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Yes, These Sports Illustrated Models Are Plus Size. So What?

02/10/2015 04:38 pm ET | Updated Apr 12, 2015

Sports Illustrated is featuring a plus size model in its swimsuit edition, and this has created a stir. Many people are complaining that, at size 12, Robyn Lawley is not really plus size.

Ashley Graham, featured in the Swimsuits for All ad in the magazine, is a size 16. Is she plus size?


In the modeling industry, these beautiful women are, indeed, plus size.

Models don't represent reality. The majority of fashion models are a size 0, at least 5'8", with facial features that are perfectly symmetrical. They generally have very small breasts and very long legs, giving them bodies that act, essentially, as clothes hangers to make the fashions they wear look far better than they'll look on any regular woman.

When you see those runway fashions on actresses on the red carpet, they have been altered to fit perfectly. They are not bought off the rack at Nordstrom - they are custom made. The best-dressed women know that a good tailor is the secret to looking great.

To take the magazine to task for saying these women are plus size is a waste of time. This is never going to change. As long as there are fashion designers creating gorgeous clothes, there will be a need for rail-thin models to wear them during fashion week and on the pages of Bazaar, Marie Claire and the rest.

It's not up to the fashion industry or Sports Illustrated (certainly not them) to show us - and our daughters - what "real" women look like. It's up to us to do that. It's up to mothers and sisters and friends and daughters to show the world that we are comfortable in our size 12 bodies, or size 16 bodies, our size 6 bodies.

I have friends of all sizes. My friends who are skinny work incredibly hard to stay that way. They watch every single piece of food they put in their mouths and exercise on more or less a daily basis. I could probably be skinny if I did the same, but I don't. And I'd venture to guess that most women who aren't skinny aren't doing this either. Staying healthy is one thing - being a single digit size, especially at fifty plus, is another.

It's not up to Sports Illustrated to define what plus size is, nor is it up to them to define what women should look like. It's not up to Vogue, or Jennifer Aniston, or Jennifer Lopez, or Marc Jacobs or Miuccia Prada. The only way women are going to feel good about how we look is to shut out all the noise and accept ourselves, accept the women around us, whatever size we are.

We women need to teach our girls, our teens, that some women have big asses and some have short legs, some have big breasts and some are flat-chested - and all of these things are ok. Very few of us look like high fashion models - or either of these "plus size" models, for that matter.

Most of us are fairly ordinary looking. The trick is to have people in your life who think you're extraordinary, whatever your size. And to think of yourself as extraordinary, too.

Previously published on Empty House Full Mind