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Why Sports Illustrated‘s plus-size ad is a cop out

The internet is celebrating the Sports Illustrated news that they will feature a plus-size woman in their swimsuit issue for the first time ever. Yay! But also, let’s not get too excited.

They are featuring a plus-size model in an ad for a swimsuit brand that caters to curvier, more-to-love body types. So, is it really all that groundbreaking? It basically means they are letting Swimsuits for All, an amazing brand famous for swimsuits that prove plus-size women can help define sexy, pay them to advertise in their magazine.

Yes, it’s great that some ad sales person let this slip through the skinny cracks, but let’s not all be so quick to applaud them when this model, Ashley Graham, could be featured on the cover. She’s not even part of an editorial spread. She is in an advertisement. For a company already known for their plus-size offerings. Period.

Progress is progress and make no mistake that Graham looks beautiful in the ads.

A few years back, people went crazy for Kate Upton when she graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as a curvier body type. But let’s be honest, Kate is not a plus-size model any more than Kim Kardashian is. We’re grateful they make a little meat sexy, but their body types are still very unrealistic for many women and do not paint a full picture for realistic female curves. No one person, or one model, ever will because that’s exactly the point. We’re not all skinny and we’re not all fat. We’re all just workin’ what our mommas gave us.

Graham says it perfect when she writes on Net-a-Porter, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or 22 as long as you’re taking care of your body, working out and telling yourself, ‘I love you’ instead of taking in the negativity of beauty standards.”

And that’s what Sports Illustrated should be celebrating, too. So far, I’ve yet to read a statement from the magazine about the ad campaign or regarding any initiatives to blaze ahead with plus-size body love. All statements come from Graham and Swimsuits for All.

Hey, if the magazine hits stands and it turns out Graham has a big editorial feature, I’ll eat my words. But until then, I’m going to applaud Graham instead of Sports Illustrated. Because whose campaign is this, really? And who really deserves your applause?

You can participate in the brand’s social media campaign with the #CurvesinBikinis.

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