I know that when my husband gets out of his seat and brings me a magazine, pages splayed open, and says, "Check out this ad: You need to blog about it," it's got to be something good. And last night was no exception. On the inside cover of this week's US Weekly is a two-page advertisement for the new Levi's Curve ID jeans. "Hotness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes," reads the copy, scrawled atop four fuller-figured (well, fuller than the typical praying mantis-type figures featured in celeb gossip rags) models. The smallest of the plus girls is wearing "Slight Curve" jeans, the second smallest is clad in "Demi Curve," the third largest is rocking "Bold Curves" and the most curvaceous of the foursome is filling out a pair of "Supreme Curves."
It's a fantastic way to kickoff the issue for readers big and small: While not plus-sized myself (well, actually, according to the modeling world, at 5'11" and 145 pounds, I am), I've certainly battled my fair share of body image issues and am always thrilled to see examples of diverse bodies in ads. I'm sure some would argue that even the Supreme Curve model appears to barely be a size 12 (indeed, the line only goes up to size 14); they would be correct. But at least it's a baby step towards inclusion.
Speaking of baby steps, breakout Housewife and new mom Bethenny Frankel is on the cover of said US Weekly, discussing her lifetime struggles with bingeing, laxative abuse and starvation. As I paged my way through en route to the cover story, I passed weight-centric story after weight-centric story. A brief recap:
Pages 2-3: Levi's Curve ID ad.
Page 10: Biggest Loser mom-daughter couple Denise Hill and Sarah Nitta reveal that participating on the show meant missing their daughter/sister's October 9 wedding. I can't imagine many events, save a heart attack or apocalyptic snowstorm, that would keep my mother from my wedding. But I suppose a contractual obligation's a contractual obligation. Plus, better health is a priceless wedding gift.
Pages 26, 28 and 32: Moms Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore knock real-woman mothers everywhere down a few rungs on the self-esteem ladder with their intensely whittled, uber-toned physiques.
Page 42: Cameron Diaz rocks some serious guns in a lavender tank top while working out, Strongman-style, with boyfriend A-Rod. Most women could rack up 8-hour days of bicep curls and never achieve the kind of strength and tone she has.
Page 46: Everyone's favorite body image punching bag Jessica Simpson is back on the weight loss train, aiming to shed her caboose for her upcoming wedding.
Page 47: Kate Hudson's difficult pregnancy has her riddled with morning sickness that has caused her to gain just one pound in the first four months. Pregorexics everywhere burn with jealousy.
Pages 52-57: Cover story: "I Was Obsessed With Being Thin." Frankel revisits the incident she believes kicked off her childhood eating disorder (in third grade, at "eight pounds chubby," boys in her class began teasing her, shouting, "Harpoon the whale!"), how she dealt with pregnancy weight gain (she "ate more than I've ever eaten, but... didn't go off the rails," gained a textbook 35 pounds, and posed in a plunging red bathing suit three weeks post birth), and how she finally got healthy about eating (a trip to Italy taught her that, with portion control, it's perfectly fine to indulge in all kinds of foods.)
Page 62: Not one to let her sister hog the body spotlight, Ashlee Simpson gets called out for her extremely thin body, allegedly the result of stress over the breakup of her marriage. Says a friend, "I've never seen her eat more than almonds or dried fruit."
Truth be told, I was reading all of this while pounding through 45 minutes on the StepMill at my gym. In the locker room post-workout, I ran into a woman I've seen for years and years at my gym who has long suffered from anorexia and exercise bulimia. She is the principal at a school, and while it pains me to see her so unhappy, I cry for the hundreds of children who see her everyday and are likely being conditioned to think her shockingly skeletal frame is normal. I didn't see her reading material (most women at my gym bring a magazine or Kindle on the cardio equipment with them) but if it had half as many articles devoted to weight loss and the perfect body... can you blame her?