Forget Cover Models, Big or Small

By Lisa Rhea

This cover has created quite the stir, which only makes me realize how many women still care about images in magazines.

The recent cover of Sports Illustrated has sparked a lot of conversation and chatter. Honestly, I don’t see what the fuss is all about. It’s just another pretty girl photoshopped and positioned to an unrealistic standard.

Forget the big is beautiful arguments. Of course it is, to the right person. There are plenty of people who find a fuller figure attractive.

To me, this model’s size is irrelevant. I’m just over here wondering why are we admiring women on a cover of a magazine? Why are we comparing ourselves? Attempting to relate?

This is not reality. It’s simply an image. And what exactly makes it noteworthy? The fact that an editorial board of a magazine decided a big girl was good enough to be on a magazine? Of course she is. And why are we relating to this woman? Just because of her size? Size tells us very little.

Appearance rarely tells us much about a person – let alone a person’s health and wellness. And frankly, I don’t care how you look if you’re not healthy, balanced and living a real life. I can’t relate or applaud or even admire someone based solely on appearance.

I’m far from a fitness model – I’m well aware. And I’m completely okay with that, because more importantly, I’m healthy, balanced and happy. And no image on a magazine is going to make me feel any different – better or worse – about myself.

Is this model healthy? I have no idea. Does she eat well? Exercise regularly? Is she constantly dieting and obsessed with food? Can she run a 5k? How much does she squat? Does she do drugs? Has she had plastic surgery? Is she a good person? Does she have kids? How about a full time job? Does she have balance in her life?

We don’t know any of this from the cover of a magazine. And if we don’t know the answer to these questions, how can we even begin to relate, admire or critique her? We should take all media images with a grain of salt and not even give them a second thought.

The same goes for an image someone who is thin. I don’t immediately admire someone who is lean, even fitness models, because I know that many of them don’t have balanced lives. They often struggle with food obsession, body dysmorphia and place their appearance above other important aspects of life.

All this magazine cover has shown me is how many women are still stuck in the detrimental mentality of comparing themselves to media images. They feel better about themselves and their own size because a big girl made it on a magazine cover. It’s absurd, especially when you consider Sports Illustrated was certainly aware of the buzz that would come with the cover. Marketing genius indeed.

So what is the takeaway from this rant? Feel good about yourself for all of your many traits, not just how you look or your weight. Don’t even look twice at media images, let alone allow them to evoke any emotion in you.

Care about your health and wellness and your appearance won’t seem as important. Focus on what you can DO, and you’ll start comparing run times and weights, not pant sizes and cellulite.

And don’t ever let your size in relation to others be a matter of discontent or pride.

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