2016 kicked off as an exciting year for the body positive movement. It looked like some great strides were being made as to how society viewed beauty. I have to admit, I was fairly excited to see what the results would look like if the media really began to back idea and, for a while, they did. Everything hit full steam when Ashley Graham made history as the first plus size model to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
She stunned and looked like she completely belonged. And that’s how it should be, normal bodies shouldn’t stick out. It just doesn’t make sense. I suppose everyone else had the same thoughts because Graham continued to increase in popularity. She was named as one of People Magazine’s most beautiful women and spearheaded a special edition of Glamour Magazine aimed towards plus sized women. It was like dominos as the press kept continuing to surround her and even branch out to any subject that claimed to be body positive. It was like a renaissance from the constant barrage of perfection presented in social media. In fact, the efforts had a positive effect on me. I was beginning to feel more comfortable in my own body and I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only woman who felt that way. But with the constant burst of new information online, every hot topic experiences its 15 minutes of fame and then peters out.
At first, I didn’t see it coming. I was just so caught up in the glory of it all but I should have. We all should have. In the time of about six months I’ve seen media outlets who were pushing out body positive content daily, slow down to only posting on the subject about once a month. In turn, Ashley Graham has begun to take a back seat for now and fall trend reports showed no promise of body diversity. It’s as if the body positive movement was just a trend that reached its climax and is now beginning to fade. What you may not realize is that we have full control of the situation. We can determine whether the story ends or adds another chapter.
Join me in continuing to talk about body positivity. It’s so important that we continue glamorizing real bodies, not this fake Photoshopped fabrication we’ve become accustomed to. The more we accept everyone for where they are at in life, the more comfortable we all will begin to feel in our own skin. Don’t we owe ourselves that luxury?
Jillian Pedersen is a plus-sized mom from Austin, Texas. She is the creator of Thighs and Lows Blog and Thighs and Lows Blog Facebook group, an online community that encourages and empowers women of every size to appreciate who they are right now. Jillian is an advocate for the body positive movement.