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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Uses Athletes to Feature Different Body Types

U.S.+gymnasts+Aly+Raisman+%28left%29+and+Simone+Biles+%28right%29+in+poses+for+the+2017+Sports+Illustrated+swimsuit+issue.
U.S. gymnasts Aly Raisman (left) and Simone Biles (right) in poses for the 2017 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

U.S. gymnasts Aly Raisman (left) and Simone Biles (right) in poses for the 2017 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

U.S. gymnasts Aly Raisman (left) and Simone Biles (right) in poses for the 2017 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

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As a society, we often associate the term “model” with women with perfect bodies and epitomize the definition of beauty. However, men and women featured in magazines, commercials, and other ads often display unrealistic body ideals that can give modeling a bad name.

Starting in 2016, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has attempted to amend that stereotype. Last year, Ashley Graham was featured as the first ever plus-size model in the magazine. Graham wears a size 14, and according to a study conducted by Washington State University, the average size of an American woman is 16.

So, even Graham who is being labeled a “plus-size” wears a smaller size than the average American woman. Still, many say it is far past time that a “plus-size”” woman is showcased and labeled as beautiful. Graham agrees, telling an Elle magazine reporter that “beauty comes in so many shapes and sizes.” She continues to credit Sports Illustrated for “not only talking about it, but [proving] it.”

For the 2017 swimsuit issue, Sports Illustrated is once again demonstrating that the ideal of sexy is not dependent upon an overly skinny model with photo shopped curves. The issue, appearing in February, will feature Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Simone Biles. The pair stunned the world during the Rio summer games and have continued to be forefronts in the athletic world.

Naturally, their bodies are toned and strong. Some would say they do not fit the mold of typical models, as Raisman is five feet two inches tall, and Biles is four feet nine inches with abs of steel and muscle everywhere.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor, M.J. Day, argues that “Aly and Simone represent all that is beautiful and strong and inspiring in women today.” She further details that Raisman and Biles are “not only elite athletes, that are captivating and impressive in their own professional accomplishments (lots and lots of Olympic gold medals between them), but strikingly sexy and beautiful.”

The thought is that encouraging and acknowledging this wide range of beauty, including strength, is empowering to young women. Rather than strive to be transparent and perhaps developing an eating disorder, girls will hopefully look at Raisman and Biles and work to develop healthy muscle.

Raisman posted one of the swimsuit pictures on her Instagram account with a caption commenting: “I think it is important we love our bodies and support each other. It is 2017 and there is no perfect or ideal body type.”

Body positivity is becoming more mainstream as celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Amy Schumer, Jennifer Lawrence, and more support a body-positive mentality, working to eradicate the stereotype of optimal physique and tear down the notion of perfect models. Sports Illustrated is doing just that, being among the first to promote an array of body types in their highly anticipated swimsuit issue.

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Uses Athletes to Feature Different Body Types”

  1. yoyo on March 8th, 2017 11:02 pm

    It’s time to go to the beach.What should I wear?
    This question was troubling me for over 3 weeks until someone bought me a girls swimsuit cover up.

    [Reply]

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Uses Athletes to Feature Different Body Types