So Ashley Graham is on the cover on the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
I'm pretty excited that a "plus-size" model has graced the cover of this famed publication.
You're probably thinking, "Noel, you're supposed to be a feminist, right? What are you doing looking at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?"
I'm a swimmer and I'm kind of obsessed with finding the strappy-est swimsuits. I like weird tan lines. And I want to buy a beautiful swim suit. Sue me.
Turns out, women like me matter when it comes to buying swimsuits, magazines and the female body!
I'm excited that it's starting to be good business to be a feminist.
Because it hasn't always been. If you've watched Miss Representation or have been reading my blog, you know that being a woman is often about hating yourself or being objectified or earning less or being subordinate to men. I think all I really have to do to justify this point is link to these old super sexists advertisements.
This move toward feminist and body positive advertising is a trend I'm noticing with Sports Illustrated and a few other companies.
I started to notice with Kate Upton a few years ago being on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Between the Dove ads and a few other things, telling women that they're awesome is actually good for business. I mean, even Barbie is considering intersectional feminism now.
In fact, according to this article from Forbes magazine in 2015, "Women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing, through a combination of their buying power and influence. Influence means that even when a woman isn't paying for something herself, she is often the influence or veto vote behind someone else's purchase."
In other words, women are the primary consumers. It behooves companies to pay attention to what women want and need. Thanks to the good work of our feminist foremothers, companies are starting to see that pointing out all of our flaws to us all the time doesn't always work.
As a result, people are starting to get more comfortable with a variety of bodies in media, advertising and merchandise.
Companies are noticing that #notallwomen look alike. Those 70-80% of consumers might not all be skinny white ladies. Sports Illustrated is no exception.
While Ashley Graham is ONE of the women on the cover of this issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, she's not the only one. There's actually 3 different versions of the magazine you can purchase. The other two cover models include Ronda Rousey and Hailey Clauson.
There's still more work to be done to have more women of all different shapes, sizes, colors and creeds. At least now we acknowledge that curvy, athletic and thin women can all wear bikinis.
To me, looking at the cover of a magazine and seeing at least some difference feels like progress to me.
Now just to make the swimsuits the object instead of the women....
Do you feel like things are changing for women? Let me know in the comments what you think!