So why, when plus size model Ashley Graham was pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, did she receive such a hateful backlash?
As much as we try to avoid photo-shopped images in the media being shoved down our throats, they will always have a strong presence in society. If we can’t beat them, join them, or at least CHANGE them. The fight against the portrayal of the ‘perfect’ woman in the media is gradually growing stronger. More women with average body shapes rather than unachievable, slim physiques are pictured on the most world renowned magazines. Women can relate to this, it gives them self-assurance instead of self-doubt. Men are beginning to realize that slim and toned are not the only criteria that equate to beautiful. So why, when plus size model Ashley Graham was pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, did she receive such a hateful backlash?
Former Sports Illustrated model Cheryl Tiegs criticized plus size model Graham immensely, saying that by being on the cover her unhealthy lifestyle was being ‘glamorized’. She proclaimed a woman’s waist ‘should be smaller than 35 inches’ and that if bigger, women are at increased risk of ‘metabolic syndrome’. Yes Cheryl we all know obesity is bad but get a grip, Graham works out and eats well, surely that counts for something? It’s almost as if Tiegs is condoning a waist smaller than 30, with excessive exercise and an unbalanced diet. You can’t totally blame her though, her whole outlook is tinted by her time in the spotlight and what was once considered the norm.
Thankfully the cover did also welcome some positive feedback. The fact plus size model Graham was on the cover of a Men’s magazine marked a prominent step for curvy women, they are often turned away by marketers and retailers for being unconventional. The cover marked a beam of hope in the fight for the curvy woman.