Did you see this week that Sports Illustrated has featured a “plus size” model on the cover of their 2016 swimsuit issue? There are actually three cover models, my girl Rhonda Rousey, model Hailey Clauson, and “plus sized” model Ashley Graham. While I applaud S.I. for including a variety of body types, when I saw Ashley’s photo I thought “plus size, really?”.
Depending on the brand/ designer miss Graham, wearing a size 16, likely has a 36 inch waist, and 42 inch bust. To give some perspective, the average American woman stands 5’4″, weights 140 pounds, wears a size 12-14, and measures a 35 inch waist and 40 inch bust. My concern is that we continue to set unrealistic beauty standards, and comparing ourselves to these photos can actually hurt us. Research has shown that looking at images like these of “perfect women” for even a few minutes is enough to have a negative impact on a teen girl’s body image.
Also please keep in mind when you view these highly photo shopped images what you see in the magazine or on your computer screen is not real. This person does not actually exist, at least not looking like that.
Personally I would kill to have Beyonce’s butt (and dance moves), or Lindsey Vonn’s thighs. I would rather be able to squat heavy weights, go for a 4 hour hike in the Gorge, or hold a plank for two minutes than fit into the same jeans I wore in my twenties.
Hooray for S.I. for inching the bar a tiny bit forward.
What are your thoughts on how the media affects your (and your daughter’s or granddaughter’s) body image? What have you done to improve your body image or notice or change your self talk?
Let me know in the comments below…
Anne McCranie is a Portland (Sellwood), Oregon based Personal Trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist. She offers one on one and small group training to ease pain, lower stress and increase mobility.