these cover models is none other than plus size model Ashley Graham.(middle cover)
This cover is a monumental moment for plus size women everywhere who have dealt with lack of representation in the media and the idea that their beauty is not enough.
So who is Ashley Graham and what is the importance of her SI cover?
You may be asking why does Ashley and this cover matter. Besides being the first plus size model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit edition, Ashley Graham is a body activist, entrepreneur and model. She is the face for companies like Lane Bryant and the company's highly publicized body positive campaigns: #ImNoAngel and #PlusIsEqual. Ashley has used her career as a platform to spread awareness to body issues and the message of body positivity through campaigns and her TEDx talk “Plus Size? More Like My Size”.(video below)
Here is why this cover and the conversation it sparks is so important.
Lack of body diversity in the media has been a source of unhealthy self esteem in teen girls for years.
A whole audience and community of women are being unrepresented and left out of mainstream media.The current images perpetuated lack body diversity present a message that alienates other body types and present a beauty standard that does represent the majority of women
The issues that unequal representation brings is just the tip of the iceberg in the beauty standards presented today.
This cover meant a lot to me because I grew up seeing an image that did to reflect my beauty. Close your eyes and imagine this picture:
Imagine growing up seeing models who are not representatives of your beauty or your size.
Imagine a world where young girls only see one body size presented as THE Beauty Standard.
Imagine feeling like an failure because the starlets you idolize look so different than you.
Invasion being a pre teen with low self esteem surrounded by the idea that your looks are simple not good enough or substandard.
Can you see that picture? Can you understand or imagine a world where you are told that your beauty is not enough?
That picture was my reality for the majority of my life and a reality many plus size women have suffered as well. This cover is not only a celebration in Ashley's career but it is a step in the right direction for equal beauty representation for all women. Bringing the message of self love, body diversity and positivity to an unrepresented audience , makes Ashley's cover not only important but vital.This cover has and will continue to spark the conversation surrounding beauty standards and how women see them themselves.
This step taken to present true beauty diversity opens communities to portray and express their inner beauty as it is reflected in their outward appearance.
It only takes one action to spark change and a revolution. This cover is that one action that will spark a change in beauty representation and diversity.