According to Yahoo Shine, Why Elle Spain's Plus-Size Cover Girl Gives Us Hope, this is what curvy (and hope) looks like.
If this is what hope looks like, then I feel very disappointed.
Tara Lynn is considered plus-size? I feel like we're really grabbing at straws to claim that this photograph represents a move in the right direction for media's representation of diverse womanhood.
The only time we see popular media use the phrase curvy or plus-size is when they're referring to a woman who isn't a size zero. How is this progress? Calling a clearly-gorgeous and beautifully shaped woman plus-size feels more like a slap in the face.
All this kind of media is saying is--oh, here--here's what you've been wanting to see. Curvy women. Look at how forward-thinking and body-image conscious we are!
But all they are giving us is another enviable body to compare ourselves to. This "type" of woman is still not representative of an average woman or an average woman's body type.
Now we're given the more curvy and bodacious "real" woman of a certain type associated more with "adult" models than high fashion models.
There is still a highly select group of women whom look like this. Plus-size women are women who don't fit the mold of just big boobs and curvy hips.
I'm not saying it's not great for this type of woman to appear on a magazine cover. I think all women should be celebrated as beautiful. All women are "real" women. But let's not fool ourselves or pretend this is some great step forward.
This just reminds me of my early womanhood when I discovered my father's porno stash as a young teenager. I knew I wasn't "curvy" in a luscious way, in a way that was deemed attractive to men. But this was what men seemed to love.
If I could not be perfect in the sense of a desirable "curvy" woman, I would starve myself and at least try to fit into the high fashion sense of beauty. After years of near-starvation in my quest for beauty, I entered the adult world anyway. I felt I wasn't beautiful or tall enough to be a real model.
I was a flat-chested stripper and nude model who still got some attention because of my youthful looks. If I couldn't play the part of grown-up sexy woman I could at least play the role of pretty girl-next-door.
I truly wonder if I had seen more everyday women on magazine covers if I would have been satisfied with just who I was.
If I had seen women who looked like the girls and women in my daily life--some thin, some heavy, some tall, some petite, some young, some old--I really believe I may not have gone through the years of self-hatred I experienced as I tried so desperately to fit into some proper category of "beautiful woman."
For the sake of my young daughter and all her friends, I ask the media to please rethink showing just two types of women as acceptable and beautiful and worthy of being placed on magazine covers.
This article from the Huffington Post shows a photograph that actually brings hope, Maxine Devereaux, Who's Had A Double Mastectomy, Poses Topless On The Front Cover Of A Magazine In A World First.
In the article, she talks about her decision to bare all, saying: "We live in a society where it is okay to bare your breasts, bare your behind, or even open wounds. However, baring our scars or showing flaws is an unacceptable representation of our human existence. Blemishes, stretch marks, and mastectomy scars aren't allowed."
This is a magazine cover that represents hope to me. This is a picture of the reality of many women's lives.
Can media represent us all? Can we find the real beauty that is a woman, that is a human being and celebrate her?
Yes, we can. If we make the choice to expand our definition of beauty. If we as women say, we want to see the reality and not just the Photoshop.
We must not turn away from women, from ourselves. We must love and celebrate us all.