Sports Illustrated Made Monumental Statement; but, it is not the answer.
I have often dreamed of..
…having long, skinny legs.
…not having my inner thighs touch.
…fitting in a size double zero.
…owning long, wavy hair.
…being sized in a double “D” bra.
…possessing a flat stomach.
…having narrow shoulders.
…having zero fat on my body.
When I think of a Hollywood “model” and “beauty,” I think of all the above qualities. The standard of beauty has been illustrated in a way where, as a society, we all have the same vision of beauty and of the perfect body.
As somebody who suffered terribly from one of the most lethal psychological disorders causing people to obsess about weight and what they eat, I know, personally, the struggle it can be to attain the perfect body. A standard has been engrained and established in our society, and many of us either feel compelled to find ways to achieve it, or many feel unattractive, inadequate, or unpleasant, as a result. We strive to conform to that picture, and when we are unsuccessful, we become extremely hard on ourselves and attempt many different strategies to reach it — exercise, diet, make-up, even surgery.
Did you know that 80% of women in America are dissatisfied with their body appearance? I am here confessing I am one of them.
Luckily, as of late, the portrayal of women is evolving. Most notably recently is Ashley Graham. Representing a size 14-16 sexy woman, Ashley Graham is the 2nd plus-sized model featured in Sports Illustrated’s 52 annual swimsuit editions. While this is definitely a pivotal moment in our attempt to expand our vision of beauty, it is by no means the answer.
There is no doubt that Sports Illustrated has made a monumental statement. However, in order for it to truly influence our society, it is imperative that we continue reinforcing these messages across the board; that we continue portraying beauty in all shapes and sizes. And, that we continue valuing character over appearance.
In my mission to contribute to this evolution, I will continue spreading the most important message of all that I learned from overcoming an eating disorder. And that is… love yourself, your body, and who you are; to be authentic, to be real, and to be you. Hopefully, Ashley Graham has propelled this phenomenon.