About That New Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model That Sparked a Fight About What We See as “Beautiful” – Opinion

In the old days, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition was reserved only for those who were at the top of beauty or sexiness. Men would stop to stare at the covers. They were collector’s items and when a new annual cover dropped it was something of a public stir. Hannah Davis and Kate Upton were joined by Elle McPherson and Marrisa Mills. Tyra banks and Beyonce also graced the covers.

Sports Illustrated was awoke, and they soon began using their most anticipated issue as a platform to promote a political agenda. They made Leyna bloom, a transgender woman, their swimsuit model in 2021. Now, this year, the woke seemed to have returned to remembering what a woman is but have decided to push the “healthy at any size” narrative by making Yumi Nu their model.

As you can see, Nu doesn’t mirror the body perfection of Banks or Upton. She’s what the artist would call “Rubenesque” and what the politically correct doctors would call “well-nourished.”

The debate ensued. As you can see from the New York Post’s comments on this tweet, people are fighting over what is considered to be beautiful and/or healthy. It’s a flame war that doesn’t exist on the political spectrum either. Right-leaning individuals are as willing to defend such cover as to decry it.

One such denunciation comes from Jordan Peterson, who wasn’t exactly kind to it.

Peterson’s tweet is actually nicer compared to a lot of other comments on it, but it does represent the base argument against Nu’s presence on the cover. It first addresses the shift in the beauty standard, then it discusses the political drive behind it.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” they say. Many men will look at Nu from the cover and mouthwater like cartoon wolves. Plenty of men love a woman who has a little more meat in her bones, and Nu certainly provides more than Miller.

But here’s where we need to become a bit less kind and a lot more realistic.

Nu is 25-years-old at a height of 5’11. There are a variety of sources that disagree on Nu’s weight. The most consistent one is Nu weighing in around 242 lbs. Others list her as 5’6 at 160 lbs. Either way, these numbers are not considered healthy. The BMI chart shows that Nu is either overweight or obese. Based on our modern understandings of health, Nu is an unhealthy weight.

Sports Illustrated moved from glorifying body beauty to showing problematic bodies.

You could argue that SI never displayed good body types as most women wouldn’t look like Upton. Upton’s job is to be a model. Upton has nutrition advisors and is a regular runner.

Most women simply don’t. They’re busy going to work, raising children, running a household, going to meetings, organizing events, and more. Even if they are able to get to the gym, it might be only one or two times per week. They don’t have nutrition advisers and personal coaches. It’s more common for women to be like Nu than Upton. Healthline.com states that an American woman can weigh up to 170.6lbs.

America has an obesity issue and that’s not new news. Our diet, when compared with other countries, is full of sugars and carbs. Most Americans would prefer spending their downtime in front of screens to engage in any physical activity. There’s a host of reasons for this, but that’s another article.

The inconvenient fact is that the average weight of American women isn’t a good thing, and yet it’s being celebrated on the cover of a yearly magazine issue reserved for the epitome of beauty and body achievement. Moreover, it’s being done in the name of politics. There’s no grounding for this by any other standard. The fact is, if you were to ask 100 men whether or not they’d rather look at Nu or Upton, the vast majority would answer “Upton.” If you were to line the same number of women up and asked them who they would rather look like, the vast majority would also answer “Upton.”

In reality, it is the result of a social justice campaign for body acceptance. The “healthy at any size” and “big is beautiful” narratives are rooted in modern feminist ideals, and they push a false sense of security for women who know that looking like an SI swimsuit model is likely not going to happen. It feeds on women’s insecurity about being obese and tells them they’re accepted by an ideological group that they should sign on with.

There’s a real danger to this. Convincing women that being fat is good isn’t healthy. Heart disease is America’s number one killer and the number cause is obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.

Moreover, beauty might be in the eye of the beholder but it’s pretty clear that when it comes to what is considered beautiful, more people are going to agree that a healthier look is more attractive. We can’t help it. We’re genetically wired to think that. Physical beauty has played a significant role in our evolution throughout history. Healthy women are more likely to give birth to healthy babies, so it was an indicator of their health. This isn’t just practiced by humans either. Each animal, from an insect crawling on the ground to a lion roaming the savannah, has their own preference. What we consider “beauty” is just part of that same instinctual drive.

As SQonline.com wrote, there’s a science behind this:

After a lifetime of being told that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” it may seem strange that beauty has an objective quality. Even science backs the theory that beauty contributes to evolutionary progress. The results of a meta-analysis of 919 different studies showed that the beauty standards we choose are fairly consistent across all cultures. Health, beauty, and symmetry are all important elements that make a person perceive a face to be attractive. Familiar faces can also be described as attractive because they match what we see in our surroundings, particularly when it comes down to proportions ((5)).

Going back to Peterson’s tweet, we can see a man who might be coming off as cruel but who is likely being the most real. Nu’s body type isn’t one to emulate. It’s dangerously unhealthy. Moreover, it doesn’t necessarily match up with instinctual beauty standards.

At the risk of hurting the feelings of many women, Nu’s body type isn’t something celebrate just as much as our culture’s unhealthy lifestyle isn’t. We’re dying off by large numbers thanks to our obesity. This definitely applies to men too, and while the same beauty standards don’t apply to men as they do to women, there is still a need for men to look healthy as well. Both women and men agree about this.

Ask yourself this: If bigger is indeed beautiful, then how come GQ, Men’s Health, and other magazines like it are still posting covers with fit, classically attractive men? Do women prefer to see thin, inshape dudes or fat men?

No? Why is this?

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