This ladies and gentlemen is what constitutes as a full figured, plus-sized model in the year 2012. Full figured?? My ass! I am of course being facetious. I am not quite sure at this exact moment what the size of my ass might be butt (pun intended) I can tell you that I do not consider myself plus sized and yet this woman and I have more in common than the model pictured below.
Turns out only 2-4 % of the population have the genotype to express such a slight frame. My untested hypothesis is that the expression of this slender genotype is exacerbated by today’s pressures to be ultra-thin. I don’t even have to stick to the runway models to see examples of women consumed by thin-spiration. The health and fitness industry are notoriously biased towards super-skinny athletes. Case in point are the Williams sisters. Setting aside my philosophical differences for a moment I ask you to call to mind how many endorsements Serena is granted compared to Sharapova. Some comments I easily gathered from fans and commentators online include; “A very attractive big girl.”, “She needs to go to Weight Watchers!”, “She reminds me of a bloated Barry Sanders.” Wow, if that is what they are saying about a woman who trains full out, is at the top of her profession and weighs in at around 160 with a body fat percentage of 19% then the rest of us hacks who think we are working hard by hitting the gym every day are sad sacks. To say that Serena is at the upper end of the normal curve is an understatement but there are wonderful role models out there; Gabrielle Reece, Lindsey Tarpley, Cindy Klassen to name just a few. Sadly, fitness magazines are undoubtedly one of the top ten worst perpetrators of an unrealistic body image. Readers assume a magazine about fitness will faithfully espouse the merits of healthy eating and sensible training, however; this is not always the case. The fitness competitors you see on the covers are competition ready and for most of them this means a 12 week pre-competition diet that limits most if not all sources of carbohydrates, boasts 3-4 times the recommended protein intake and dramatically limits fluid intake. Can you spell kidney failure boys and girls? So, why don’t we see more realistic sized women in magazines? Plainly put, research findings conclude that we won’t buy magazines or products that are endorsed by regular sized women. So all of our ranting and raving about how the media is responsible for disordered eating and then soap-boxing about what magazines need to do to reverse the social pressures to be thin yet, we won’t buy their rag if there isn’t some super skinny celeb on the front with an article about how to get red carpet ready in less than a week by eating nothing but cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Magazines are in business to make money. That means it is up to us-men AND women-to put our money where our mouth is. Be the change you want to see in the world. Endorse an attainable, healthy, body image that allows for a broad interpretation of this concept all the time and in every way possible.