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Robyn Lawley: Why Her SI Swimsuit Feature Is Empowering For Real Women

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After recently being announced as the first-ever “plus-size” woman to be featured in the illustrious history of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Robyn Lawley is empowering for real women in today’s digitally-airbrushed world.

the 6’2 25-year-old Australian model is reportedly a size 12, which in today’s size zero society is considered by many as “obese” and “too big’ which I feel is both a misnomer and sends a bad message to women who are often self-conscious and insecure about their body image.

Unfortunately, we have our own image-driven culture of seeing half-naked, sun-kissed and perfectly-toned anorexic tweens and twenty-something’s allowed to prance around freely in further promoting unhealthy trends such as the thigh gap and wearing size zero jeans—most likely bought from high-end stores such as Abercrombie and Fitch—that only further validates such a realistically—yet unhealthy—image of today’s woman.

Couple that in with women’s natural need to be catty and competitive towards each other, and one can see why as a whole why women have such low self-esteem and need instant validation in terms of their own self-image.

Over the last 30 years, American pop culture and society has been bombarded by the visually-appealing likes of Kate Koss, Elle McPherson, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Scheffer, Christie Brinkley during the “Age of the Supermodel”.

The second era of supermodels would be ushered in by Victoria’s Secret beauties such as Heidi Klum, Daniela Pestova, Tyra Banks, Laetitia Casta, Alessandra Ambrosio, Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima, Marisa Miller and Stephanie Seymour. Today, you have the likes of Kate Upton, Karlie Klose, Nina Agdal, Hannah Davis, Behati Prinsloo and Candice Swanepoel that grace the covers of many magazines today.

From SI to Vogue and Cosmopolitan, these women are not only easy on he eye but—to no fault of their own—serve as reminders for the average woman that they can never look like them, or be able to relate to them. Thanks to Lawley, real women everywhere have someone they can aspire to be like, in both a healthy and normal kind of way, without having to worry about the luxury of having certain features conveniently airbrushed to appease potential readers and viewers.

As pop star Meghan Trainor alluded to in her smash hit, “All About That Bass”, magazines need to make it stop in using Photoshop, cause to the trained eye, none of it is real.

Look no further than Mekayla Diehl received during the Miss USA beauty pageant as Miss Indiana, and she was a size 4? The criticism she received for being “normal” was both appalling and disgusting. Sadly, it also showed just how shallow society’s standard’s towards anyone who less than “perfect”.

The backlash towards Lawley and fellow plus-size model Ashley Graham appearing in SI is unfair, unjust and maliciously ignorant and petty.

According to WebMD, the average size of a American woman back in 2010 was between 12-14, which is roughly the same as it is today. With that, and a 2014 USA Today article stating that the average American’s waistline is expanding, and one can see why the proverbial freak out over a plus-size model being in SI for the first time ever is SUCH a big deal, right?

Real men love women with curves, that is no lie, but a simple and primal fact, the addition of a true beauties such as Lawley and Graham is not only the right thing to do in today’s more health-conscious and image-driven society, but long overdue.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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