Sports Illustrated

Thank you Sports Illustrated. Your cover girl has a real body. Her boobs are big and not that perky. Her hips are wide enough to birth an 8 pound baby. Her thighs actually have some meat on them. Although your imagery is very nearly pornographic (last I checked a scarf wasn’t swimwear or appropriate as one’s sole item of “clothing”), I appreciate that you chose someone with an attainable, womanly figure.
As an adult, a mother and a wife, my reflection finally shows me how I feel about my body and I don’t feel like I have to look like a model in a magazine. However, I fear that my girls will enter their teens and be subject to the common feelings of being uncomfortable in their own skin. It’s an unfortunate rite of passage that almost all young girls seem to face. The yellow cautionary signs warning of dangerous curves in the road ahead as their own curves develop. How do I get them past it unscathed?
My husband and I often discuss how we plan to approach their upbringing in order to build in them as much self-confidence as we can. Who would have thought I would take away parenting advice from 50 Shades of Gray, but something resonated with me in conjunction with the plans we have already made. In the salacious novel, there was reference to teaching your children to excel and/or master three things: a foreign language, a musical instrument and a martial art. (In addition to these three things, one of their kids was also an expert in kinky sex. So, clearly not everything worked out as they’d planned, but then again, it never does).
We had already discussed our desire to help our girls find what they are passionate about. Whether it’s a sport, an art, an instrument, we will make sure that we support them in whichever they choose and help them stick with it. We want them to be well rounded, but also focused. We hope that this will give them the confidence to know that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to, and to appreciate what their bodies and brains are capable of. With said confidence and discipline, perhaps they will be able to look beyond some of the adolescent insecurities that plague us all as we develop. Maybe one day I will show them the SI cover from 2013 and they will see that real women with curves are just as desirable as skinny ones on runways. That no matter how big or small their boobs, hips or thighs, they can have confidence in themselves, their bodies and their brains. (Although, I’m not sure where brains factored into posing in a bikini in Antarctica. As an advocate for breast health, I am officially questioning the endangerment of that model’s nipples. Ouch!).

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