Ashley Graham Thickens Up The Swimsuit Issue

Plus Size model Ashley Graham was named one of the three cover girls of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in what has been characterized by Ashley Graham and six other women as a watershed moment in allowing heavier women to gain acceptance in a space historically reserved for thinner ones.

When this was announced, thin former SI cover girl Rebecca Romijn mused that now “All women have a cover model they can identify with.”

That’s actually not true. While the new issue does feature a larger woman and a 56 year old with multiple sclerosis, there are no dwarves or wheelchair bound models. Clearly there are some bedridden 600 pound women out there who long for their doppelganger to grace the SI cover. The point of the Swimsuit issue isn’t to find people women can identify with. If that were the case, the most average looking women would be the models and having striking good looks would be prohibitive. The Swimsuit Issue’s audience is ninety percent male. The point is to find the best looking women in the world and put them in bikinis for eighth grade boys to masturbate to.

As Graham put it:

“Truly speechless!!! This cover is for every woman who felt like she wasn’t beautiful enough because of her size.”

Again, not the case. The cover is to sell garbage to Americans. SI is bowing to its corporate leadership and pretending to be socially conscious for an increasingly frightened group of stock holders being held hostage to the PC movement to the point that they’re putting less attractive women in a magazine with an concretely simple objective to find the best looking ones in the world. This is supposed to be a matter of self selection. There are specialty publications for heavy women, commonly referred to as fetish mags.

People don’t pay money to look at people who look like them. The entire point of being a model is that you look better than the general public. When do they ditch the fancy clothes and swimsuits and start wearing pajama bottoms if we’re looking for people the most homogenized American women can identify with?

If SI really wanted models that women could relate to, wouldn’t that mean finding models who aren’t even models? Isn’t that what a Plus Size model is by the way? Nobody identifies with models. It’s a niche profession and they have nothing in common with anyone else.

There are always going to be people who don’t feel included. That’s the entire point of the SI Swimsuit Issue, exclusivity. It’s really hard to get. That’s why there are only fourteen models in the entire magazine. It’s not supposed to be easy and you might have to diet or exercise and even then you just might not be attractive enough. Are overweight people going to start complaining they’re underrepresented in the NBA at some point? Not everyone can be a swimsuit model. Not everyone has perfect melons and not everyone can shoot like Stephen Curry. That’s why they get paid a lot of money. There are a lot of people who want to do it, but not everyone is cut out for it. Tall people are better at basketball and angular women look better in swimsuits. If they didn’t, it never would have evolved to the point that all supermodels have the same body type. There’s no conspiracy here.

The three models SI selected to appear on this year’s cover are Hailey Clauson, who is a traditional super hot model, plus-size Ashley Graham, and Ronda Rousey, who again isn’t really even a model. With the possible exception of James Harden, just about everyone who looks at the three of them together is going to say that Clauson is the most attractive, not counting the narcissist women who think the person most closely resembling them is by default the best looking.

Ashley Graham is 5’9″ and listed on various websites as being between 175 and 200 pounds. Let’s say she weighs 180 pounds. That would put her Body Mass Index at 26.6 which according to the World Health Organization classifies her as “overweight” and at “moderate risk for health complications.” She’s also heavier than ninety percent of women her age at her same height. There are a host of issues and complications with the BMI but nonetheless it should be noted that this isn’t statistically normal and obesity is a public health crisis.

Graham also appears to be the most heavily Photoshopped of the three, sending a convoluted message the degree to which her voluptuous figure is actually being celebrated, as well as speaking to the utility of traditionally having thin models pose. Regardless, men, the target audience of SI and in particular the Swimsuit Issue, aren’t going to be convinced that they’ve been wrong all these years about thinking younger more svelte women look better in bikinis. It’s an entirely pointless charade orchestrated by a plethora of self interested groups thinking that they can lobby their way to changing evolution. It’s not going to happen, but the gesture is cute so continue living in denial while you pat yourselves on the back and I’ll watch the sales and influence of this ridiculous yearly institution steadily fall. Deal?





Matt Ralston is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewRalston

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