From the moment model Ashley Graham started to drop hints that she'd grace the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, I knew this would be an iconic moment for plus-sized ladies everywhere.
This cover is bringing some much-needed body diversity to the cover, but it also marks a meaningful moment for the countless girls and women around the world who, like myself, have struggled with their weight. As a size 12, I often cringe at the thought of bathing suit shopping, so to see a Sports Illustrated model “with some meat on her bones” — as my mami would say — is pretty spectacular.
For 52 years, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has set the standard for what a "hot woman" in a bikini should look like. These women primarily have been petite. In those rare moments when they are — God forbid! — bigger than a size six, there are definitely no love handles or jiggles included. This creates an unrealistic ideal of what women are expected to look like, but Graham’s 2016 cover is helping to break this unfeasible norm. This cover displays Graham in all of her curvy glory, and shows society that fuller-figured women can be just as sexy as thin ones.
Since a curvy girl on the cover of a mainstream publication is a rare sight to see, you’d often expect some form of labeling to go along with it, such as, “The Special Plus-Sized Edition." But, por fin, the cover simply refers to Graham as a “Rookie Bombshell,” and it doesn't label her as plus-sized.
Women in the “plus-sized” community continue to make great strides in the fashion world, and it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world caught on. People across the nation are taking a stand to change society's norms about beauty. During the most recent New York Fashion Week, a 10-year-old fashion prodigy debuted her all-inclusive clothing line. After being bullied about her weight, Egypt Ufele took matters into her own hands and created Chubiiline. She hopes her work will inspire others.
Being curvy is nothing new, but with the help of some fierce women, many are finally starting to recognize that curvas are nothing to be ashamed about.